Friday, October 12, 2012

Your Right Hand should not know what your Left Hand is doing

Nathan has slowly but surely gotten into the groove of business development. He started learning the nuances. Over the next few months, he learnt and practised the art of cold calling, arranging meetings, preparing engaging & interesting presentations. With the progress, ABC was much impressed and asked him to think of how we can get going further.

Nathan came up with the idea of email campaigns and went to ABC to discuss more on that. ABC advised Nathan on the idea and asked him to prepare a sample email message. Over the next few days, Nathan worked on the email message and after a few iterations with Patrick, finally showcase the best 2 to ABC. ABC approved one and gave Nathan a go ahead along with the Marketing team to start the email campaign and track the responses and effectiveness of it.

Next 2 weeks went in the campaign and generating responses and finally speaking / emailing them to meet them in person. With this campaign, Nathan was able to get enough responses and meetings for ABC to allow him to travel and call it a success.

However, ABC did tell him that actual success will depend on how much we are able to covert this initial traction into deals and dollar values. He told that a sales guy, we have to focus only on numbers and somehow strive to achieve them. Patrick also advised that Sales guy is as good as a deal. Once a deal is closed, you just have a few days to take a sigh of relief. You have to move onto the next one and the just closed one is forgotten in a whiff.

More Nathan started getting responses and moving ahead in the sales cycle, more he was looked upon to make a closure and get a deal. More he was being analysed and asked for updates on a regular basis. On one hand, he was working hard to get going in this hateful and thankless sales world, moving ahead as well, however, on the other hand, he was getting stuck as things started to hit a wall after a while.

After initial 2-3 discussions with each of the prospects, there was not much to show for. There was nothing much happening and Nathan started learning the hard and harsh ways of sales. He realised, this is where the extra effort and smartness is required, to take the final step and close it.

He spent some with ABC and Patrick to discuss how best he should move ahead and try for a closure. There was nothing much important that came out and Nathan was a bit dejected. Meanwhile, ABC suggested arranging a meeting with the senior management and him. This would help set the context at the senior level and give them the relationship comfort. He advised, this might push our case further.

Over the next few weeks, ABC and Nathan met up with the senior management at the key prospects, however, nothing much came out. The status quo remained. This made Nathan all the more dejected.
Some time had passed since those meetings, that one day ABC called Nathan as told him that there is a product implementation for my product to start in next 2 weeks at an existing customer.  And as this is the same country you are looking after, it would be good if you start concentrating on this project as the Account Manager, while the implementation team works on the project. Meanwhile, you can continue working on the sales as well in parallel.

After a bit of thought, Nathan accepted being the Account Manager for this new project. He thought, it would be good to get an exposure on Account Management and in parallel he will continue his focus on his core role of sales.

Over the next few months, Nathan took complete control of the project, driving the implementation team at the customer location and the backend team as well to deliver the project on time. He started interacting with the customer on the project and got involved completely. Though, he took a bit of time to understand the nuances of the project, however, once he did, he was in complete control. This gave ABC much satisfaction and raised Nathan confidence.

As the requirements gathering phase was over, Nathan returned to Exactechpur to be called in by ABC to give him an update. ABC liked what he heard and Congratulate Nathan for the good work done so far.
Nathan came back to his seat and after a while met with an unexpected visitor to his desk. Mr CEO, with whom Nathan had never interacted, was at his place. At first, Nathan couldn’t believe his eyes, was it the same CEO, whose thoughts were, people like Nathan don’t have any stature to talk to me...I can’t talk to him and hence would never talk to him.

As much as Nathan was surprised, he was equally confused to see Mr CEO wanting to talk to him. He thought, what he had done to see him there, as he would talk to employees, only to chastise them.
Mr CEO started with taking updates on implementation project Nathan was handling. As Nathan gave him updates, he could see Mr CEO’s eyes rolling up and down on him, looking for something. Meanwhile, a thought still evaded Nathan’s mind – whatever I say, you will still question everything, so its better, I stop and you talk J

As if God had listed to Nathan J The moment he told Mr CEO that the project will move towards SIT & UAT in 2 months, Mr CEO started. You should get some UAT scripts from the users. You should befriend them and try and get some of those scripts. Try them on your system and get the problems fixed. This way, we can deliver the project smoothly and on time. And we can get our payments on time.

Quickly Mr CEO’s tone changed. He asked Nathan if all the previous milestone payments done by the customer. What is the total amount invoiced and what is pending? He said, you should try and get all the money before everything. You should always be chasing them for money, so that finally they give you something. And then came best part – I am paying you with this money only. So for your salary, you should get the project money.

Nathan was completely bewildered at these thoughts. With much courage, he asked Mr CEO – Boss, how can we get the payments without milestone deliveries?

This question put Mr CEO into another mode all together. He got shouting – don’t be a fool Nathan. You will always have to push our implementation team to deliver and our customer to make the payments. Always get the payments beforehand and sit easy. And then came the dialogue of the century for Nathan, as Mr CEO said – “Remember, your Right Hand should not know what your Left Hand is doing”.

He repeated the dialogue again, this time, showing this with the movement of his hands. Nathan remained silent and amazed at the thoughts. And Mr CEO went away with Nathan completely lost at his new learning J

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