11 May Warning from a really, really smart person! Don’t overlook the value of sales to your organization
To clarify, I am not the really, really smart person.
Back in April I attended the annual ICTAM (Information and Communication Technology Association of Manitoba) event called the Innovators. This is an annual event hosted by our local technology association that is attended by several hundred people who are engaged in our growing tech sector here in Winnipeg.
It’s a great networking event and most ICTAM members rave about the consistent quality of the speakers ICTAM is able to attract every single year. This years’ special guest was Janet Bannister, the Founder of Kijiji and formerly of a little group in Silicon Valley you may have heard of called eBay.
Janet spoke about a number of matters related to technology companies and start-ups. One nugget of wisdom really resonated with me. When Janet was asked about the more common mistakes technology companies make, she commented that in many instances, tech firms in particular seem to overlook the value of sales and marketing to their success.
I may be biased but I thought to myself, this lady is really smart!
Since I have been in sales and business development for almost 30 years, I have always felt that the importance of the sales function within organizations has often been minimized relative to to it’s impact on the success of an organization. And now, with an audience of technology firms, Janet Bannister of Kijiji Canada is backing up my assertion way more eloquently that I ever could!
As I reflected on what she was saying, it became even clearer to me. Think about it – organizations will spend significant time and money developing their product, their software platform and processes and/or their network. And then, they’ll either ‘sell off the side of their desk’ (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-hard-can-scott-donald) or they will hire a young and inexperienced (inexpensive) sales person to fill the sales role. Or, maybe they’ll hire a young marketing person out of post secondary and task them with selling too (How hard can it be?).
It seems counter intuitive to me to invest so much time, money and effort developing your product, your software platform, your solution – and then not committing the same time, money and effort into actually ‘selling’ to your wonderful product or solution to your potential customer base.
I have stated before, you may not need a full-time professional in a business development role. It might be a good fit to work with someone a couple of days a week- at least to start. In addition to actual business development activities, that individual may also work with you to create, adapt and implement an appropriate growth strategy for your organization.
If your potential customers don’t know who you are, what you do or how you can help them, particularly in a competitive environment, they will be unable to make the ‘right’ decision and choose to work with you.
Don’t let that happen. Hire an experienced business development person – I know a guy.