It's always important to be concerned with how to reach the decision maker in large corporations and, along the way, he does quote often from Jill and a number of others. Now this is an important topic but two things caught my attention. For starters, the tone of the article suggests that Becker has found some new insight in how to talk to the customer. He seems to have had his revelation from Konrath: “Konrath mentions a client who’s had success selling an IT solution to investment banks… The secret is he hardly mentioned his product or his company” Excuse me, but for just how many people is this approach a secret? Can this really be classed as a new insight for those selling solutions?
These questions are linked to the second point that brought me up short. Here’s Becker again: “First, you need a broad understanding of the way things have changed within corporate America - and that some of the sales wisdom of the old days doesn't hold up.” Does this mean that doing business in corporate America is radically different to doing business in corporate Britain? As if in answer, Becker has this to say: “Committee-based decisions are much more common now. This makes sales easier in some ways, and harder in others. It’s harder to figure out who to talk to because there’s usually not one person with all the power. On the other hand, it can be easier to instigate a productive conversation, because there might be a dozen people who can influence your sale. That also means sales are more complicated. You can’t just convince one person. Suddenly, selling requires matching your client’s buying process.”
Now, I’m not sure if I’ve missed the point, but in my experience of selling solutions I don’t think I’ve come across a situation where the decision has been made just by one person. So how new is this concept of “committee-based decision” making? Is this different to what we see in Britain? Hardly.
When it comes down to helping sales people to become more effective I don’t think there is anything to be gained by trying to distinguish between selling in corporate America from selling in corporate Britain, or corporate France, or corporate Europe, or indeed corporate anywhere else.