Don’t Pull the ‘Email to the CIO’ Trick. It Will Backfire.
I wanted to share a story that I personally witnessed this week. I was sitting in a buddy’s office (let’s call him MR. VP for this story) who also happens to be an IT leader at a big company in the Philadelphia area. They have a substantial IT budget and a variety of technology partners.
I was sitting off to the side in his office when I noticed him reading an email that seemed to get him pretty disturbed. He immediately picked up the phone and dialed (for this part let’s call him Paul from ABC software company). Mr. VP immediately started to read him the riot act. “Who do you think you are… going around me to my CIO and telling him I didn’t do my job? We have purchased millions of dollars of your software in the past. Pick up the phone and call me directly if you have an issue with the decision. You are done doing business here. Goodbye!!”
Evidently, Paul had a proposal on the table and Mr. VP and team had chosen another partner. Paul, in desperation, sent an email to the CIO letting him know that Mr. VP and his team chose another partner and his team made a mistake costing the company money in the long run. He also claimed that the playing field wasn’t even because he didn’t get the access he needed along the way.
Listen, all sales veterans have probably been in this situation before. I know I have. You believe you have the better solution and the customer didn’t give you the access and time needed to qualify the proper way and propose the right solution. I personally can’t stand to lose but sometimes there are newer and better technologies out there that will outshine yours. It’s hard not to take it personally but you must understand that this sales gig is a marathon. We are going to win some and lose some along the way. It’s how you handle the situation that prevails in the end.
I have learned this throughout my career. Rather than sending that email to the CIO who happens to highly respect Mr. VP, call Mr. VP and set up a time to be debriefed about the missed opportunity. 9 times out of 10, MR. CIO and his/her peers will respect your request to go over why they went another direction. Most of them have a heart and will be happy to discuss it with you. You will get that desired facetime, build credibility and the access you need the next time around.
I must admit, I had a smile on my face when Mr. VP was laying into Paul. It was one less vendor I had to deal with and I knew it would make a great blog………