When Buying Sales Technology, Relationships Matter.
Chief Revenue Officer,
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Matt Green, the Chief Revenue Officer at Sales Assembly, is an expert in sales leadership in multiple markets across the United States. Sales Assembly serves as a resource for a community of over 120 B2B tech companies in Chicago. They focus their efforts on enabling success by being a credible resource. More than just a networking group, Sales Assembly works to advance the skills and success of its members. Needless to say, Matt has heard a lot of stories, both good and bad. He took the time to share one of those bad stories, as well as some insights into how to get more success stories.
A Good Experience that Went Bad
Matt Green: Every relationship matters.
First, I want to warn you that I might sound overtly passionate, and that’s because I am. I’m passionate about sales, specifically valuing relationships. Regardless of what you are selling, if you are a seller of anything, every relationship matters. About 10 years ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with a gentleman who was the chief fundraiser for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. This guy was relatively young and extremely successful. I wanted to know how. We met over coffee, and he said something that has stuck with me all these years. He said, “the secret to my success is knowing people in low places.” Living your life, and especially your sales approach, with that methodology is what separates really great sales people from the not-to-great ones.
With that principle in mind, I’ll get back to my bad experience, which coincidentally happened within the past couple of weeks. We had a vendor that was selling a really cool technology product, a decent six-figure deal. He was looking to sell to one of our member companies here in Chicago. He reached out to the company’s sales enablement leader. He did a great demonstration, uncovering the value of the product.
The sales enablement leader completely bought in and became the ideal internal champion that every salesperson dreams of. Over the next four, five and six months, the sales enablement leader moved heaven and earth to justify why the company needed this product. He cashed in a lot of social capital, trying to make his case.
When the deal finally got to the desk of the CRM and the CFO, the deal was pretty much done. After a bit of procurement and legal back and forth, they were ready to sign off. Then, the vendor just happened to get Super Bowl tickets. Instead of showing appreciation to the sales enablement leader, the one person who facilitated the entire sales conversion and had been working for months on the deal, the vendor invited the CFO and CRO. After all the leg work the sales enablement leader did, he was completely ignored.
Well, the sales enablement leader found out and told the CFO and CRO. Of course, they thought he was invited too. When they found out he wasn’t, they immediately agreed the vendor handled the situation terribly. This was not how they did business, and they did not want to have a relationship with someone who handled business this way. So, after six months of work with a six-figure deal at the finish line, the CFO and CRO pulled the plug. This was not the type of relationship they wanted to build with a vendor. My mind was blown.
How to Get More Good Experiences
Matt Green: Invest heavily in thought leadership.
First, good experiences start with the same principle, “Every relationship matters.” It’s not just the C-Suite executives you need to get on board. There are a lot of people involved in the process outside of the person that actually signs his or her name to the check or invoice.
Second, in my experience, it’s all about gaining thought leadership. We’re fortunate here in Chicago to partner with a number of really great organizations that sell into the demographic that we serve, which is VPs of sales and CRS. So, heads of marketing from the 120 or so companies in our community invest heavily in front end thought leadership, a component that’s less about, “hey, let me show you all the really cool bells and whistles about my product,” and more about outreach.
I love how they leverage people like Sam Nelson, a leader in sales empowerment. We’ve had many stories in recent years where outreach was part of the sales process. Salespersons can simply hop on a call with an account executive, BDR, sales manager or even someone who works in sales enablement to review their strategies.
With a couple simple questions like “who are you selling to?” and “what are you selling?” these industry experts can share best practices that will make the salesperson’s outreach strategy a little more efficient. When you build that sort of groundswell within your sales and marketing teams, and your organization, you’re going to see success. Talking to the actual folks that will be using your product day to day instead of just looking at analytics, is critical.
I’m actually facilitating transactions with companies here in Chicago that are building strong relationships. Why? Because sellers are leading with value and thought leadership. They are finding a way to provide value first before they ever talk about the product they are selling.
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