I read an interesting article in this month’s Marketing Management. It was about a study recently published by Rodrigo Guesalaga of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School that looked at the involvement of top level management in closing sales deals.
For small companies, often the top level management is the sales manager and the finance manager and the chief coffee maker. Multiple hats are worn but I know many of my clients have separate sales people so I think there is some relevance for us.
The bottom line is the research shows that when top level management is involved in the initial phase of a sale, there is higher likelihood of success. On the other hand, when they are involved in the details of the sale, such as pricing or terms negotiation then the odds of success are lower.
The article surmises that at the detail level top level managers bring little added value and often are uninformed about the specifics of the customer’s needs, hence can cause more problems than they solve during tactical negotiations.