The old IBM salesman was never in sales

When the thirty year old entrepreneur appeared in front of his Board Of Directors for explaining his lagging sales, the 60 year old ex-IBM board member said: “In my time at IBM during the seventies and eighties we’ve sold …”

The entrepreneur immediately interrupted and replied:
“You have never been in Sales as you were only in negotiating contracts and closing deals and your lead generation was completely based upon inbound marketing driven by the IBM brand name.”

The ex-IBM man was astonished as his pride was demolished as the statement was true: CEO’s and CFO’s actually called up IBM inĀ  order to get a meeting with an IBM salesman.

Image representing IBM as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

According to the entrepreneur a real salesman has to:
- Prospect the market constantly
- Call up potential customers: cold calling
- Find leads
- Explain about the benefits and features of the product
- Explain why they need the solution now instead of later
- Inform about the company
- Persuade the lead
- Giving presentation
- Nurture the leads through the funnel
- Make the price quotation or answer the RFP
- Negotiate the contract
- Close the sales deal
- Make sure the delivery is on time
- Collect the money / get paid
- Get the commission
- Keep the customer – to avoid churn

People and businessmen from different companies have different views on the tasks involved in sales. An entrepreneur needs to deal with all those tasks in order to get a deal closed and a happy customer.

In a big company with a strong brand name much less is involved for a sales man.

What about your sales cycle ?

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One Response to “The old IBM salesman was never in sales”

  • ellipsis dive says:

    Hi. Nice story. I really like the story and hope this is true. Also, thanks for posting about how the real salesman needs to look alike :)

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