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.”