The hardest rejection I’ve had in sales was around renewals. Especially ones I thought we really had earned. But still lost.
In particular, in the early days of EchoSign / Adobe Sign, we had a particular manager at a strategic partner where I did everything I could to help him. We made nothing off this partner — zilch — but I did everything I could to help him succeed. I built an integration when no one else would. I even flew to an event to help him, again for $0. He also had been to our home personally. A coincidence, but someone who I’d broken bread with on several levels and in several states.
He then joined one of our top logo customers as a manager. The next week, he called to tell us he was canceling the contract. We’d just done an NPS survey and found the team he had just inherited loved us. 100% support. Zero complaints. It was a game-changer for them. And no one there was asking for change management to learn a new vendor.
But … our competition was smart. They’d essentially bribed him. They’d already wined and dined him before he even started. They’d offered to do case studies with him and invited him already to their VIP Customer Conference. They’d also already invited him to a retreat in Napa. They’d offered to make him a hero. And he really didn’t care about the costs to switch vendors, or which one was better for his new team.
We lost this top logo customer, despite making everyone there insanely happy.
Champion change is tough. It’s risky.
And when it comes, you gotta jump on it.
If you don’t — the competition will.