Step into the future for a moment. It might be the most fascinating experience you have had as a sales manager or representative.
Your day begins at 7:00 AM in your home office when you log into your assigned tasks for the day. The first thing you notice is the weather and the travel time to your first appointment that afternoon. Your daily agenda is printed out for you along with the completion log that is electronically distributed to your colleagues.
You have no assigned sales manager because you are your own manager. The System, affectionately known as “Lulu”, automatically coaches you on your missed opportunities and the information you need to gather from a variety of contacts relevant to the opportunities awaiting your attention. You are primed and ready to roll by 8:00 AM.
08:00 – Lulu asks you if you are ready to begin your first task for the day. Since you are not ready, Lulu verbally lets you know that this has been noted and asks when you will be ready. You state in 5 minutes. At 8:05 Lulu gives you another prompt and begins to describe the first challenge you must meet today. That challenge is to get into contact with a person who is the buyer at one of your opportunities to learn who is responsible for making a decision on the $5M purchase of the services you have proposed. Lulu asks if you are ready to begin and when you say ‘yes’, Lulu suggests that you read the latest news it has for you about the changes in top management at the company you need to know about before she connects you with Mary Jane, the person with whom you need to speak.
08:20 – You tell Lulu that you have read the information and are informed thatMary Jane will be on Skype in 10 minutes and can join her.
Ten minutes later you say “Good morning, Mary Jane. How are you enjoying the snowstorm that just started five minutes ago?” She tells you that her car will probably be snowed in by the time she leaves work and you tell her not to worry because you know that the storm will end by noon. (The system has automatically updated the weather forecast for you at Mary Jane’s location.)
08:25 – You ask Mary Jane how she feels about the new management team and she says, “Wow… we just were notified about that at 8:00 this morning” and volunteers that she knows two of the new C-level people because she has worked with them previously. You inquire if she would be willing to introduce you to the appropriate people who will be making the decision about whether to adopt your service once the dust settles and she says certainly.
08:27 – You then inquire about how she feels about the enthusiasm for adopting the project as voiced by her boss and the present vice-president to whom you had a Skype call the previous week. She says that they are gung-ho but just awaiting budget approval. You remind her that you will be ready to explain the project to the new C-suite people and ask if that would speed up release of the funds since you are aware (through Lulu) that they just received $20M in private funding to bring in the best technology available. She says, “Boy, I wasn’t aware of that, how did you know?”, and you respond, “we have excellent big data systems here and want our customers to have access to the same data points as we do. We will be glad to provide that as a value added service once the project is funded and approved.”
08:30 – Mary Lou makes a note in her system to explain this to her boss and his boss so that they are aware that your company will be providing more than the competitors.
08:35 – Lulu tells you that this was great G-2 that your provided and tells you your next assignment for the morning. But, she tells you that she will delay connecting you with your next call until 8:50 AM so you can grab your morning snack from the food truck outside your home office. (The company provides this for Top Performing Representatives.)
08:50: Lulu tells you that your next appointment is ready for the online meeting with another client that was scheduled for you today at 10:00 PM and flashes you with the details of the agenda and lists the 3 most salient questions you must have answered in order to determine if you should proceed with this opportunity or put it on the forecast for Q4.
09:30 – Lulu informs you that the project has been scrubbed entirely because they learned that the buyer has been fired and the company will not be proceeding with the project until the next quarter. You are informed that no further input from you is required at this time and that you will be notified when the project again re-emerges. Lulu reminds you that she has updated your sales forecast and moved the opportunity to the next quarter.
At 11:00 the V.P-Sales phones you and tells you that the project that was scrubbed should have come as no surprise to you because you had not been in contact with the prospect since the end of the last quarter according to data in Lulu. He suggests that you pay more attention to the missing questions for which you needed answers (that Lulu reminded you about) and should have discussed with the client at least a month ago. You realize that you might have learned about the buyer sooner and might have been able to offer value added services to keep the project on track while the company searches for a new buyer. Ironically, Lulu could have provided this prospect with a list of 10 candidates that were available and this whole delay might have been averted.
At 11:15 you ask Lulu to ping your inside sales assistant. Since 2016 all top producing outside sales representatives (Savants) have been working with former sales representatives who had great customer service skills but did not have the right personal relationship skills to function any longer as new business development representatives. So, they had been assigned to top producing Savants to alleviate the detail work from them.
You remind your inside sales assistant that you expect him to stay current on the status of your client contacts by making periodic inquiries with Lulu about any pending changes in buyers or other personnel. You explain that advance notice of changes is important and that he needs to be in the loop at all times. Interestingly, your assistant also receives daily feeds of all of your contacts on social media sites and the buyer who lost her job had posted that she was considering a change two months prior to leaving.
At 11:20 Lulu asks you if you still want the marketing department to provide you with the most recent analysis on the marketability of your company’s newest product, code named ‘Jack’. After confirming that you do, Lulu sends you the analysis that indicates there are key features of Jack that are missing that will make it difficult for your customers to accept. You inform Lulu that you want a Skype call with the sales/marketing team involved with ‘Jack’ in the U.S. and in the U.K. as soon as possible and to provide everyone with the analysis. You tell Lulu that you want everyone prepared for a virtual white board brainstorming session based on the data in the analysis.
At 11:30 Lulu informs you that the teams in the U.S. and U.K will be ready for the meeting tomorrow at 7:00 AM EST in the U.S. and at 12:00 PM in the U.K. She assures you that both teams have the analysis and gives you the login code for the virtual white board.
12:00 PM: You inform Lulu that you will be at the gym and at lunch until 1:30 PM and to update your afternoon appointments on the system before you return.
Sounds like Science Fiction? Don’t count on it. The Future of Sales is coming to a company like yours sooner than you think.
Harrison Greene, is the founder of Unique Selling Systems and partners with companies offering cutting edge technology solutions that revolutionize the sales process. He has been intimately involved with all aspects of the selling process as a sales representative, sales manager, and as V.P of Sales. For the last 20 years he has consulted with large and medium sized sales organizations throughout the United States.