Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sales people get no respect

Let's be honest, operations (engineering, QC, IT etc) tend to have a very dim view of their company's sales force. On the totem pole, they are about 6 feet below the HTML/CSS/Javascript developers.

Why is that? Is it their cars, golf clubs, or expense accounts? Or is it just because they are misunderstood? No one really understands their role in an organization.

I was out with our excellent sales team on Friday, and really, they aren't so bad. I was at a sales seminar (no jokes about falling down the totem); the speaker was fantastic, really funny, really insightful, and not very PC. I was talking to one fellow at the seminar (sales guys call this networking) and he expressed amazement that Macadamian was as big, and as successful as we were with only 3 sales people. Kudos indeed.

If you are not in sales, you likely don't really understand. Sure, we developers put in our long hours sometimes to bring a project back to green, but the sales force is putting in those long hours to get that sale in the first place.

The sales people works odd hours, sometimes they work late afternoons, sometimes they are working nights and/or weekends. Sometimes they are flying out at 6am to go see a customer. The difference is they are not in a dimly lit cubicle pecking away at a keyboard surrounded by empty Coke cans and Oreo crumbs on their shirt.

Sure, they are in the box at the Scotia Bank place or the golf course, but they aren't there to watch the game or make a birdie or even a bogey. They are not even really there to sell per se. They are they there to build a relationship with their customer.

The speaker at the seminar had a few nuggets of advice, the one that really relates to what a good sales person does is "Make a sale, make a commission, build a relationship, earn a fortune."

When it boils right down to it, this is one of the things a good sales person is trying to do when they go golfing, or go to the game with their customers. It is with this relationship with the customer that we can get new business, fix old business (relationships) that has gone bad, and work towards becoming that trusted partner that we all want to be.

And most importantly, without our friendly neighborhood sales people, we wouldn’t get paid!


RA said...

funny, but it's true. Devs are treating sales as fancy people attending shows and doing nothing.

And more funny that you still do the same. Quote from your blog post: "I was out with our excellent sales team on Friday, and really, they aren't so bad. "

They are bad but not soooo bad... :-)

Jason Mawdsley said...

Hehe, however it's just a saying. A manner of speech.