Steve Jobs stated in a Wall Street Journal interview that one of the reasons companies falter is that they push sales instead of the product. His emphatic position was that the customer wants a good product. In many cases, short-term sales goals take priority over the long-term strategic goals of the company. Products that are easier to sell will be pushed, rather than products that require pioneering efforts. This situation occurs in companies of all sizes, but larger public companies that can be heavily penalized for missing their quarterly sales targets are therefore more vulnerable to being caught in the quarterly sales trap.
To follow up on the Steve Jobs premise about good products, good salespeople enable the customer to get a good product. An effective sales team is the primary point of contact with the customer. To be effective the team must possess:
Knowledge of the technology; Knowledge of the applications; Knowledge of the products; Strong application-support skills; Ability to create a trust with the customer (trust is the glue that maintains vendor-customer relations).
Good salespeople close the sale. It is common for high-technology salespeople to push the features and benefits of the product but be unable to close. They must ask for the purchase order.
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