11 Jun 2014

While digging thru my game cabinet for some unjinxed dice the other day, I stumbled upon an old puzzle. One Tough Puzzle is a brilliantly frustrating 9-piece puzzle boasting 300k incorrect arrangements. Unfortunately for Ralph he witnessed this reunion which resulted in my challenging him to locate the singular solution. A mere 5 days later, while in NYC, I received his victory text. Naturally I scheduled a debrief as soon as I returned; I had to hear the strategy that resulted in such an expeditious resolution! 

Flash forward a few days and I find myself in Orlando where, in true trade show fashion, I'm forced to defend AppD's APM strategy against our competition. We take a bit of a different approach that allows us to run in production that - while I won't go into detail about it here - varies pretty wildly from the competition. I'd argue that it our strategy is more than different, it’s better. But the two events made me wonder: why are people so concerned with *how* we obtained the results and not simply *that* we obtained them?

For me, in the battle between curiosity and conclusion, the scientist generally prevails; I remain more interested in the process than the outcome. I mean I also solved the puzzle, a while ago. So knowing that he arrived at the solution is far less interesting than how. Knowing how illuminates a new strategy for puzzle pounding and provides insight into how Ralph's mind works. Two very interesting tidbits.

But for software, unless you're planning to reverse engineer it (in which case, you need not apply) the method behind the magic should be of no concern. Sure prior pains and implementation disasters may have left you borderline bitter, but shouldn’t we resolve to put cynicism and skepticism aside for the sake of a sapient solution? As salesman, how do we keep our prospect's eye on the prize? Should we use an overly keen interest in the minutia as an indicator that we're selling to the wrong people? If so, how do we climb over the scientists and secure the check signers? For latter adventures I'm inclined to advise use of the peer approach. Establish yourself as a peer to the people who can decide and don't look down.

So this week, build a rockstar team. The most important, and often overlooked, part of the sales plan is the people. When you pair tinkers with toymakers, engineers with codemakers, and naysayers with [road]mapmakers, your free yourself to focus on the business, the impact, and the value - and that kind of clarity keeps the contracts coming.

Rate this item
(0 votes)
Last modified on Thursday, 08 January 2015 20:05
Erin Wilson

I find great amusement in everyday absurdities and am constantly surprised by how my bar-ventures, my travels, and even my food-qusitions relate to the shenanigans that is software sales. I am grateful for the opportunity to leverage the Sapient Salesman as an outlet to share with you my follies, and I hope you can enjoy the schadenfreude.

Website: ebullienterin.com/

Erin Wilson is the author and publisher of the Sapient Salesman

A "sapient salesman"?

 A sapient salesman is tasked with being a psychologist, technologist, empathist, humorist, conversationalist, and a dozen other “ists” in the course of practicing their salescraft. Most people can’t wear that many hats, and these tidbits are designed to minimize your millinery mandates. Read more

The Book

Look for The Sapient Salesman: Spinning Life into Lessons, One Tale at a Time on Amazon.com later this year!

Stay in Touch

You can find me ...

Not Enough. Want to stay informed? Follow me now...