After talking with numerous customers attending the IAITAM conference in San Diego back in April and the SAM Summit in Chicago this week, I have heard too many stories of software sales teams not partnering with their customers and working only in their best interest. This got me thinking that life is too short to live with a bad software sales team, and I recommend finding a way to work together or press the publisher to have a new team assigned that will partner with you. This assumes you are trying to partner, and not trying to drive a one way relationship. Having sold at Microsoft from 2005 – 2012, I dealt with many customers, and some were clearly not interested in partnering.
I would start by letting your sales team know what is expected of them and explain why these expectations are important to your business. Setup quarterly business reviews and outline in advance the agenda and expectations of the meeting. Let them know in advance of any concerns you have so they can fairly prepare.
If you have a sales team that will not work in a collaborative fashion, then I strongly recommend sitting down with them to discuss your concerns. If this fails to yield positive results, then I would next escalate the issue to their management. If this fails to correct the problem, then the next step is to ask for a new sales team. This is a serious step, and should only be your last resort.
Make sure to leverage all customer satisfaction surveys to communicate unsettled concerns regarding your sales team, especially the survey sent to the CIO. Most publishers take these very seriously. On the flip side if you have a great sales team then make sure they receive the highest marks on those surveys, this will go a long way to driving a positive relationship.