Latest Blogs

Fine – Go For It!

Go for it

Go for it

My first job ever, right out of the APL Management Training Program , was when Joel Greenberg put John Motley and me together to start an inside sales process for New York City customers.

Operative word “Inside”.

John, amazing technologist, whipped up an SFO system for us (1985!) and off we went.

Our customer base was any customer that was not assigned to an outside sales rep. There were a lot, and many had good revenues.

We cut our teeth and made all the sales mistakes: over-promising, over- selling capabilities etc. etc. Some of our customers had not heard from a rep in a long time… some never. Reactions ranged from grateful to angry.

But we learned.

And then we overstepped. The key feature of our new sales group was that we were Inside salespeople. We did not go visit customers. We worked by phone.
Some customers said to come see them. After a while John and I thought that was a good idea.

Out we went to make sales calls on a few customers. And it felt great!

Until Joel found out. He wasn’t pleased. After all, the success of inside reps is the amount of calls they can make from their desk – productivity; and if they needed and merited external sales coverage (resources), they would get it.

The whole point of inside sales was that certain size customers could not be covered with outside sales reps!

We argued:
Great for us to get experience!
Great for the customer!
We can manage it!

Joel’s response?
” Fine. Go for it. But it is on exception basis. You still make your inside sales call and revenue quota.”

“Fine. Go for it!” How easy it would have been to put us in our place, teach us about process, about following direction.

Instead we were given some leash to experiment and learn, but not let off the hook on original goals.

Whether it is an innovative idea, or an employee straying a bit for good reasons – run out the leash. Let them go for it!

Ellipsis AdvisorFine – Go For It!