Jennifer McFarland, in her article “Behind Every Successful Manager is a Great Inside Sales Job” offers good advice on how to successfully sell your ideas to executives in your own company. For instance, she suggests that you present your arguments in stages, fine-tuning as you go. She suggests that you make such statements as, “We want your input on this.” “Where do you see this going?” “Who’s affect?” “Do you have any suggestions?” when approaching senior management for support.
When trying to get the support of decision makers in your organization, Jennifer suggests the following:
- Build awareness. Before people will even consider buying what you’re selling, they must first recognize that they have unfulfilled needs. Until they recognize that need, there is not motivation to buy or to spend time or energy even considering buying.
- Get on the short list. Once someone acknowledges that they have an unfulfilled need, they create a short list of acceptable solutions. If your proposal is not consistent with that list, then you need to either change their point of view, which is very very difficult, or change your proposal.
- Demonstrate how your proposal meets company needs. People often make one of two mistakes here: either they dedicate too much time to it, or they think that they’re actually closing the sale. All you’re really doing at this point is keeping yourself in the running by not getting thrown off the short list.
- Directly address decision maker’s personal needs. People will assess the various alternatives on their short list against their personal needs.
- Be prepared for “buyer’s remorse.” Expect people to second-guess their decisions to support your proposal. Be ready to walk them through the reasons why their support helps them as well as you.
See TRANSPARENCY “Improving Your Chances of Success”
SOURCE: Harvard Management Update, December 2001, Reprint No. U0112C.
Technology is playing an ever-increasing role in the life of the sales force. It is important that students are familiar with its terminology. S. Tamer Cavusgil offered the following list of underlying technologies that enable e-business applications in his 2002 Marketing Management article:
- Electronic data interchange (EDI). Developed before the Internet era, EDI is a collection of data transmission standards developed to enable the transfer of transaction data between different companies by electronic means.
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP). ERP is a software-based business management system that integrates all facets of business (functions and processes), including planning, manufacturing, sales and marketing, and supply chain.
- Customer relationship management (CRM). CRM is also a software-based business management system that collects and interprets customer-based data from internal (marketing, sales, customer support) and external (market research, competitive intelligence) sources.
- Groupware. Groupware applications are technological solutionsd esigned to facilitate the work of groups or teams.
- Intranets. Intranets are Web-based, firewall-protected networks that connect all employees of the firm.
- Extranets. An extranet is a private network that uses the Internet protocols and public telecommunication systems to securely share part of a business’s information or operations with suppliers, vendors, partners, customers, or other businesses.
- E-commerce. However, e-commerce can typically be defined as the execution of any kind of business transaction among parties using Internet technologies.
See TRANSPARENCY “Know Your E-Business Terminology”
SOURCE: Marketing Management, (April, 2002), pp 28-29.