A technology blog for The Economist Group IT team

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Know your customer 

Stew put me onto this article by Eric Sink (worked on Mosaic) about pro-active sales people.

Well I just had a call from someone from Interoute about our plans for an MPLS service. She sounded very eager and was certainly proactive, but when she pronounced Reuters (one of their clients) routers (the British way) I knew it was all bullshit.
After spending a few days in the company of many Sales Guys, this article is especially funny. What I think is funny are (1) the companies where there is no sales guy, and the engineer/developer you end up dealing with is doing his best impression of a sales guy (they're just so darn cute trying to play hardball), or (2) the ones that actually *are* sales guys masquerading as earnest do-gooders with your best interests at heart (not as cute, but can be equally entertaining).
There's a third (and probably more...):

the sales person that's just been on a negotiating/active listening /whatever course.

One of our DartMail account managers was a really nice guy (that's not to say your're not Matt, if you're reading this). In fact he was so nice that he told me he'd recently got back from a negotiating course just as we were about to start contract negotiations.
Humpf, as a sales person I take affront at these things. Luckily I've just on on a course to teach me to empathise, so I do understand what you're saying. ;-)

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