Many years, actually a couple of decades ago, when I was a rookie salesman for airconditioner compressors, my beat on many week days used to be something like this. Start from home and head straight to one of my “special” customers’ office. The target was to launch myself into this hard, “pleading to be scrapped”, settee right in front of the CEO’s office, before 9.00 AM. That’s the time this gentleman would walk in already looking very busy and important. The rest of the morning, I would be negotiating and kind of engaged in plea bargaining.
This customer was very special in more ways than one. He would leave our invoices unpaid for at least 90 days (our terms were 30 days net ), have his secretary deftly deflect all our phone calls and when making commitments to settle the bills, truly believed that tomorrow never comes. We were a MNC trying to gain a foothold in the local market and needed to hit numbers to establish scale and be in the reckoning for our slice of the pie. So, we did grin and bear, till we got wiser.
Sales teams are challenged
In hindsight, I think such “days” did set me back in my quest to be an A player in that job. Among other things, I guess I was handicapped by some of these non-likeable stuff :
- Digging into customer files in preparation for the “encounter”, next morning
- Wasting valuable work hours trying to stalk “special” customers and to lie in wait
- Reconcile clumsy account statements with client, cause someone at office hadn’t updated
- Quote proposals to prospective clients were held up as I had to first get back to the office
Whew, there's mobile !
Thankfully, this is history. Today, the sales team in my company works from its virtual office, the mobile phone. Mobile applications for Sales force automation and CRM, from companies like KNS Technologies, empower sales teams to manage their existing customers and acquire new ones, more efficiently. Additionally, integration with legacy ERP systems have ensured that they have all the information they need to be successful.
With such enterprise grade mobile applications, “special” customers have taken on a new meaning.