The War Room

AE or finance responsibility?

An account was sold back in Q3 of 2020 by an AE on my team and subsequent services were sold within the account on standard terms. Come to find out in Q2 of 2021 the account was not only not current by all invoices were unpaid. The trick is that the client's business is directly tied to their use of the services so cutting them off would effectively mean cutting off one of the clients main (and largest) revenue streams.Β 

The questions that come to mind (and these aren't the only viable options, but conversation starters) (1) regardless of protocols, who do you think *should* be responsible for the current situation -- i.e., should finance have raised the issue rather than allowing the subsequent deals to be sold and (2) what strategy or messaging would you use with the client regarding a "get your sh** straight" message without coming down threatening anything that none of us want to be in charge of like collections and lawsuits?

Any and all thought are welcome and I can provide more details if it makes a difference.Β 
🧠 Advice
😀 Conflict Resolution
☁️ Software Tech
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
From experience with this type of thing, here are the steps:

1) Ask customer success/account management what they're doing to resolve
2) Ask finance what they're doing to resolve

In each discussion, I would mention that you closed the sale and need to continue to bring in revenue, which you can't do dealing with this.

3. Assuming your AM and Finance team are feckless idiots, sending a message of "they're just gonna cut you off at some point and it's gonna be awful for you" is totally appropriate.
Fire Starter
AE Team Lead
Thanks @CaneWolfΒ , definitely good advice. Step one has been getting everyone talking and trying to find a solution rather than point fingers.Β 
Praised Answer
Director of Sales
Ohhhh. Mmmhmm. Kk. Has happened. I sell, I don’t want to collect also. I like to lay out the payment terms /options as part of the deal/proposal and after I hit send and my order is approved by ownership? Imo finance takes ownership of unpaid late accounts. I’ve been asked to follow up on these types of things but I’d much prefer to have finance do it. Keeps me in the good cop bucket. Worst case I ask my contact whom the best person is at their company that can speak to my accounting department -as there’s a few outstanding items to address.Β 
Enterprise AE
Agreed. Finance needs to handle accounts receivable. If it goes too long without payment, then feel free to bring the sales rep in to see what's going on.

And if the client doesn't pay, send them to a collection agency. I've had enough of clients signing a legal document then not paying. As the seller, if you didn't follow through on services or implementation or something, they would expect a discount, extended terms, etc. Buyers need to understand what it means when they sign something and renege.
Fire Starter
AE Team Lead
I definitely want to stay in the good cop bucket but I also want our team to have a realistic relationship with the client. I think both can be achieved with some work.
Finance should have flagged it.Β 
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