We find ourselves in an ultra competitive global marketplace where everyone seems to have the same mousetrap. I want to make the case that 2013 will be the year where innovative sales teams will become the main competitive differentiation.
HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE?
- Today Sales Organizations have far too many layers. It is as if we are still working in a 19th century factory. I see Sales Organizations that flatten their org structure, reduce overhead/costs and speed-up communication to be more competitive!
- Compensation structures are outdated – we are compensating individuals exclusively with money in what appears to be a pyramid scheme – at a time where intrinsic compensation is the name of the game and sales teams are the key to achieving success.
- Tools, we are using and promoting the use of decade old sales tools like e-mail/powerpoint when we appear to only read a subject line or look at a picture – I see a wide range of new tools – unknown to most sales professionals – that drive engagement up If you are able to engage viewers into your story you are more likely to succeed.
- Sales pro’s lack basic sales skills, many are not providing proper visit reports, they are sending out empty meeting invites, unable to create a pitch, draw a critical timeline, and/or create an account plan. We need to train/coach sales professionals like pro-athletes and allot dedicated education time on their schedules the same way the medical world does.
- Sales Content – we continue to provide sales with outdated content, and yet we use terms like death-by PowerPoint. We completely misunderstand the use of video. The most common use of video among organizations is the 45 minute training webinar on product speeds & feeds. Instead I see a competitive sales force that uses thought provoking, short & to the point, engaging content created by ‘artists’. These materials are hosted online and provide valuable viewer stats/asset that encourage investments in what clients value most.
- We continue to invest in a ‘cold’ lead-gen process even though success rates continue to drop (<2%). For many of us they are the first e-mails we delete from our overloaded inbox. Competitive sales teams instead will focus on a ‘need identification process and use of existing clients to generate ‘new leads’.
- Corporations continue to value & employ high paid ‘experienced’ executives. Clients revolt against these ‘suits’. Competitive sales teams will employ authentic, sincere people who can converse and brain storm around thought provoking ideas using not much more than a white board.
- As for hiring, most corporations lack a hiring process for sales people. They hire on gut feel, word of mouth & experience within the industry. Competitive sales organizations will bring in ‘new people’ as they notice how much faster they pick-up the new ‘technology’ vs ‘experienced sales people’ who seem to be unable to pick-up ‘new skills/tools’.
- Many corporations use sales methodologies focused on bringing in revenue by date x/y. What value does that have at a time where most companies are unable to predict 30 days out. Successful sales teams will use sales metrics such as client acquisition cost to apply resources effectively.
- We tell our sales teams to focus on ‘hitting quota’. This is applying a car sales attitude to a business build on relationships. Successful organizations will focus their sales teams on building trust with clients by helping them solve problems.
Let’s take inventory today, December 27, 2012 – at a time where sales continues to be one of the lesser respected jobs (together with lawyers and politicians I guess). Most people scuff at our trade, they consider us liars, not to be trusted since they think we are motivated by money.
This is in stark contract of what most B2B sales teams actually do. Every day they answer phone calls of clients and help them address issues with purchased service/equipment, they cut through corporate BS, come-up with new ideas on how to make the client successful, and escalate to the CEO when needed. They are actually motivated by ‘getting things done’.
The way I see it in 2013 companies who modernize their sales efforts and turn sales into a competitive differentiation are those most likely to succeed.
GOAL FOR 2013
So let’s start on January 1st to innovate our sales teams, provide them with the latest tools, make them the best trained team, empower them with engaging and thought provoking sales materials, execute against a modern sales method, and streamline the organization. Learn more? Join the conversation at www.salesopshop.com
In 2013 let’s make B2B sales the coolest and most respected profession.