Your Best Untapped Resource

If you’re anything like me, you have a love-hate relationship with your vendors. I loved my software platforms, enjoyed learning more about them, but after daily calls from various people, I became wary of the sales pitches. Even if I was reaching out to THEM for information. Catch 22.

As I’ve moved into my new role, I’ve endeavored to keep in touch with those vendors, though. At the end of the day, many of them were sad to see me go, wished me well, and really did just want what was best for me and my org.

I borrowed a half hour from one of them to ask them more about what they do and how they can help admins out there get the most of out of their software.

In the interest of fairness, I am not sharing the name of the company of the person I interviewed. Our Friendly Neighborhood Sales Rep (FNSR) has worked for a few software companies, most often in sales roles, and agreed to share some of those insights with me.

Polymath: To start out, why don’t you describe a day in your life?

Friendly Neighborhood Sales Rep: My job is to generate sales for our team from existing customers – signing up for new products and things like that. I get into work about 8, and we have a daily team huddle at 9. Then I go through my action item list – usually following up on emails from the night before or going through a follow-up list, like from webinars or visiting key webpages.

P: What do you like best about your job?

FNSR: I love helping customers get stuff done. A lot of the calls I handle – I feel more like tech support because I’m helping people solve problems. I might help them make better use of a feature they have or maybe get their admin some training. I can find resources for them, if I don’t know the answer. I enjoy the feeling, getting off a call, knowing that my customer got something out of it. And working for a software company, you know, we have a pretty laid back atmosphere.

P: I enjoy that, too, working in the software industry before and now from home. My casual Fridays are a lot more casual now. So what do you like least about your job?

FNSR: The uncertainty. Working in the tech industry with so many companies starting and growing – it can be tough to go through growing pains with a company.

P: That goes both ways. I’ve worked with platforms where, in a single year, I’ve had two or more Account Managers.

FNSR: Yeah; that’s something that happens, you know? If someone gets a great new job, and they leave the company, can’t really be mad at them, but it needs to be communicated really well.

P: Good point. I guess somewhat in that vein, what do you wish your clients knew about what you do?

FNSR: Just because I’m a sales representative doesn’t mean my sole objective is to sell them something. I do love getting a sales opportunity, but I’m going to get plenty. I feel like it’s (the job) perceived in a negative light, but the truth is, I can be a valuable asset. If you want to learn more about a new feature before, in the future, jumping into a sales cycle, then it’s my job to teach you about it. And it’s your decision if you want to buy in the future.

P: What advice would you give to an admin having issues with his or her enterprise software?

FNSR: The customers who struggle the most are the ones who expect the software to work by itself. The software doesn’t run itself. You have to learn how to use it; I don’t get mad at systems I use when I don’t know how to use it. And the most successful customers are the ones that really work with the software and their reps. There are a lot of people there to help them, and they don’t have the problem of not knowing what they don’t know because they’re talking to their reps about their issues, what they’re using or not using.

P: So don’t try to exist in a vacuum?

FNSR: Yeah. I know sometimes customers struggle getting in touch with people – they call their rep, and maybe the rep is on vacation. Remember that there are other channels. Go use the chat function on a website or a Contact Us form. If you want the quickest response, contact the sales team; even the call isn’t for them, they are going to answer, and they will get you in touch with the right people.

P: So don’t fear the sales man, I guess. Thank you, FNSR, for your time today and sharing some insights on getting the most out of our software partners.