Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nathan decides to move on...but...

Nathan continued his struggles in this ruthless world. He was able to impress his prospects with the solution and its capabilities, however, that wasn’t turning into success. He maintained his calm, even though, being very young and new to sales, first success mattered most. Nathan spent a lot of time introspecting and thinking what to do, how to move ahead and get his first closure. All that he wanted was a deal, no matter what size it is. It has been almost 1 year and he wasn’t able to get anything. It was becoming difficult for him to see an eye with his bosses. He knew, sooner or later, he might be sounded an alarm to perform or perish.

He would travel and spend time outside office, so that he is not in the eyes of his superiors.  He started exploring his options outside the company and started speaking to his friends and network to get him a new role. Maybe he wasn’t made for sales. Maybe he needed a break to reconsider his options. He spent 1 week thinking on these lines and then decided to give himself 3 months. He decided to give his best shot during the next 3 months and then reconsider his choices.

During the next few weeks, he spent more time with his prospects. He learnt more about the sales process and read on how to move ahead with an opportunity. He would discuss this with his colleagues and friends to get ideas.

And as they say – There is always light at the end of the tunnel, Nathan got a life when he was called in by ABC and told that he wanted him to take over a portfolio of business being handled by Victor who is leaving the organization. Victor was the Regional Head of Services for the company, handling 3 customers with some projects at each of them.

Nathan took time to decide as this new role was a bit different than his current role. Though, he was still to sell, however, prime responsibility was to focus on managing the existing customers and making sure that they don’t leave the company with the change in guard for them. And all these projects being Services Projects made them a lot different than the way to approach Products, which was Nathan’s core focus till now.

Taking his time, Nathan discussed this role with ABC at length and finally agreed. He thought, he has already given himself 3 months and it would be good to take a dig at Services too and later on decide what works well for him.

Nathan’s challenge in the new role was to be able to manage the customers and the team alike. The teams were hired specifically for these projects and customers and any instability and luring from Victor might prove detrimental to the organization. Victor would surely try and poach these customers with him to his new employee too. This could destabilise the whole services business for the company.

He got Victor to introduce him to the customers as a part of his hand-over responsibilities and tried to meet as many team members as well, to give them the comfort of being there. In parallel, he started meeting all the customers along with Jammy, who was advised to assist him by ABC.

Jammy and Nathan met up with all the customers in person and gave them the comfort that it will be Business As Usual for them they will make sure that their teams work as is and the deliverables are met. They also took Shanks along with them to be able to leverage upon his experience as a competent sales professional. All 3 of them made sure that the customers are taken care of well. Meetings, Lunches, Dinners and Partying followed for next 2 weeks, covering all the customer personnel and attending and listening to all their concerns.

In parallel, Nathan and Jammy met up with all the team members and updated them on Nathan replacing Victor and Nathan taking care of all their concerns. They spent time with them, took them out for lunch and dinner parties, so that they get easy and gel up within the team and with Nathan too.

This in a way left Victor a bit angry at Nathan and it seemed it hit his ego that a young guy comes over and meet all this customers behind his back and doesn’t even bother to tell him so. He had all the help he needed and was doing it well too. He called up Nathan and dared him to meet any of the customers again without him, till the time he is with the organization. He challenged that within 1 month of his exit, he will take all the customers and projects to his new organization. As he would join a bigger organization, he will have the resources and might to entice the customers easily and his existing relationship would work in his favour.

Nathan took up the challenge and made sure that over next 2 months he visited each customer at least once every week. He would visit them just to say hello or to discuss the progress of the current project or to check for newer opportunities. Once every 2-3 weeks, he invited them for lunch or dinner to give them additional comfort. After 2 months, he got ABC to meet up with all the customers to make them believe in us, with words from the senior management. He also made sure he was in regular touch with his team members, he would visit them regularly and check if there is anything he could do.

All this really worked for him and over the next 3 months, not only he managed to save all the existing projects and customers that he was handed over, at the end of 3 months, he was able to get a new project from an existing customer. This was the biggest win for him and paved the way for his growth in the organization. This made senior management to believe in him and appreciate his efforts. He was awarded with the outstanding sales man for the quarter. This made Nathan very happy and he believed in himself and his capabilities as a sales guy and decided to continue further in his current employment.
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