The Anatomy of a Bad Technical Sales Rep

I recently had the misfortune of dealing with a technical sales rep that seemed to make every wrong move possible. It was like they followed a script from How to Suck at Sales and Drive Away Customers for Dummies or Used Car Sales 101. The company’s software is solid, and a good sales rep probably could have persuaded me to go with their product. Here’s how this person did just the opposite.

  1. Call a potential client right away, and without doing any research on the individual or the company. It’s great to respond to unsolicited inquires in a timely manner. But it doesn’t have to be within 2 hours. It’s always a bad sign when a rep opens with “tell me what your company does…”
  2. Don’t know the competition. I shouldn’t be introducing legitimate competitors he’s never heard of. This rep seemed to only know of one industry research report on their sector – and referred to it as the Bible. There are actually three by Forrester alone. He should try reading them, and not continuously referencing one that is actually older and less relevant. Furthermore he shouldn’t tell me they’re the only vendor with technology ABC, when in reality several others have it and are doing a better job with it.
  3. Discount competitor’s strengths.  Just because the rep tells me their competitor’s products aren’t as good as theirs doesn’t make it so. Continuously referring to his competition (the ones he knew about) only made him seem unconfident and disingenuous. He should have differentiated their product by focusing on their own features and strengths.
  4. Discount a potential customer’s concerns. This should be pretty obvious, but it wasn’t to this guy. “That’s not important” or “you don’t need that” is probably not the best approach when dealing with a potential customer who obviously is well versed in their market and competition.
  5. Have no recollection (or record) of talking to a potential customer. Really? How is this possible? I had already had two separate conversations and exchanged emails with this rep. Three months later and “my company sounds familiar” to him… Are they tracking their leads on a public chalkboard? If I ever decided to do business with his company I would make sure to request a different account rep, mainly because I now think he’s too incompetent to ever have confidence in him managing our needs.
  6. Suggest delaying our conversation until I’m “close” to buying. With that attitude and approach we’ll never get close. Why would a rep ever pass up the chance to build rapport and trust from a potential customer who has already expressed that they are serious about finding a vendor in the near future? Did my needs not match his quarterly sales goal timing?
  7. Don’t follow up after a potential customer has used your free trial. I really don’t know how any company lets this slip. I had already expressed interest in their product. I’d spoken to their rep multiple times. A month later they made a free week trial available; which I took advantage of and formed a favorable impression of their product. I never hear back from any of their reps. Very strange. My only guess is that the original rep left the company and the cleaning person erased their sales leads chalk board.
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3 Responses to “The Anatomy of a Bad Technical Sales Rep”

  1. ChrisM15

    What’s the company this guy worked for? Or industry? That photo looks like my uncle!

  2. Glen

    Sorry I’m not going to open that can of worms, but they work in the social media related SAAS space.

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