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We Can’t Accept Money From Someone Who Isn’t a Customer

September 27, 2013

Think about that title for a second. Someone actually uttered (well, wrote in an email) that phrase.

When – pardon the expression – crap like this is coming from your finance or accounting department to your customer and prospect facing team, you know you have lost your no credit cardsway as a company. You are no longer focused on what makes your customer successful and are now focused on your own processes.

The situation that caused this – and I am going to leave the guilty party unnamed – was someone trying to charge for an educational service.  A prospect, who had not bought a product yet, was willing to pay for education as a “trial” to see if they would like working with the company.  But accounting wouldn't let it happen.

There are 3 really important lessons here.

1)    Your prospects are going to find a way to “Try” you out – whether you have a formal trial program or not.  It's what they want to do in the buying process.  So figure out a way that they can try you, your product, your service out in an orderly, productive, measured manner.

2)    If you do not have a clear “Why” – the why you are in business you are going to have internal strife. Your why is a clear mission as to who you serve and why.  It is a common goal for all to strive for. Without it, you are going to have department and teams that are consistently misaligned and often working at cross-purposes.

3)    You must have your finance, operation and legal teams – from leadership on down – understand and be able to clearly articulate how they support the why of the company and the results you are striving to get for your customer.  These teams have incredibly important internal purposes – Legal – to protect the company, accounting/Finance – to protect your financial health and operations – to make sure stuff gets done.  But these teams don’t create value unto themselves and if they aren't focused on helping to create value for your customer, then the result is that they are taking value away.  (It is a positive or negative – there is no neutral)

Marketing and business development is one of the two core things EVERY company does. (the other is innovation). So says business guru Peter Drucker. Do not ever let your finance, legal or operations team say no to a request like this.  Systems and people are there to support your strategy, not get in the way of it.

If you are struggling to break through the business development success barrier. If your revenue prevention department is winning.  Give us a call. We are happy to be an impartial participant and talk about the hard truths. After all, the worst you can do is fire us – and if we aren’t giving you the unvarnished facts, we would expect you to do just that.

Dan Kraus
Written by Dan Kraus

With more than two decades of experience in sales, marketing, and go-to-market strategies, Dan Kraus has developed a deep portfolio of experiences that he now uses to help small businesses profitably grow their businesses. As an entrepreneur, Dan understands the challenges of growing a business with limited capital and human resources. As a line of business manager in larger companies such as SAP America and Great Plains Software (now part of Microsoft), his experience launching new business ventures inside reputable organizations established his reputation as a creative and effective executive that could both plan and execute within corporate confines.

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