CoE's might need sales people too

Yesterday I read this article by Jill Konrath on 7 Sales Mistakes Guaranteed to Make Your New Service Fail. It reminded me on when I was working to build out a centralized testing group in a large organization. In many ways, I was the business developer for my team within the organization. We may have been a Center of Excellence (CoE), but we weren't really required to be used. We had to earn our business.

The tips in the article that resonated with me the most were:

Setting up meetings to update customers about the new product or service can lead to trouble. Arranging the meeting isn't the mistake—just its premise. If sales reps tell customers they're bringing information about the new product or service, that's exactly what customers expect the meeting to be about. Sellers then find it exceedingly difficult to switch into a questioning mode—an essential step for determining valid business and financial reasons for changing. Instead they're expected to talk, talk, talk—and boy, do they ever!


If salespeople don't have a clearly defined next step implanted in their brains prior to the call, they are doomed. Just sharing exciting new product information gets sellers nowhere. Unless they have a clearly defined objective before the call and are ready to offer logical next steps, they'll be left sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring.

We "sold" automation and performance testing "products" to project teams. Getting teams to use us, and getting them to pay for enhancements to the products we provided, was in every way a sales call. Good advice - read the entire article.