Had an entertaining talk last night with a very successful rep that’s been selling boat loads of a technology product for the past ten years. The latest initiative from the top is to pursue national framework agreements with target country-wide accounts. Typically such firms have offices across several sales territories, the idea being to get the nod from HQ then pick up all the sales at less hassle locally.
I have plenty to say about this kind of strategy (& I bet so would Jill Konrath, about whom I’ve blogged before) so rather than espouse what my strategy would be, the interesting point that arose from my conflab with Dylan, was why the policy was worthwhile.
How many buyers when called about a product, answer something like “we’ve got a global agreement with megacorp thanks”. And the result is almost always the same; the rep loses interests and searches for their next number.
I was talking to my pal Hansie the other day, and he told me about how when he’s on-site at his biggest client (huge S African insurance player Metropolitan Life to whom he’s been delivering for 7 years) his desk is currently next to the fella that manages their phone systems. He gets at least 5 calls a day from eager reps trying to sell him a new pabx. And simply says there’s an agreement in place (forever).
What reps faced with such an obstacle should really do, is politely challenge what the ‘global deal’ means in practice. Are they forced to buy kit solely from there? Are they just recommended to do so? What happens when they want something that sits beyond the supply of the incumbent? And play your cards right, there could well be one string to your bow that’s unique and gets your foot in the door.