Managing Director, Ambition Hong Kong
How do I sell this gobbledygook?
I work in sales at a software company providing enterprise solutions. Sometimes, I don’t have a clue what I’m selling. How can I sell something to clients that I don’t fully understand? The product range is so complicated that I tried many times talking to the developers to make it more user-friendly. The language they use is completely alien to the salespeople here. The boffins don’t seem to care whether what they are creating is sellable and appealing or not. What is the best way to deal with developers like them?
Thanks for your email and this is a tough question to answer and to advise you on, because I think you have done what most sane, rational and reasonable people would do before exercising their ultimate right, which is to resign and leave their company.
You are right to be frustrated by the complex product range, which is difficult to understand and even more difficult to explain clearly to customers.
Clarity breeds confidence and this is important for you as a salesperson, because your confidence in the product will be obvious to the customers. Conversely, if you have difficulty explaining the features and benefits of the product range, the customers will feel this uncertainty and it will most likely affect their buying decisions.
My advice is to involve other people in this discussion. Talk with your superiors in the sales function and even general management and ask for their guidance on how you should sell the product range.
Ask them to deliver training sessions and join them on sales visits to customers so you can learn how they overcome the challenges that you are experiencing.
Alternatively, if they have issues, then this is a wider company challenge and you would hope your discussions precipitate some sort of action.
Get the developers involved in the sales training or customer visits to learn how they approach the task. Perhaps if they see how you and the clients struggle to comprehend the complexity of the products, they will become more aware of the need to make them more user-friendly.
Try asking customers why they buy your products and how they and your company’s overalls service can be improved.
Try asking existing customers for their feedback on why they buy your products and how they and your company’s overall service can be improved.
If the records exist, follow up with those prospective customers who ultimately did not buy the products and then find out why.
The results from this feedback from customers will help you in your conversations to make the product range more user-friendly.
Finally, can I complement you on your patience and your determination to change something that you believe is wrong.
Your employer is lucky to have such a caring and conscientious individual in their company.