Making Food, Making Money and Rock 'n' Roll - Part 1

A 6-part series depicting the events of a salesperson selling to a global food manufacturer without a business case or value-selling approach.

Stephen Jackett
November 17, 2022

DISCLAIMER: this is a true story. The events depicted in this story took place in the United Kingdom in 2018. At the request of the subjects, the names have been changed and some events dramatised. Out of respect for the customers, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.

Jon awoke at 06:00am as normal to a very wet and windy day, dragged himself out of bed, looked in the bathroom mirror and felt a great sense of optimism. He had golf booked for the weekend and he was about to go to the gym for a tough workout. Jon was a highly successful salesperson for a large global software company, so successful in fact his boss had asked him to slow down and have some consideration for the other members of the team. His problem was an insatiable lust for competition.

The reason for Jon’s optimism was that a couple of months ago, he had been given a lead for a global food manufacturing company who had a number of problems within their business, and he saw this as a home run of a deal! He had done everything right, software demo, needs analysis, and financial justification in the form of a Ranger TEI case study. Now, he was expecting the order anytime and that meant a big commission cheque and another quarter at the number 1 spot. Jon had been working with Billy the operations director in the food manufacturing company, he was a very shrewd operator and saw the implementation of a new system a real credit to his reputation.

After the gym, Jon jumped in the car and put on some rock 'n' roll to get ready for the day ahead. Jon got to the office, setup on a hot desk and hurriedly opened his email. A plethora of unread email greeted him but not the one he was after, so Jon decided to follow up his hot prospect. To his surprise Billy, the operations director, replied straight away.  

“Hey Jon, the proposal is still sat the directors. It seems Jim has some concerns on the financial justification for the system. I have a meeting with him today and will update you as soon as.”

Jon could not understand this, Ranger is one of the most respected consultancies in the business and the study made the investment a no brainer! Two days went by and no news, this was not good, Jon a highly confident individual was starting to question himself. On Friday after four days of no news Jon decided to call Billy to find out what was going on.  

Jon: “Hey Billy, not heard from you after your meeting with Jim, I assume all is in order?”

Billy: “Jon – I am afraid not, the study you submitted, while it presents a good case, has very little to do with the problems we are trying to solve. It talks about benefits that have nothing to do with our business!”

Jon: “Billy I don’t understand, this study is from a leader in the industry!”

Billy: “Jon, let me give you an example, one of the benefits (according to the TEI study) is that we will save 25% of our stock from wastage, but we mainly deal in dried foods, so our wastage is not even a problem for us! Basically, the whole process has halted because it seems it has not been properly thought through. I think we need to re-think this Jon, as you know I am a huge supporter, and we need this system.”

Jon: “OK Billy, let me have a chat internally to see what we can do.”

Billy: “OK Jon thanks, I will wait to hear from you”

Jon hung up shocked at the news, things were obviously changing and therefore his approach needed to change too…

Stay tuned for part 2 of Jon and Billy’s story.

What we do

At Shark Finesse we have developed an enterprise-grade cloud application to help businesses standardise and simplify their value engagements across the entire customer journey.

Shark, a business value engagement platform used by 1000’s of customer-facing teams globally (e.g. pre-sales, sales, value teams, and customer success) is easy to use, intuitive and usable directly with the customer to negotiate the likely business returns from investing in a solution.

By adopting the Shark approach you will fundamentally transform conversations with new and existing customers, close more business, and differentiate from the competition.