A Good CMS Salesperson will….

Being a CMS vendor salesperson can be a tough gig.  Content management extends far beyond just selling software (or a hosted service) and the sales process can become long and complex.  The sales representative needs to meet with multiple stakeholders, discuss business and marketing requirements and deal with outside partners carrying their own agendas.

Add in a monthly quota and a pressure-driven sales organization and it can get messy for prospects and vendors alike.

So, what makes a good CMS salesperson?  We’ve compiled our wish list of qualities that vendors should strive for and prospects should expect.

A Good CMS Salesperson Will….

  • Understand that the software (or service) they are selling only addresses a fraction of the content management problem for  prospects
  • Spend the first half of the meeting simply listening to the prospect’s business requirements and ask informed questions that go beyond licensing requirements
  • Properly set expectations on what a full implementation entails including strategy, design, development, content migration and deployment
  • Be genuinely interested in seeing the prospect succeed with CMS
  • Prepare a customized demo that addresses specific prospect needs
  • Meet with top partners and professional service groups to understand all aspects of the development process
  • Apply appropriate timeline-driven pressure and incentives to close the deal but not force the prospect into a rushed last-minute, month-ending purchase
  • Know the competitors’ solutions as well as their own
  • Offer valid points of competitive differentiation rather than blanket statements to sew fear and uncertainty
  • Stop frequently during the demo to answer questions and check in with the prospect
  • Introduce a solution partner early in the discussion if the prospect needs additional guidance and outside help
  • Proactively connect prospects with customers that have tackled similar challenges
  • Know what their CMS does not do well
  • Check back with customers after the sale and implementation
  • Be willing to recognize when their CMS is not a good fit and have the strength to walk away from the deal

That’s a tall order, but the best CMS salespeople we’ve met have some or all of these qualities. What do you look for from a vendor representative?

About the Author
Jeff Cram

Jeff Cram is Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder of Connective DX (formerly ISITE Design), a digital agency based in Portland, OR and Boston, MA. As the Managing Editor of the CMS Myth, Jeff is passionate about all topics related to content management, digital strategy and experience design.

More articles from Jeff Cram


2 responses… read them below or add one.

  1. Tom says:

    Great points. I’ve worked closely with CMS salespeople for 8 years+ (at my employer, Interwoven) and the most successful account executives have all the qualities you’ve listed.

    You can tell a lot about a CMS salesperson by simply asking how long they’ve been at the company.  If they’ve been there for a few years or more, chances are they have a happy customer install base.  High sales turnover is often caused by unhappy customers, since the bread+butter of any CMS salesperson is selling into their customer install base.  Great sales people don’t want to work at companies with unhappy customers.

  2. Jake DiMare Jake DiMare says:

    Pretty comprehensive list on what it takes to be a good CMS salesperson from the worst CMS salesperson in the world.

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