There aren’t many doubts. It is always the Salesman and there are three reasons for the poor sale:
Salesman didn’t choose the right customer or the right decision maker in the company
This means that your product is maybe ideal fit for certain customers but the customer your salesman is talking to is not in this group. Also, if the customer says “we will think about it” it means that he already know from the beginning of the year where he will spend his budget and your product in not on his core needs list. If you get an answer “we don’t have a budget” this means that you are talking to the “tech guy” in the company and he is never the decision maker. Financial guy, the decision maker, makes the budget and if he decide that he needs your product he will find the budget (because he created it and other things that he planned to buy will suffer). Never try to sell your product to the tech guy (they understand completely your product, they will love it and they are polite) but they are not the decision makers (they think they are but they are not). You will just lost your time talking to them and avoid beeing sent to tech guy when you talk to financial guy (if you talk in tech terms and he does not understand you then you will be sent to the tech guy – means no sale).
Salesman and Customer did not understand each other
This is problem when salesman is not able to understand the urgent need that this customer has. Or the customer is not able to present his problem correctly (salesman should be able to overcome this situation). Maybe this customer’s urgent need is not covered by the product that salesman is selling, but it should not be a stopper to make a deal. Salesman will face later engineers in his company with obvious question: “How did you sell something that we don’t have?” but that is the life. It is important that the deal is closed, it will be already built somehow.
Overall value of the selling product is lower than the similar product from the competition
This is also the salesman error because he is trying to sell some uncompetitive product and he is persistent to do this indefinitely. It is time for him to change the company.
If you are a tech guy (like me) then never talk about your product technical specifications, because you are wasting the customer’s time. Try to understand the real urgent need that this customer has, don’t asked him questions where he can answer simple with “Yes” or “No”. You need to be clever to make him give you the complete statement of the urgent problem that he has and he must do this personally (not by throwing your words into his mouth). When you come to the sale’s meeting, forget the passion about your product and talk at least as possible. Make him talk. Listen carefully.
Even if you like technology the most of everything and like spending most of the time working on your product, you must learn how to sell – no will done this better then you and you can not outsource the sales. In a good company around 50% of all budget is spent on sales activities.
Who will win: Shitty product with great marketing or excellent product with shitty marketing? Always the product with a great marketing.
This is what I remembered from the lecture of Matt Mayfield – “What Engineers Need to Unlearn to Sell”?