Sleeping with the Enemy: When Competitors Partner

3 minute read


Sleeping with the enemy–sounds a little mysterious, maybe exciting, dangerous, perhaps edgy? Absolutely! What is business anyway?” Predictable? Boring? Safe? Conservative? I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen a business described like that in quite some time. Times are changing-which would explain the call I recently received from a very good friend of mine. I had to laugh when the first words out of her mouth were, “OMG Wendy, WHY ARE YOU SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY?!” As this humorous, yet honest question rang through my head, I thought there are probably many people, like you thinking the same thing since the news about the newly formed DealMaker Partner Network hit the wire.

Sleeping with the enemy, something new? I hardly think so. As you look across the business community and take note as to what executives are sitting on what board or investing in a competitors companies to create competition or who’s buying who or even who is now partner with who this week-you will find that sleeping with the enemy is a common occurrence.

Perhaps in the sales training space it may be considered a new phenomenon, but why is that? As industry leaders, I would think that our primary interest would be to solve the ever elusive promise of sales effectiveness. To my knowledge, in nearly 14 years of being in this space, I have yet to see a long term sustainable solution to sales effectiveness. AND … There is no one vendor that can provide all the answers.

So, let take a look at the two fundamental issues that need to be solved.

1. The massive human element of change management that is required to sustain sales training behaviors.

2. The breadth of sales procedures, skills and tools necessary to be an effective sales person or team.

Everyone in the sales training space has part of the answer, but no one has the total answer to achieving sales effectiveness. SO, WHO IS THE ENEMY? I would say that the enemy is:

  • Anybody that is not interested in helping clients achieve long term sale effectiveness.
  • Anybody who is comfortable with complacency.
  • Drive by trainers that force clients figure out how to make training work while they move on to the next victim.

So am I sleeping with the enemy? I don’t think so. However, I am fending off the enemy of complacency. I have finally found people in the sales training space that are like me, interested in the success of their clients, taking risks and making a difference. In what has always been labeled a fragmented space-it will require partners who are specialists to unite in a formal way in order to drive change in our industry and deliver on the elusive promise of sales effectiveness.



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