A few weeks ago, I received a call from a Microsoft partner who was promoting Microsoft 360 as the “cloud-based answer to all my Office needs.” [It is not really a quote, but that’s how I listened to his pitch.]
Now, here I was thinking that Office was the answer to all my Office needs. Go figure.
Many of you know that I consulted for 20 years, leading ultimately toward my current CIO role.
Over that span of time, the course of my work required developing sales skills in addition to technical and strategic competence.
In my world, selling effectively is an action that requires buying. One doesn’t happen without the other.
Sales and salespeople aren’t “evil”, but the connection required to produce a “sale”, at least the most valuable ones, requires that the good or service is able to take care of one or more of a buyer’s concerns.
What strikes me is the number of prospecting calls I receive each day in which the seller has no idea what matters to me. It seems like a huge contrast to my experience as a seller.
I never hawked the Cloud as if its value were self-evident – I never hawked SOA as if it had merits of its own.
Nor do I think those trends were as simple as “new spins” on already-existing capabilities… any more than “moving to the web” was “going back to the mainframe” (whatever meaning that carries for you, it suggests a similarly weak narrative to me).
Conversations of flexibility, integration and loosely coupled building blocks might be more complicated, but they don’t dumb down business goals or strategic concerns as if all the issues I face could be reduced down to “the Cloud”.
Some of you reading this may be my colleagues on the buyer’s side of the table. A few months ago, you may have been my clients or prospects, but you may have similar observations about some of the sellers you meet.
For those on the selling side, expect me to ask why I should care about the platitudes you speak… or expect me just not to answer your call.
What is most curious to me is that all the sales methodologies that speak about “value” are common sense. I would have thought they were common knowledge.
For a salesperson to “get through” to me, all they have to do is show up as meaningful, relevant and valuable to me… but it is really not that common to find.
Customer service does not begin after the sale… if you want to “take care” of your customer, start by making an offer they really care about.