Coffee Crazed Sales Cultures

We know a Sales Executive who once found what he thought was the equivalent of the Glengarry leads on steroids.  It was early February and he was in line to close the two biggest deals in company history.  For him, it meant retiring annual quota with almost 11 months left in the year! glengarry_rect

But it was not to be. The call came in from his CEO one week before the deals would close informing him that “we’ve decided to go in a new direction”.  He was summarily terminated without cause over the phone by the CEO one week before the two deals would close.”

Yes, this is an extreme example of how a high pressure focus on one’s quota can sometimes blind us to what’s going on around you. It does however happen more often than most people realize.  Corporate sales quotas are a way of life for most sales people and frequently it can lead to an uncomfortable life.

The fear of not making quota and the potential job loss that may accompany it is undoubtedly even more common.

I have to admit that at this point in my career I am not held to a quota.  At the same time, having spent over 25 years in sales, I am in a position to empathize with both sales people and their clients who are both affected by the sales person’s quota.   (It is also my good fortune that my job allows me to help both the sales person and the client to navigate this issue, which we will discuss at a later date)


Numerous studies have found that sales quotas can lead to a variety of problems for both client and sales person, including the following:

–       Quotas can add significant pressure to the salesperson, which may affect his ability to sell with relaxed confidence and enthusiasm.

–       Possible high turnover if talented sales people fail to meet quota.

–       Potential for salespeople to get too aggressive with prospects.  Salespeople motivated too heavily on sales volume may naturally become pushy and persistent, rather than helpful, with prospects.


What we are left with is the question of how to manage quotas in order to avoid running into these highly counterproductive issues.  With regards to the technology sector, recent recommendations from Deloitte Consulting Groups, Michael Herman include the following:

–       Shared quotas across multiple sales roles; Account Manager, Product Specialist, Channel Managers.   Thus allowing for greater shared responsibilities and accountability.

–       Effective quota setting in technology companies requires that sales be tracked at multiple levels (e.g., product, territory, and region).  The primary example is the increased use of third party channel partners where tracking sales and giving credit where credit is due is becoming even more challenging.

–       A recent trend in the high-tech sector is the increased use of subjective measures (e.g., MBOs) with longer time horizons for business development sales reps.  These sales reps are engaged early on with customers to gain insight into demand trends earlier on in the product life cycle. The idea is to get their sales reps closer to end users to partner up the product life cycle chain, with the ultimate goal of seizing “design win rights” early on in the sales process. With design win rights, these high-tech companies can become market makers for new product functionality instead of followers.


We share Mr. Herman’s belief that these approaches can be highly successful and have experienced our own personal success with the first two examples.  The third approach, while we have not seen this in action, seems almost intuitive in the way it engages the customer on a different level, early in the sales cycle.  We just wonder are today’s technology sales leaders willing and able to try something new?

Houston Technology Happy Hour – Sept Event


Don’t miss out on your chance to meet some of Houston’s most influential IT professionals during the triumphant return of the Houston Technology Happy Hour to Hefley’s Bar & Grill!

For those that have endured the outdoor patio at our previous events, rest assured the A/C will be blowing cold at Hefley’s! For those that have joined us at Hefley’s in the past, you know we’ll have a reserved upstairs private bar, private restrooms and a great outdoor wrap-around balcony granting some amazing views of the Houston skyline at dusk.

Special thanks to this month’s sponsors, Skybox Datacenters and Data Center Evolution. More info on them below.

Complimentary appetizers will be served with a cash bar and friendly staff where you can order all your Texas favorites. Get this! It’s just $3 for Texas beers and $3-4 Texas liquors! This is an exclusive Thursday night promotion just for our group! Thank you Hefley’s!

Door prizes will be given away, too! So, what are you waiting for? RSVP right now! This event will sell out!


Houston Technology Happy Hour - Sept Event

Danger Ahead! The Perilous Waters of Contentious Vendor Relationships

“I’m the Captain Now” – that famous scene based on that all too real life situation that took place off the coast of Somalia in April 2009 brings to mind a business parallel around what some call “vendor-lock”. Now rarely is a vendor going to point deadly weapons directly at a customer and claim they are in charge but that feeling of shock for a customer that feels they are stuck in a negative working relationship for business critical services they can’t escape can sure Damarious Randall Authentic Jersey get the blood pressure up. Why does this typically happen and what can be done to avoid such negative situations?


[subtitle3] “Win/Win” Should be the Approach from the Beginning [/subtitle3]

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Too often an initial contract negotiation can start the relationship off in a bad place and even create personal issues that can haunt later negotiations long after the ink on a Master Service Agreement is dry. Entering into a working agreement for critical services should always be performed with a “win-win” mentality from both sides of the table. If you don’t feel the vendor will operate with this mindset or that they simply don’t care about your positions on matters – then you should seriously question if they are the right partner. This being said getting vendors to agree to terms, pricing or items that truly are not in their best interests may feel like a win in the short term but can lead to painful situations down the road. Think about it this way – do you really want to be the customer that “won” a negotiation that makes you the least profitable customer on their list when you are relying on them to perform tasks critical to your business?


[subtitle3] Don’t Expect a Vendor to Negotiate Against Themselves [/subtitle3]

Even with the best “win-win” mentality it is critical that the customer bring contractual expertise to the table on the actual services being provided. Just because one is a good lawyer or a good negotiator does not mean they have a clue about the nature of a technological service contract especially if the service is relatively new to the marketplace. Spending money to have an external consultant or outside legal counsel experienced in doing the specific type of contract is absolutely worth it. In many circumstances one misstep could be very costly in an MSA / SLA review and these types of documents can vary dramatically in a lightly regulated marketplace like technology services. The vendor has an intimate understanding of these agreements as a result of negotiating them on a daily basis. It is in the best interest of your organization that you engage with someone who can at least interpret the intent of the terms your entering into.


[subtitle3] Vendor Relations just like Employee Relations are Key [/subtitle3]

Having strong personal relationships and dialogue with personnel at multiple levels of a critical service provider’s organization can bear positive results in many facets. This really should be a cultural initiative. In all actuality many vendors are simply more important to the business than departments full of employees. Businesses surely don’t plan to have contentious relationships with their own folks – but all too often blunt force policies of negotiation and dealings with critical suppliers are the tactics deployed to reach some objective which is typically short sighted.


[subtitle3] All important contract items and order requests should always be agreed to in writing [/subtitle3]

Poor documentation does neither side justice. There should always be a respect for the timing and importance of having a clear process to do things correctly. Executing tasks ahead of clear requests leads to finger pointing and can often lead to resentment. Very important to avoid the “he said, she said” issues that can destroy any good working relationship whether it be on a Damarious Randall Kids Jersey contract or a daily operational task. In a worst case scenario, if a matter ends up in court it will matter very little what was discussed, only what was agreed to in the contract


[subtitle3] Keep a solid foundation that can survive turnover and change [/subtitle3]

Merger & Acquisition activity is a constant part of life in today’s rapidly changing business landscape – especially in the technology sector. People simply don’t stay in one place for as long as they used to either. Maintaining a consistent working relationship with a critical vendor becomes even more challenging when the people and often the company itself changes completely. A change in the actual ownership of the vendor needs to always be considered. Language in your agreement should also take into account the potential for this type of change. This typically falls under the heading of Subordination and Attornment in your agreement.


[subtitle3] Always Have an Escape Plan, Just in Case [/subtitle3]

Part of the expertise of entering into a Damarious Randall Womens Jersey contract is understanding not just how you legally terminate it Damarious Randall Youth Jersey – but also how you functionally terminate it if need be. All too often the cost or even the feasibility of moving away from a service is prohibitive or practically impossible if there is not proper and consistent planning. One should not be caught in this situation without truly understanding what it may do to the working relationship and the type of leverage it may give to the wrong vendor. Even if a customer does all the right things up front and maintains a great relationship – things can indeed change and you get caught looking like Tom Hanks with his hands up – losing control of his ship and crew.


Contributing Author: Kevin Knight | VP of Kiamesha Global | [icon name=”linkedin” size=”18px” link=”″]