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How to Manage Your Non-Sales Co-Workers

Let's face it: selling is getting more complicated.

Today's sales professionals frequently confront opportunities where the customer's senior management, procurement group, legal group, financial group, engineering group, and even human resources possessing the right to review and approve major purchases.

Satisfying the needs of all these groups usually requires the sales professional to get assistance from the rest of the seller's firm. For example, satisfying the requirements from a customer's IT organization, may involve the participation of the seller's IT organization.

Unfortunately, many sales teams find it hard to secure the internal resources they need to support a complex sales effort. Not to worry. Here;s a list of DOs and DON'Ts to help make sure that you're getting the support you need to close business.

  • Don't Play Lone Wolf. Never hide the size of a big opportunity and try to develop it alone. Yes, you want to know that the deal is real before you get everyone interested, but the last thing you want is to force everyone into a "fire drill" when the deal finally becomes visible.
  • Do Know When to Walk Away. It's all to easy to get so enamored with the size of an opportunity that you fail to withdraw when closing becomes unlikely or impossible. Beating a dead horse may be easier than admitting failure, but it's not going to help you win the next deal.
  • Don't Over-commit. Every company has limited bandwidth to deal with sales opportunities. If you load up too many complex deals "in the hopper," you will make it impossible for the company to address any of them adequately. And that's a recipe for losing even the easy sales.
  • Do a Realistic Assessment Never underestimate the complexity of the opportunity. You need to keep your firm informed of the size and scope of the deals your working, so that your firm's resources can get involved to early in the sales cycle.
  • Don't Showboat. Yeah, we all know that without Sales, there's no company. Even so, you should NOT treat other employees shabbily or point out (even if truthfully) their jobs as less important than yours. Remember: your success is dependent upon the quality of your internal relationships.
  • Do Help Prioritize. Since you're asking other groups to help you sell, make sure that their operational managers don't simply pour your request on top of their other deadlines. Make sure that they know what kind of commitment is required and budget accordingly.
  • Don't Fingerpointing. This a pretty basic one. Never blame failed opportunities on the unwillingness of other teams to support the sales effort. It's your job to secure those resources; if you failed to do so, it's your failure, not theirs.
  • Do Break Through Stovepipes. When you see other groups pursuing theiur own organizational goals without regard for the need to generate revenue, surface the problem with your management and try to get your co-worker's priorities to be better aligned.
The above is based on a conversation with Sharon Daniels the CEO of the sales training firm AchieveGlobal.
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