By Justin Gray
I remember sitting in a sales and marketing meeting when I was fresh out of college as a marketing coordinator. The meetings were on Monday mornings and normally more than a little droll. Lasting right around an hour, sales began by recapping pipeline for that quarter and the remaining month. Then, if we were lucky, someone acknowledged that marketing was in the room.
Being young and ambitious, and at the time new to the company, I decided to make an impact on this meeting. I spoke up. My suggestion was a simple one. We were struggling to get attendance at an annual ‘open house’ event held every year at our offices as a customer appreciation activity. I suggested that our company president, a well-known and respected figure in the community, extend a personal invite. I will never forget what happened next.
From the back of the room a voice that was rarely heard came booming. It was the voice of our top rep, a hand-kerchiefed, Rolex adorned, flawlessly executed specimen who actually rarely appeared at these meetings. Most of the time he couldn’t be bothered to attend, as like many sales cultures, top performers were extended an extreme amount of slack when it came to day-to-day minutia, like this huddle.
As I got over the initial shock of his presence I came to realize he was talking to me, and in a tone that did not convey a friendly exchange. He was not only attacking my idea, he was kicking it repeatedly in the teeth and quite frankly mocking my “stupid” and unwelcome suggestion. The general gist of his condemnation was that there was no way that our company president’s time was well spent on such a low-level task and that I should be ashamed of myself for making such a menial, rookie move.
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
― Albert Einstein
The understanding that only the most deep-pocketed and longstanding customers had direct access to the executive team was a pervasive one that I saw upheld at company after company. On that day I understood that the sales process was one of qualification, and only when a prospect had truly run the gauntlet, were they permitted to offer at the alter unto the coveted C –Suite.
I was always somewhat perplexed by the degree with which we sheltered our executive teams from their own customers. When I became an executive years later I never wanted to exhibit these same behaviors. I wanted to maintain direct access to my buyers, and up until very recently, in the same manner as that meeting, I’ve been condemned for it – sometimes even by customers themselves.
I’m a very hands-on exec, I may show up at a first meeting or work the door at an event. Often this is perceived as a sign of being “small.” I had a customer recently mistake me for a project manager. I’ve had prospects inquire as to the Go to the full article.
Source:: Business 2 Community