Bootcamp for Software Reps

By Cindy Waxer

Faced with shrinking profit margins and burgeoning competition, many salespeople have enlisted in “The Software Sales Rep Bootcamp” to learn how to convert raw prospects into paying customers.

A joint venture between Mike Bosworth, author of Solution Selling: Creating Buyers in Difficult Selling Markets (McGraw-Hill Trade, 1994), and trade publication Software Success, the Bootcamp is a one-day sales workshop developed specifically for sales reps of business software companies. The program teaches reps the most effective techniques for prospecting, negotiating, closing and managing sales cycles.

The program has proven its value to the more than 10,000 people who have attended the seminar. Carol Crowell, publisher of UCG Technology Division, which publishes Software Success, shares some of the valuable lessons the Bootcamp imparts to attendees.

Negotiate hi-tech sales without caving in on price.
According to Crowell, sales reps often are all too eager to lower the price of a product in the quest for a contract. Rather than allowing oneself to be low-balled, she says, the workshop teaches attendees to shift the focus from cost to how a particular solution can save a prospect dollars in the long run.

Crowell says, “If you have a sales solution that really does meet a prospect’s goals then price is almost never an issue.”

Defy preconceptions.
One of the greatest obstacles facing sales professionals today is the very notion of what it means to be in sales.

“Buyers assume that the negative stereotypes about salespeople are true: They’re aggressive, insincere, pushy, manipulative, prone to exaggeration, poor listeners. They want to do what’s best for them. Sales professionals need to focus on changing those negative stereotypes before they ever walk in the door or get on the phone,” says Crowell.

To accomplish this, the workshop advises sales reps to be honest about a product’s shortcomings and to always confront clients’ concerns head-on.

Do your homework.
The Bootcamp teaches sales professionals that the first step in landing a new account is determining a prospect’s objectives and goals. The next step is to ascertain whether or not your products are appropriate for a particular client. If they are, then it’s necessary to customize your pitch to suit the needs of each and every individual in the company with buying power.

Crowell warns: “Every sales rep, especially when it comes to the end of a quarter, sees each prospect as an excellent prospect – and that can sometimes result in a big waste of time.”