Sloppiness_____by_Alpha_Leader (1)

Lightcloud was a hi-tech company (chaired by venture capitalist superstar Marc Andreessen) fighting for its very survival in the post dot com bust, post 9/11 era. The launch of a new product was crucial to its survival and they had revamped the entire sales process, recruited a top drawer 150 person sales team and put them through a “rigorous and unforgiving training program”. Mastery was demanded; technique, skill and knowledge had to be perfect. Weekly sales forecast calls were made and accounts reviewed in detail.

One sales person reported that he had “buy-in from his champion, the VP he reports to and the head of purchasing. Success was assured, the sale was in the bag”.

Head of Sales:      “Have you spoken to the VP’s peer in the networking group?”

Sales Rep:                 “Um, no, I haven’t.”

Head of Sales:      “Have you spoken to the VP yourself?”

Sales Rep:                 “No.”

Head of Sales:     “Okay, listen carefully. Here is what I’d like you to do. First, reach up to your face and take off your rose-colored glasses. Then get a Q-tip and  clean the wax out of your ears. Finally, take off your pink   panties and call  the @*&%$ VP right now because you do not have a deal.”

The Head of Sales was right, the deal was not done; the VP’s peer was blocking it and had to be brought on board. But more importantly, the Head of Sales “set the tone – Sloppiness would not be tolerated.”