The other day after I closed a deal with one of our new customers he made a comment to me that really stuck. He said, “Hey, it’s been fun going through this with you. I know this is the end and once I sign this piece of paper you’ll pass me to someone else and I’ll never hear from you again. And you know what? I’m okay with that.”
I was taken back by his comment. As someone that’s been an Account Manager for many years before moving into a sales role, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Is that okay?” I can understand his thinking in general, but I couldn’t see its validity in the Software as a Service industry.
Even though this had no bearing on the deal going through, I felt the need to assure him that I had no intention of abandoning the relationship simply because the deal was closing. I decided to ask him why he thought that way. “Because that’s the way sales works,” he said. “I’ve been down this road before. We talk daily, maybe even go for dinner or to a few events, but then once I sign that all ends. I get it, I’m okay with it.”
What I read was, “I’m really not okay with it, but my skin has grown thick enough to deal with it. I’m also just playing this game we need to play to get your product in the end.”
To us, this isn’t okay. The sales relationship doesn’t need to end when you sign on the dotted line. Nor should it. At Helm, signing the deal is just the beginning of our relationship. Of course as a sales person I have a job to do and I appreciate that I won’t be able to spend the same amount of time with you once I’ve introduced you to your Account Manager (we are a business, after all). But do we, as sales people, really need to disappear at that point? We don’t think so, especially in the SaaS business where the longer you stay with us, the better for both of us. We get a longer revenue stream, and you get more value. Besides there’s still so much we can learn from each other to make our business relationship better. Why would we want to eliminate all that goodwill that was built up between us in the first place?
To us it’s not okay for sales people to go *POOF* into the night. And if that’s your expectation of us, it’s an expectation we certainly plan to buck.