The best sales reps solve my problems:

  • They listen to my actual problems and show me the best solution using their product — and other products. They learn my business fast, and show me exactly how their product solves my problems.
  • They help me demo, pilot or try the product in whatever fashion makes me the most comfortable.
  • They are fluent in, and honest about, the competition. This saves me time in my research. No, if your competition also has tons of customers, then they are not terrible at everything. Be honest about where you are strong, where you are equal, and where you are — for now — a bit behind.
  • They are honest about product gaps and weaknesses so I know up front. This saves me a lot of time and headaches. There is nothing worse than having to discover an important product gap after you’ve bought and deployed an app. But if I know up front, I can plan around it.
  • They don’t play games with pricing and I know the price is and will be fair from the start. This saves me a lot of time.
  • They are there for you after the deal. Yes, I know you are handing me off to customer success or whomever. But sometimes, they aren’t great and I need help. The best reps make you feel like they are always there for you, after the sale. Even if secretly, they’d rather be working on their top opportunities.
  • They’ve done research on me before the first call. They know what I do, who I am, how many employees we have, what we care about and need. This isn’t that hard. But boy it really helps. And works.

This is magic when buying a solution (vs. a simple tool).

What the mediocre and poor reps do:

  • Play (endless) games with price. I don’t have time. I know this may be all you care about, but I have a lot of other needs.
  • Fake and pressure-filled urgency to buy now. Yes, this is an art. Practice it poorly and you are adding to my headaches. I’ll buy this month if you’ve treated me well and addressed all my needs. But no games about your generic product getting so much more expensive next month. It’s not even true.
  • Pushing me to buy the wrong / too expensive of an edition. This can blow a deal, or undermine trust. If the simpler edition is fine for now, just sell me that.
  • Lies about the competition. This just makes my job of discovery and learning harder.
  • Not understanding my budget and situation. Don’t treat an SMB like a F500 company. Understand their budget and work to it — as a partner.
  • Too few check-ins. I need help.
  • Too many check-ins. Leave me be.
  • Break-up emails. Seriously? That doesn’t help me. You should be there when I’m ready. Even if that’s 6 months from now.
  • Playing games on renewals. Ripping me off when we start is bad enough. Ripping me off once I depend on you is even worse.
  • Turning off free trials with drama. Not cool. If I need more time, just give it to me. Not everything is life has to be so transactional.

So … if nothing else … listen to your sales reps’ calls and read some of their emails. Are they doing this? Coach them if they aren’t.

(note: an updated SaaStr Classic post)

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