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Custodians are important.  Imagine how your office would look if no one ever cleaned up, took out the trash, vacuumed, or wiped off tables after an all day board meeting.  It would be disgusting.  Things would get so bad after just one week that you would probably move your office back home.

Influencers in the sales process are like custodians.  In fact, in the CISSP study guide, security administrators are referred to as data custodians.  They manage the data, keep systems up and running, and provide maintenance type activities on the systems that house and process data.  All of this is important.

But let’s not confuse these important custodial responsibilities with strategic decision-making and liability.  While it may be easy and even informative to meet with custodians, it does not lead to big business deals in most cases.  Stop positioning yourself as a peer to custodians, and start thinking of yourself as an adviser to those leading the business.  If you don’t have what it takes to advise, get on a program to change.  Become an adviser.

© 2011, David Stelzl

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Thousands of incompetent sales people have preceded you, calling on executives and wasting their time with company overviews, product data sheets, and silly questions about what is keeping them up at night.  No wonder managers have stopped taking sales calls.

© 2011, David Stelzl