Selling Isn’t Just For Prospects: Learn How to Manage Up

If you’re a salesperson, you’re managing your prospects and clients.
If you’re a sales manager, you’re managing your team.

But how do you manage your boss?

From your day-to-day experience and work, you may have some terrific ideas to help increase sales, or get things done more efficiently. Instead of wishing, or complaining, take this on with intention and you have a great opportunity to make a real difference for the company–as well as for your own career.

Here’s a recent real-world example

While engaged as an Outsourced VP Sales for a software – SaaS company, I had an interesting conversation with one of their salespeople during a weekly 1:1 meeting. While he was only with this company for 6 months, he had a lot of industry knowledge and experience in the segment.

Over the last three months, though, he started to complain. He was consistently saying that while we’re positioned for the enterprise market, the real value and larger total market opportunity is in the mid-market. Additionally, he felt that the best way to address this was to have a package of services specifically designed for the mid-market that was “out of the box”, not customized.

After almost three months of persistent complaints, I shared with him that I not only agreed with him, but have also mentioned it in C-Suite meetings I attend.

But nothing happened. And guess what? I shared the bitter pill of reality with the salesperson…

“Nothing will change until you present the reasons and benefits of changing.”

So I challenged him to be proactive and approach this in a way to actually get some traction with the C-Suite and Product Management. Selling isn’t just for prospects.

Any time we want to enroll others in our ideas and move them into action, it’s an opportunity to put your selling skills to work.

So, I suggested that the salesperson create a simple presentation to cover the following:

He invested a little time in putting it together, then ran it by me. It was great! When I met with the president of the company, I shared the presentation with him, making sure he knew that this salesperson was the one that created it. He agreed it was an excellent presentation, and scheduled a meeting with him the very next day. As it turned out, the company actually had all the necessary components in place, but they just hadn’t packaged it in the way the salesperson had suggested.

"Nothing will change until you present the reasons and benefits of changing."

After the meeting with the president, I then had a meeting with the CEO and I mentioned the presentation to him as well. After he reviewed it, he also agreed it had great ideas and wanted to move forward with them.

Bottom Line

Complaining doesn’t accomplish anything. If you have great ideas that you truly believe would be valuable to the company, use your selling skills super powers!

Learn how to manage up.

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