Acquisition is a matter for the boss!

Jun 2, 2021 | Mindset

“We are looking for partner managers / business development / sales experts” is something I hear and read all the time. In job advertisements, you can see that the future employees will be given other tasks in addition to acquisition, which should make up for the fact that the salary does not correspond to the usual market salary for sales or business development employees or that the task could be perceived as unpleasant – in other words, it is “glossed over” in the job advertisement. The hope that hiring sales staff will solve all acquisition problems and that the founder will no longer have to deal with sales is often disappointed. There are several reasons for this:

  1. Sales or acquisition – whether it’s the acquisition of customers, partners, sponsors, investors or institutional funders – is always a lot of hard work. You have to communicate consistently and reliably, listen, understand, follow up, call, contact and unfortunately also expect a rejection every now and then. This can be inconvenient, more so for some, less so for others, so the temptation to deal with other issues is only human. This is at the expense of time for acquisition for the good cause.
  2. Social enterprises “sell” a story about how they want to make the world a better place. In other words, they are selling a “complex product” that needs to be explained and that is of different value from different perspectives in different moments and situations, depending on the person they are talking to. Often social entrepreneurs intuitively know how to argue differently with one person than with another, but this knowledge must first be transferred to the new employees. In addition, the founders in particular bring a lot of fire and authenticity to the argumentation for their good cause, which leads to them always being involved, especially in strategic projects.
  3. Acquiring business clients and partner organisations (or investors/funders) is one of the most important tasks of a social impact business in order to increase its own impact. Therefore, every founder should at least partially take care of the acquisition of large projects themselves. Even if you are lucky enough to have successful sales people, it is important to understand their work and the acquisition cycle and, above all, to learn every day in order to be able to constantly develop your own solution for clients or partners – this works especially well if you have direct contact with clients and partners, feel the hurdles first-hand and ensure continuous improvement of the process, the criteria and the tools to support the process.

Deshalb ist und bleibt Akquise ist Chef*innensache und kann nicht einfach komplett wegdelegiert werden. Ich gehe sogar noch einen Schritt weiter: Nicht nur im Sinne des New Work, der Holistic & Teal Organisations, sondern auch im ganz klassischen, alten Sinne: Jedes Mitglied eines Social Business sollte Kunden, Partner und Funder akquirieren und wissen, wie man dabei vorgeht! Everyone a Salesmaker!

  1. There is a fourth reason: hiring unsuitable candidates for the role. There are important warning signs for this important position in the organisation. For this I offer one of my “quick help modules“, but here is the most important thing in advance: a good sales team member must above all be able to ask good questions and listen well, must not be afraid to get a „no“ and must be an “opportunity thinker”. For social enterprises it is also very important that the person has internalised the principles of ethical sales.

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Andrea Mörike is a bundle of energy and burns for social innovations. In her IT past she used unethical manipulation tricks in sales and felt very far away from her vision of a more sustainable economy, society and environment. Today, she is part of the sustainability movement and the ethical marketing movement, sharing her experience & expertise through coaching and training. She helps impact companies to increase their income and impact without feeling bad, because sales and acquisition can be done differently: ethically and sustainably!

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“… there is penetration, annoyance, trickery …”

“… there is penetration, annoyance, trickery …”

Christian Deiters in an interview with me that was published on (In German Language Only)

Sales is often unpopular with many social business founders. This is understandable, because unfortunately everything in the prevailing sales paradigm revolves around maximising profit, where the main thing is to penetrate, annoy, trick and manipulate the customer into buying, and people will sometimes go to any lengths to achieve this. Did you know that a widespread sales slogan is “FFF”, which stands for “Find, F..k, Forget”? That says it all, doesn’t it? It’s clear that nobody who works for better cooperation wants to be in sales!

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Your beliefs?

Your beliefs?

Many social enterprises have a hard time with sales and acquisition. Typical beliefs written to me via email or in my online survey (which you are welcome to join) are: I can't sell. Nobody believes me. The good news is that in most cases this is not true. (Almost)...

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