Real letters from one professional to another. Have you considered writing a letter to one of your associates? Just send it in and we’ll post (anonymous is OK). Keep the bad language to a minimum and try to make it constructive. We won’t edit except for typos.
Dear Operations Team,
You can trust me! You really can…we both want the same thing: profitable, sustainable business that is based around our core products and services. Most often during the sales process/cycle, customers get the opportunity to meet and know one person – and only one person – from our company. That one person carries the corporate message and philosophy to the market. In turn, they are responsible for communicating the needs and requirements of the market (customers) back to the company and help define the business rules around engagement and pricing. That person is typically the sales professional assigned with a revenue and/or account targets. When this is done accurately and with integrity, it sets customer relationships up for long-term success.
I recall recently bringing a six-figure deal with a Fortune 100 biotech firm, back to our operations team for review and sign-off. After a thorough review by everyone from the deployment engineer to the COO, it was determined that the program was solid, well-defined, squarely in our competencies and had achievable deliverables. The only comments that the team came back with was that the “pricing is too high, and do we really want a multi-year’ agreement?” I was astounded that of all the things to spend time on, the technical/product team questioned our negotiation and pricing strategy[PHH1] ! Essentially, challenging the sales person’s judgment and capabilities. Talk about crushing team spirit!
I refer to this as ’negotiating against ourselves’ — professing that the terms, pricing, deliverables may be too much or too aggressive for the customer and wanting to debate this internally. In many instances with only a cursory understanding of the client’s business, objectives and the value our solution may bring to the customer’s own business. Believing ‘we’ need the relationship more than the market and/or client. [PHH2] Instead of allowing the sales professional to build the value, insulate us from competition, position as a premium solution set or take the extra time to define -and potentially increase the scope of the engagement – you too often want to jump in and ‘just get the deal’. This more times than not sabotages my and my team’s credibility and ultimately our top line and bottom line revenues. Believe me, I want the deal more than anyone else in the room. I live for these opportunities and if I’ve done my job right – not skipping steps along the way – my approach of negotiating with the customer leads to larger and more profitable deals.
By the way – we won the deal outlined above – with the ‘high’ pricing and 3-year terms!
Please operations professionals – you deliver and so will I!!
Love, Your Sales Lead