ERP Software salespeople – here’s the deal

Mark Canes

I've always thought that selecting an ERP Software system was quite a serious and important task. Given that the entire business fundamentally depends on the ERP system, you'd probably not want to make this decision lightly. It's not the same as, say, buying clothing or home electronics.

So I find it quite odd when ERP software salespeople try to coerce a quick decision from a prospective customer using very short-term, limited time discounts - particularly when the reason they give for the time limitation is (to me) quite transparent. You'll usually find these "amazing" deals are available at month-end (or quarter-end) - the sign of a salesperson who needs to make quota.

From the buyer's perspective, the most important decision point is not money (or at least it shouldn't be), but is in fact suitability to their business of both the software and the company providing implementation services. So you would think that putting pressure on the decision maker to act quickly in order to lock in a discount would not generally be a successful tactic (unless the vendor has already in fact won the business in principle and is just trying to nudge the prospect to sign the contract). And happily, for the most part, you'd be correct. Most rational business decision makers will not be swayed to a product or vendor by limited time pricing pressure tactics.

And yet...we still see these "sign up quick for this discount" tactics time and time again. The sad reality is that when they do occasionally work, the result is almost always an unhappy customer, or an unprofitable sale for the vendor, or both.

Sales folks, it's not your fault. You're put under pressure by your sales manager to meet quotas, and what else are you gonna do? The real culprit here is the quarterly reporting cycle and the sales remuneration structure. Be honest: as a salesperson, would you rather close a "bad" sale and make target, or walk away from it and miss target? The latter will get you fired, so it's  a non-starter. So you'll hold your nose and close the bad sale.

I'm glad I work at an ERP Software company where we'd rather walk away from sales that are not a good fit, and focus on working with companies where we can and do add value. And sign them up when they're ready.