Xmas Wishlist

My Sales Cycle Wish List

By Jason Rohlf

The holiday season can be wonderful, filled with anticipation, festivity, excitement and hope. I have many vivid and fond memories of my Christmases past—the dark, predawn wakeup call from my brother (or was it I that woke him up?), the sound of wrapping paper being shredded to bits, the blinding light of my dad’s Super 8 video camera bulb, the smell of my mom cooking breakfast. There are so many memories to cherish, and I’m happy that they come rushing back this time of year.

But as with many things in this world, adulthood has a tendency to put a different spin on our youthful perspectives. This time of year can be fraught with its share of stress, angst, hassle and sadness. Whether it’s a minor nuisance like fighting tooth and nail for a parking place, or something much deeper, like celebrating your first Christmas without a loved one, this particular time of year is prone to its own set of struggles.

A challenge that I’m dealing with this year is making the successful transition to my new role. I’ve worked in software consulting for many years, focused on projects in Compliance, Internal Audit, Business Continuity and Risk Management. But for the last few months, I’ve been transitioning to a new position as Director of Solutions for Onspring—a role that’s largely sales oriented. This is a very welcome change, but it’s also a big mental shift, and I’m learning as I go.

With 2015 drawing to a close, I’m taking some time to reflect on these past few months and consider how I can improve myself (personally and professionally) in the New Year. I’ve also jotted down a little “wish list” of sorts for the kinds of interactions I’d like to have with prospective clients in 2016. This list is a bit raw, but I hope it resonates with you, too.

First, I wish for open-mindedness.

If you’re on the receiving end of an Onspring sales demo, please understand that we may not have every problem solved in the exact manner you wish right from the get go. Every company, culture, industry, department and person is unique, and this can lead to a great deal of nuance lurking in seemingly “standard” processes like Internal Audit, Compliance or Risk Management. Even when we come prepared with what we believe to be best-in-class solutions, we may not have it set up exactly the way you want it in our first meeting. The good news with Onspring is that we can make changes very quickly. Let us work with you to learn more about your processes, and give us the chance to show you how we can meet your specific needs.

I wish to be questioned and challenged.

It’s only fair that if I’m going to ask prospective clients to keep an open mind, I must do so, also. I must respect that you will have questions, thoughts, concerns and ideas to contribute to the process. And while I think I give a decent Onspring demo, I also don’t harbor the delusion that I know exactly what you want to see in the way you need to see it. If I’m missing the mark or leaving something out or letting something go unanswered, please speak up and tell me so I can correct course. Believe me, I know I’m doing something wrong when there is complete silence on the other end of the line.

I wish for transparency.

Just as prospective client wouldn’t appreciate me telling them that our solution has functionality that it doesn’t or quoting them a price that’s lower than what we actually plan to charge, so too do we appreciate these folks being up front with us on details that impact our ability to assist. If we’re misunderstanding your requirements, if we’re no longer in the running, if your needs have changed, or even if you think we’re doing a fantastic job addressing your needs, just tell us. We can handle it, and we welcome the feedback.

I wish to avoid competitive comparison.

Before I continue, let me assure you that I understand you are conducting an evaluation process. You need to perform your due diligence, and you need to know how everyone stacks up. You should absolutely expect us to demonstrate how Onspring can meet your specific business and functional requirements. However, I’ve been involved in many conversations where people have flat out asked me, “How is your product better/worse than Product X?” This is a tricky situation to be in, and I frankly don’t like to answer this question. At Onspring, our focus is on how our platform can help solve your business problems and help you excel in your job—nothing more, nothing less.

At Onspring, we have the great fortune of entering into what I hope will be long and productive relationships with a number of excellent clients. I’m not one to brag, but the folks in our client base are everything we might wish for: bright, curious, energetic and creative problem solvers who want nothing more than to keep striving to do what is best and right for themselves, their teams and their organizations. As we enter 2016, we hope for great success for our excellent clients, and we look to find the other organizations and people who are ready to make a positive change, to challenge the status quo, to solve problems collaboratively and do their best work. We look forward to the challenge.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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