This is always a controversial subject between Salespeople and Managers. Both sides tend to have their own opinion and the debate can get heated and emotional. After being on both sides of desk for many years, here’s the best explanation toward a clear understanding and consensus.
Professional Salespeople work hard for their business. Based on strong competition and many worthwhile options placed in front of decision makers, there are few if any, so-called easy sales. It’s challenging for Salespeople to win business and even tougher to keep it. Close, trusted relationships are valued, yet they are not the only deciding factor in choosing who gets the order.
Two purchases with every “yes”
When clients confirm a sale, they are actually saying “Yes” two times. The first purchase made involves the Salesperson – people buy from those they like and trust. If buyers don’t like you, they will not consider your product or service. If they trust and respect you, their attention now turns to what you’re selling. Your product or service needs to pass the test of price, value, needs assessment and comparative analysis.
There is no easy sale
Little wonder why Salespeople feel like they should have ownership of the account! If they prospected the buyer, this adds even more credibility to their position. In many cases, Sales Managers will agree – without the persistence and determination of its Salespeople, the company would not have many of its clients.
The company viewpoint
All Sales Managers agree. The accounts are the ownership of the company. Here’s how they feel. The company created its products and services. It makes a continual investment in making them viable and incurs the liability and risk of failing to do so. Salaries, research and development, marketing and advertising are big bills to pay every month. As Salespeople invest their time and effort, the company invests major amounts of capital to create and keep the business operating.
So who is right?
Both the Salesperson and the Company have ownership – it’s just in different forms.
The Company owns the account.
The Salesperson owns his or her relationship with the buyer.
No Salesperson wants to start subsidizing the company’s expenses. They are busy paying their own bills. Yet, the Company needs Salespeople who take ownership and accountability of their relationship with the buyer. Both need each other to complete the necessary financial transactions to survive.
Think of it this way
Think about a positive relationship between a retail Landlord and a Tenant. Empty buildings are not profitable. Not everyone has the financial resources, risk appetite and desire to own their building. Property owners want great tenants. They need them to be able to make a profit and justify their financial contribution to ownership. Tenants are always in search of a great Landlord. They need them to be able to exist and have a professional and enticing place to do business.
A true Win-Win Relationship
Every company wants great Salespeople. The type of professionals that leverage the viability of their product with the value of the buyer’s relationship. Smart companies invest in their Salespeople, listen to them and create the right environment to keep them.
Every Salesperson wants to work for a great Company, who invests in its product, imaging and positioning in the marketplace. The Company who listens to its customers, takes action when required and invests in the right Managers, gets the respect of its employees. Salespeople will not leave that company. They will attract other quality employees still looking for that kind of positive environment.
Ownership is the key
Another word for it is accountability. Salespeople, Sales Managers and all employees need to take ownership of their specific responsibilities in creating the best work environment. Clients can easily spot the signs of the suppliers who provide leadership or the ones who are miserably lacking.
Companies and Managers need to be accountable to their employees. Employees need to be accountable to themselves. When Sales and Management are accountable on the issue of account management, we spend more time on the real focus – the customer.
Thanks for reading!
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY
PROSALESGUY TRAINING offers Keynote speaking, Group Sales Training, Individual Sales Training, Sales Management Mentoring and Consultation, and Business Consulting Services in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. Training can be done on site or via web conferencing.