Excess Baggage.

In my former sales organization, there were prospect lists for each salesperson. Pretty standard stuff for sales. One of my colleagues had this particular account, a whale, a $100M opportunity that they had not made much progress with over a period of time. I always thought, to myself of course, that I would love an opportunity to try and sell this account. Not that my colleague was a bad salesperson, on the contrary, they had lots of success with certain types of accounts. This was just not one of them. Much to my surprise at the beginning of a particular year, the company decided to juggle things up a little and change the salesperson assigned to various accounts. I can see why management would want to do something like this, as targets can get a little stale if no meaningful progress has been made to move them to a sale. I can also understand the disdain of a fellow salesperson, who never wants to give up a prospect, because just as they do, something at the account will change, resulting in a sale that they now may miss out on. However rare this is, it does happen.

Having now received the target, I was elated to have the opportunity to finally give this account a crack. I placed a call to my colleague who previously had the account and set up some time for us to talk. In the process, I collected the file and reviewed the CRM notes to familiarize myself with all the players at the business. I looked at their website to review their products, their mission statement, anything that I thought would help me in the selling process. In my head, I started to develop a picture of my proposition and the value I would deliver. I even worked on crafting my entry strategy to get an appointment, something my colleague had been unable to do. I was excited to get this opportunity until I met with my colleague. In that meeting they told me, not to bother with this account, it was dead, and they hated us and would never do business with us. I was devastated, I had such great plans.

I am not sure if you have ever had a scenario play out for you with somewhat similar circumstances. This would not be the last time for me, it happened several more times during my career. So, what was the lesson I took from this?