I had an interesting experience while conducting a coaching session with a client sales organization that will give you some insight to the untapped power available in non-sales departments of most companies.
We were working on a pre-call preparation for a first time face to face meeting that three member of the management team (one of whom is the president) would be having with a prospective client. An individual who is a center of influence in their network had given them an introduction t a prospect company that could result in a long term profitable relationship.
In the coaching session, there were managers, outside salespeople, inside salespeople, project managers and support people from two divisions, covering the company's four primary markets. Specifically, we were strategizing primarily to answer two questions:
-What is our objective for this call?
-What should our process be for achieving the objective?
The group was asked to share their answers to the first question. The salespeople offered, "Sell our products and services." (I'm paraphrasing.) No surprise there right? Some of the managers said, "Sell our products and services." Somewhat of a surprise. Finally, one of the project managers suggested, "Find out if this will be a fit for us?" Eureka!!
Great question! But who did it come from? Not a manager. Not a salesperson. The best question was asked by a non-sales person….a project manager. How could this be? Well, very often I find that the people who are responsible for managing projects, making sure they are done on time, on budget and profitably, are the people who are most concerned about why the business was pursued and acquired. It's the sales team that tells the customer, "Sure we can do that!" and then when the work is handed off to the operations team, those folks are then left asking each other, "How are we going to do that?"
The lesson here is that the operations team can be a great source of additional sales knowledge, intuition and perspective. It's the project managers, engineers, estimators, etc. who will ask:
-Why are we talking to ABC Company?
-Is this a fit for us?
-If we do _________ for them, what happens next?
The list of other great questions generated by operations people is a long one. Presidents, CEO's, business owners–leverage the hidden talents of these valuable team members in gaining more sales.