Independent representatives, channel partners, distributors and on-staff technical resources have one thing in common, they have great leverage when it comes to killing a sale. That’s right your most valuable resources may well be your worse nightmare.
Sales professionals worryabout someone else saying or doing anything that underminestheir effort, moves the discussion away from what’s important, shuts down conversation, hijacking the process or steps out of their well defined sales process.
Oh wait I’m assuming you have a well-defined sales process, which everyone understands, believes in and is held accountable to.
In addition to following a process there’s a big question about whether your salespeople believe their associates bring value to the table. The same can be said for your channel partner’s perspective on your involvement.
To illustrate this, I’ll use the Baseball Diamond below. Each of the circles represents an interaction with the prospect. In this case there are (2) touches on each base path.
Where along the base path should and does a technical resource get involved, for representatives, distributors or partners when do you enter the process. If we look at three milestones from Baseline Selling,(1) is there a real need to solve a problem, (2) are there compelling reasons to act and (3) are they (the prospect) 100% committed you can see how this plays itself out.
Problems arise when the lead salesperson doesn’t accomplish what's necessary in advance of your involvement or a technical resource's involvement. Equally important, when should other people be brought into the process, i.e. does it take one or two meetings to completely answers these questions and what decision makers must be included?
Try asking your salespeople or your distributors to answer these questions, I guarantee you will get very different opinions.
Salespeople have big egos. They also don’t like critique. Independent reps, and distributors like autonomy and are resistant to requests for information. One or two bad interactions can leave a legacy of silent mistrust. All of this can result in non-verbal finger pointing. My view is this, if your partners and technical resources are not coming to you and asking to help or for help on a regular basis it’s likely some of these challenges are present.
Sales opportunities evolve and change but there is a desired staged process. Maybe you’ve defined it but haven’t sold it to your salespeople or distributors. Maybe your technical resources aren’t clear about their role or they don’t agree with the definition.
The extent to which you properly utilize and align selling resources and manage across the sales organization greatly influences how successful you are.