Anthony Iannarino’s post on Selling Inside reminded me of some great advice a mentor gave early in my sales career at IBM. He said, “Sometimes you have to sell stronger within your own company than you do with the customer.”
It took me a while to understand that, but it’s been important throughout my career. As sales people, we are driven to connect with our customers and to get them to buy our products. There are few areas that I know of where we can do this as lone gunslingers. Most every sales professional I know relies on strong support from people within their own companies. We often need people to help us put together complex solutions, presenting them and our capabilities to the customer. We need strong customer service, support and order management. There are many people a sales person must rely on to get things done for customers and to close business.
Additionally, a major role for sales people is to serve as an advocate for customers within the organization. Sales must make certain their customers’ voices are heard—not only for product development, but for service, and overall company strategy.
Executive management must get the whole organization aligned around customers, but sales professionals can provide tremendous leadership in accelerating this focus. Sales people can bring the reality of the customer world into organizations that tend to be consumed with internal focus.
How much time do you spend selling within the company? What are you doing to build relationships and support within your own company? What are you doing for your customers to make sure their interests are hears?
We don’t talk about this very much, but effectively selling within your own company is critical to your own effectiveness — and to your company’s success.