In my pre-psychology career, I once had the opportunity of having meetings with two sales teams in directly competing technology companies. The first team were completely demotivated by the other competitor’s aggressive pricing and what they perceived as the poor reputation of their own organisation. Most of all, though, they were appalled at the terrible service delivery that followed the sale. One sales person said that he suffered remorse after each sale, wondering what sort of hell he had unleashed on the unwitting customer.
A matter of weeks later, I was with an equivalent team in the competitor company also bemoaning the heavy discounting of the other company and the toxicity of their own brand. But most of all, they complained about the awful service delivery that followed the sale.
The truth is that every complex business-to-business sale in the twenty-first century risks operational issues being experienced by the customer in delivery. And if the sale isn’t complex, then there’s little need for a salesperson as the customer can simply order online. So whether one is selling complex software solutions, telecoms infrastructure or indeed anything else, some operational wrinkles are inevitable. It may feel to the salesperson that they happen more frequently in their own organisation – and this may indeed be true – but the fact is that it is true just about everywhere.