When I was a wee lad, I was on a selling course with a load of experienced software reps. The trainer asked the usual ‘what do you hope to get out of this course’ intro. One person said ‘to learn something like the ICL Blue Sheet selling process’. ICL were UK plc’s only real computer hardware manufacturer back in those days, prior to being taken over by Fujitsu. We sold some wonderful Unix boxes I remember, the RS range being a favourite.
Anyhow, yesterday I demo’d to a fella selling really funky office furniture. They’d just re-structured so that separate teams now handled dealer or major project sales. He mentioned he wanted a project analysis system embedded for major accounts (like the impressive £1.4m Telegraph paper’s deal from 06 they’d won). So he’d adapted something he called the Haworth Blue Sheet.
Two ‘blue sheets’? Both on sales process? A coincidence? Well, hardly. I think it most likely comes from the phrase I’ve heard associated with the Miller Heiman ‘strategic selling’ approach. So in one way, ‘blue sheet’ has become a generic term for a sales process document. (Eventhough neither of the above docs bear much resemblence to this one).
What is interesting for me, is that a hot race is on to ‘automate’ such processes. Both Miller Heiman, and the other player that likes to think of themselves as a gorilla, Huthwaites, are in bed with salesforce.com to have their templates accessed, probably as part of the AppExchange global domination efforts. All in all, these plans are not easy, considering they fall outside the traditional transactional boundaries of crm out there, and inevitably every company will have their own bespoke document which’ll be notoriously difficult to re-create from a set of magical ‘user-defines’….