What is “sales eats first”?

By: Gary Tubridy Sales Leadership

In tough times when budgets are tight, who gets first crack at limited resources?  Here is a sales leadership message worth considering; “In tough times you put the customer first.  In tough times, sales is the last place to cut and the first place to invest.”  This is not a self serving message for sales executives.  It reflects the importance of the sales function to your company’s bottom line in a weak economy.

Sales people are the face of your company to customers.  Skilled, motivated sellers deliver the kind of service that customers expect and need when times are tough.  Think about it from the standpoint of what the typical seller provides.  Articulates customer needs.  Works with customers to determine how their products and services can help.  Crafts, delivers and negotiates proposals and pricing.  Manages order processing.  Assists in implementation and customer training.  Deals with post implementation issues.  And all the while maintains and builds relationships with current and new buying influences.  If you cut back on sales resources…headcount, training, systems, support…which of the above job responsibilities will you ask sellers to scrimp on or forgo?  You are not allowed to say “none of them”; if you cut back resource something has got to give.

So the message is simple.  In tough times, when customers are hurting, use your sales force to help them solve their problems.  In tough times, hold your customers close and your sales force closer.  When the going gets tough, “sales eats first.”

Learn more about AGI’s Sales Coverage model and Gary’s Sales Eats First book.

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Gary Tubridy

Gary Tubridy is a senior vice president of the Alexander Group and the general manager in charge of the firm’s management consulting business. Gary’s consulting work is focused on increasing marketing and sales effectiveness with particular emphasis in technology and medical products industries. Gary has deep expertise in diagnosing sales management issues and helping clients execute action plans to improve results. His research is focused on best practices of leading sales organizations in North America with particular emphasis on sales force transformation and the role of sales leadership. He leads the Alexander Group executive events series and hosts the Operations and Executive Forums. He is one of three founding stockholders of the Alexander Group.


Gary has been with the Alexander Group for over 35 years. Prior to that, Gary was in sales with the IBM Corporation. Gary holds a B.A. from Brown University and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University.


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