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A Better Selling Model

Posted @ 3:08 pm by Tim Ross | Category: SolutionSet, Technology, Web Development Process | 0 Comments

Here at SolutionSet, we pride ourselves on honesty.  But I’m about to reveal the one lie we tell everyday.

Almost anyone who has met us has heard our boast that we’ve built one of the fastest growing companies in the US and have done so without a sales force.  But much like the KISS army, our sales force is massive and fanatical about what they do.

So, are we liars?  No, technically our claim is absolutely true.

Let me explain.

At almost every service company, there is a classic tension between sales and delivery.  It goes like this.

The salesperson promises the world, with impossible timeframes, often at cheap (BS) budgets.  In that model, signoff on the contract is the last happy moment. Post-signoff, the project gets thrown over the fence to a “delivery” group.  The delivery team either faces the ugly choice of

a) under-delivering to the client but staying within budget, or

b) delivering the work but with the addition of surprise “change orders.”

I’ve lived in that world before, and I’d rather work the return counter at a Home Depot than go back.

SolutionSet uses a very different model with sales driven by 3 different parties:

  1. The Partners (of which I’m one) are responsible for both selling and delivering and are measured on a broad set of metrics (revenue, margin, budgeting accuracy, and client satisfaction.)  I have no incentive to sell bad work since I’m also responsible for delivering.  This means clients get honest, accurate project plans… and I never get paid for playing golf.
  2. Our delivery team spends time with the Client during the sales process.  We believe this benefits all parties.  Clients become more personally invested in the vendor selection process.  And our delivery team gets to deeply internalize the project goals while sanity checking the estimates.  Lastly, our team is damn good.  I’m talking “best cooler in the South” good.  Having the client meet our team only helps the cause.
  3. Our clients, past and present, are the final and most important leg of our sales team.  We’ve learned that client retention is cheaper than client acquisition.  So we work really hard to make every project successful, and so that our clients become a valuable source of referral and new business.

The model has served both SolutionSet, our clients, and our employees well.  More importantly, with every successful project our “salesforce” grows.

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