Hi there, my name is Ivan and I am the sales manager. To people from my part of the world, it is easy to visualize my job by just saying the title. We know how important a good prospect is, we are familiar with the targets and unpredictability of each day and all battles we need to win in order to reach our goal. As you can hear it in my “accent” as I talk, I am a salesman, but in Developer’s world.
It is normal for the non-sales people to be unclear about what exactly we do. It is also normal to have our job described by the following R&R’s:
- We have endless coffee meetings
- We go out for lunch/dinner/drink or eight with client
- We promise things to our client which are impossible to deliver
- We do nothing 😊
To suppress the etched dogma, I decided to describe my job in a couple of lines and to give a proposal on how to cross the chasm between departments so that everyone could get a better understanding of sales.
Wikipedia says that Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in each targeted time period. The delivery of service for a cost is also considered a sale.
It is common for sales to be flexible, so we have up-selling and cross-selling activities, and everything we do is lead by predefined strategy and targets that we need to fulfill.
Salesperson performs different roles; acquires new clients, forms, and nurtures relationships with them. Therefore, his job is not only to arrive and sell a service but also to do a quality post sale, nurture relationships, solve issues and come up with new proposals for increasing a shopping basket. Our targets are measured in, surprisingly, money, so it is reasonable to expect that it is quite important for us to grow the shopping basket.
This is the simplest presentation of what sales do, but sales are more like a house adaptation. You create a budget and define a time limit, but in 99% of cases, things don’t go as planned. The electrician gets sick, plumber quits, you turn a blind eye and increase your budget, and planned time limit goes up by a few months.
In sales we know the target, but the speedbumps along the way are unpredictable and sometimes we really use the factor of luck along the way, but moreover our agility and ability to look at the bigger picture in those situations.
In the eyes of sales, engineers are the people who make decisions based on analysis and logic. With sales, aside from focus on the target, we have an emotional aspect or a strong people feeling which helps us maneuver sales tools to reach our goal. Engineers and sales people, in general, have different abilities and approach to problems. At the end of the say, we all share a common goal and that is the growth of our company and to keep everyone busy.
Reducing the chasm or gaining a better sales result?
One does not exclude the other. Moreover, they are interdependent. I personally believe that there are ways to achieve both.
1. Sales target is company’s target:
Sales dept has its targets and we aim to reach them by using different tools, such as social media, events, different sales tools, networking (yes, includes beverage), etc. Marketing focuses on social media and different initiatives to encourage inbound sales and activate prospects. Once the prospect has been arranged with the face of the company- sales, the stage belongs to Development. Which then develops 😊 So we keep our users and we expand our portfolio. It is important that the development is attentive and always looking for new sales opportunities. Only with one aligned mindset we can deliver great results.
2. Common vision and values:
Long time ago when I was a sales associate in telecom, I was not aware of the strength of company vision. Either it was not well explained to me, or was I simply taking it as a marketing speech, or both. Vision is our guiding star, and company values should be pillars of all departments; development, sales, marketing, accounting, etc. This is where we form our union which is essential success ingredient.
We could have an unbelievably well-defined vision, mission, whatever, but if we haven’t communicated this, it did not happen. Communication is critical, we need to work on it in order to approach our employees and closely explain who we are and where we are going.
This past year we acquired 5 clients. That was great.
Vince Lombardi once said: “A man on top of the mountain hasn’t fall there”. Our clients didn’t fall in our arms either. It took research, cold calling, endless meetings and finally connecting to Development to win the job.
I truly hope and believe that we will continue raising the bar higher, gaining great results and proving that we are a company that serves as and example and motivation to others.