Look in the Mirror

The qualities you like in salespeople apply to you, too

CIO magazine recently hosted a sales seminar in New York City for scores of top-flight technology sales executives who came to learn more about how to sell successfully to the CIO.

During the seminar, we presented the results of our exclusive Vendor Scorecard Survey conducted by CIO magazine's research department. The survey focused on what CIOs felt were the most important characteristics of top tech sales execs.

Since we are all salespeople in some way, I want to share these results with you and ask you to think about how they apply to your role as a senior IT exec. Top salespeople, (with apologies to David Letterman):

    10. Understand your business.

    9. Possess competitive intelligence/knowledge.

    8. Provide ongoing support after the sale.

    7. Have a strong technical background.

    6. Are aware of business trends.

    5. Offer solutions to problems rather than meet sales quotas.

    4. Provide a high level of service.

    3. Are honest and trustworthy.

    2. Can think long term.

    And most important,

    1. Deliver on their promises.

Now, be honest. How deeply do you know your business? Do you understand your competition? You can't plan a winning tech strategy if you don't. Do you keep in touch with users after you've sold them applications or infrastructure? Do you advocate for users within the executive committee, offering solutions to their problems? What's your long-term time horizon? And finally, do you deliver, focusing squarely on bottom-line performance?

Besides using this list to judge your own sales skills, share it with your staff to help them judge the tech salespeople who call on them every day as well as to assess their own abilities.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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