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Short circuit

Sales is a highly competitive activity – with most economies open to competition the world over there are hardly any protected markets left. No company can take business as a given; they have to be sharp with their product offerings and marketing strategy.

In such a combative marketplace, when companies need to fight tooth and nail for their share of the business pie won’t it be debilitating if they have to dissipate energy in settling internal strife.

As a Business Manager I have often had to moderate arguments between my own team – members who had made bids to the same account or two Channel Partners who were at loggerheads because one had made a supply in the other’s territory.

One warring member of my team would have entered a disputed account and made the pitch only to find a few days later that there is competition, not from a rival company, but by way of a bid from another Sales Executive / Channel Partner of his team! Both sides would allege that they had been working this account for a while, or that they were called to make a bid. It leads to a lot of acrimony and the customer usually has the last laugh because both would make unreasonable offers to win the business – ego prevails over good sense.

Such situations are not uncommon and I have had to play moderator on numerous occasions – in comparison the skirmishes I had with my rivals seem like no-contests!

Sales Managers need to step in and clearly spell out the rules of engagement:

–          Territories need to be clearly marked for each player

–          Major Accounts to be approached only by designated team – member

–          Channel  partners also need to be given clearly demarcated territories

–          Have systems in place to check unfair practices / predatory bids in the marketplace

As Leader always retain the power of veto to ring in changes if people turn territories into fiefdoms and then neglect business development activity. In the absence of controls and checks Sales Executives could ignore difficult accounts and avoid visiting remote parts of the territory. They would just focus on what’s convenient knowing well that there won’t be any surprise attacks. What they forget is that the ignored accounts would soon be stolen by the competition and they won’t even know.

Is your team short-circuiting your high – voltage business plan!

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