The Mystery of The Revolving-Door Sales Force

 In Building Successful Partner Channels, Entering Foreign Markets

Atlantic Crossing – Revolving-Door Sales Force– and how it hampers revenue acceleration in technology companies.

In my previous post, I noted how often skilled salespeople fail to live up to their employers’ expectations – even though the new technology product they are selling solves real needs in the market.

That fact is puzzling to everyone: the salespeople, the product developers, and the company’s founders and investors. The end result is always the same. The salesperson who doesn’t sell is fired.

The company then must try to find a replacement in a hurry. But even if they hire top-notch, and expensive, headhunters, the outcome is often the same. The sales force is a revolving door.

And, worst of all, the revenue acceleration doesn’t happen. No money to pay for development. If only the company could find salespeople that were good enough.

Options for Solving The Mystery

Most often in this situation, companies reach for the founders or their chief technical resources. After all, they know why they created the product in the first place. Which problem it is supposed to solve? And how?

And the company might work with partners – companies with industry-specific technical and marketing skills.

But these options come with serious challenges. Using your founders or development resources to do sales and even pre-sales is extremely wasteful. For one, it takes them away from developing the great product further. And it’s also pretty unlikely that they will be great salespersons. There are reasons why developers develop, and salespeople sell.

The partner channel is, seemingly, an ideal option. The drawback here is that these companies will have to be recruited, just like customers. You have to have salespeople to do that. Which leads to the exact same quagmire. Again, you could solve that by using founders and/or developers. But that might be an only marginally better idea than using these resources to sell to end-user customers.

Another problem is that very often you’ll hear technology companies complain about their channel partners. And they will do so using the exact same terms that was used for their own sales force. They are just not good enough, not technical enough, not enough product knowledge … And the big one: They don’t sell enough.

So how do successful technology companies overcome these obstacles?

You are welcome to post suggestions in this thread. And we will come back to look at ways out in my next post.


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