Going native is a term used to describe a sales person who loses the balance between customer advocacy and being a champion for their company. These are people who lose sight of what their company can actually deliver and err only on the side of what their customer contact says they need.
Most sales people who find themselves in this position get there because they’re trying to earn VisABILITY, CredABILITY and ReliABILITY with their client or customer contacts. The reality is that a sales person cannot address any of The Five Abilities™ that cause customers to buy, when they’ve lost the objective balance. This balance allows them to be a strong problem solver for both the customer and the employer. Let’s walk through each of The Five Abilities™.
VisABILITY – (Being seen in the right way by the right people.) If all you’re doing is agreeing with the customer on what your company needs to do differently, you are by definition, seen in the wrong way. You open yourself up to accepting actions or problems that you can’t act on. Eventually, you also lose the ability to communicate with stakeholders in your own company. Failed VisABILITY.
CredABILITY – (Having superior knowledge and success.) In my experience, any knowledge that is based only on a biased view is flawed knowledge especially as it relates to sales. In this case, if your product or service representation isn’t a balance of customer needs and what you can deliver, you’re presenting a false promise to the customer. You also lose your position as an information source for your internal stakeholders. Failed CredABILITY.
ViABILITY – (A solution that fits both needs and readiness.) Sales people who become native often believe that the only way to win is for their employer to change the offering. Their primary goal is to have the customer be happy with them which causes them to lose sight of the ultimate result to find a solution for the customer’s business problems. They lose the ability to give constructive feedback to the customer on what they can actually deploy and they lose connection with internal stakeholders who feel abandoned by the person who is supposed to be their champion. Failed ViABILITY.
CapABILITY – (Delivering on what the customer bought.) Sales people who go native will often leave the customer with the impression that they’ll get everything they want which is almost never the case. The result is the customer doesn’t get what they bought creating buyer’s remorse and lost confidence in the CapABILITY of the seller. Failed CapABILITY.
ReliABILITY – (Being accountable “when” things go wrong.) Great sales people organize the collective response when something goes wrong. A sales person who becomes native finds that they’re alone when it comes time to rally the troops. It’s like John Belushi in the movie Animal House, when he gives the big speech to his fraternity brothers ending with “Let’s Go!!!” only to find that he’s the only one going. Failed ReliABILITY.
If going native doesn’t address any of The Five Abilities™ that cause customers to buy, then it follows that this is a place sales people never want to go. Incredibly successful sales people never go native.
Unfortunately, some product managers and developers see any act of advocating for a customer, as going native. In my next blog I will talk about the losing results of assuming all sales people are native and therefore, not worth listening to.