In the previous post on this subject, I posed the question:
What’s the difference between an ERP Salesperson and a dinosaur?
The answer depends on the salesperson. If we’re talking “old school” salespeople, then the answer is: “nothing.” This is because the buyer today is has access to information which in the past simply was not available. This makes it both easier for the buyer (to identify what’s out there, assess options, etc.) and more difficult (with so much information, how to determine what’s relevant / important becomes quite a mission).
Easier, harder – the point is that it’s different. And the traditional sales approach no longer works the way it did before – so even if you were successfully selling business management, ERP or Inventory Management software 10 years ago, the methods you used then will not succeed now – at least not frequently enough.
Sales is this area is now (or should be) a collaborative effort between the potential ERP software vendor, and the prospective customer, with the goal of arriving at the truth as quickly as possible. The truth in this context means: are our companies really a match made in heaven? Or will we end up with a “quickie divorce” if you buy our software? If the latter, let’s say goodbye now and move on…which runs counter to every instinct of the traditional salesperson, who will continue trying to fit square pegs into round holes for as long as the prospect plays along.
So what’s the solution? I believe the answer lies in using people with both actual implementation experience, and a stake in the long-term success of the business (as opposed to short-term commissions) in customer acquisition.