The Great Disconnect

There has been a huge disconnect between sales and marketing for years.  Thankfully that is starting to change.  More companies are now focusing on the SMarketing department… the combination of sales and marketing working together.   As a result, companies are now experiencing marketing that is also based on the sales department’s feed back enabling them to provide sales with smart, warm leads.

However, there is another Great Disconnect that needs to be addressed if sales organizations are going to excel.  This great disconnect is in that many senior managers don’t really understand what their sales people need do to generate sales in 2016. The C-Suite seems more focused on the results than on the process their sales teams employ.

Here are five common myths that many senior sales executives make about their sales organization:

Our Sales People Have Received Good Training

The reality is that most sales people are being trained to sell using methods and processes developed in the late 1990’s that are ineffective today.  Sales people today need to transition from selling to co-creating.

 They Accept that 80% of the Sales Force Brings in 20% of the Revenue

They fail to realize that this is unsustainable and that most of the 80% need to find other jobs.  Those of the 80% who have exceptional skills in areas such as customer service, setting appointments, maintaining a CRM system, sales administration,  etc. should be retained to support the top producers—the 20%.  This will free up the top producers to focus more on new business development, collaborating and co-creating with customers, while enabling them to become trusted advisors to their customers.

 They Seldom Have a Chief Sales Officer (CSO) Who Rose to the Top of the Company From Sales

 Most companies who don’t have a CSO rely on a Chief Marketing Officer who has an MBA and no real sales experience and to whom senior sales managers report.

Yet most C-Level executives are the first to proclaim that their business is dependent on sales but don’t give it a representation in the C-Suite.  Sales should have a seat in the C-Suite.

They Fail to Recognized That Both B-B and B-C Sales Have Become More Transactional and That the Role of the Sales Person is Being Marginalized Because of the Transparency of the Internet

 Buyers value sales people who are there for them when they are ready to buy, when they need to collaborate, and when new products are being developed.  They need a Buyer’s Agent to fill that role and Top Producing Sales People need to learn how to be viewed as that Agent.

 They Continue to Cling to the Old Adage, “Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak”.

Today’s sales people need to be experts in understanding the business challenges of their prospect’s and must be prepared to help them solve those challenges.   In essence today’s sales person needs to be part of the complete buying  process with their customers in order to help their customers find the best solution

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Harrison Greene is the founder of Unique Selling Systems and works with senior management to develop the Sales People of the Future.

©Unique Selling Systems 2016 — UniqueSellingSystems.com

 

 

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Are You Relevant?

Change.  That’s the operative word and it is pervasive.  Change has become the norm, not the exception.  Change is the new normal.

We are confronted with change daily.  All segments of society are affected.  Change is no longer exclusively a business phenomenon.  It has become a societal phenomena, and it is happening at the speed of light.

Change is no longer dependent on attitude.  Listen to how we used to be instructed to deal with change:

Leo Tolstoy wrote, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”.

Viktor E. Frankl wrote, “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves”.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Things do not change; we change”.

These great philosophers saw the power of individualistic change.  They inspired millions to take a good hard look at themselves.  They wrote what humanity needed to hear in order to cope with the change that has always existed.

Today there is a type of change that did not exist until about 50 years ago.  That change is Technological Change.  It does not depend on attitudinal acceptance.  It forces individualistic acceptance or rejection that is not dependent on our attitude.  Rejection of the power of technology is not an option; it is a requirement for survival in this century.   Acceptance trumps attitude.  Accept it or become irrelevant.

One segment of business that typifies the power of technological change is the profession of sales.  Most sales organizations know that change has begun.  Most sales representatives see it invading their domains.  CRM (Contact Relationship Management) software is now adopted by most companies as a required business process.  Salesforce.com, the leader in CRM systems, has become one of the largest and most admired companies in the world.

CRM’s were originally developed to help sales people by enabling them to list all of a customer’s information (address, phone, email, etc.) for each company and the contacts within that company.  And, it enabled the representative to enter notes and other valuable information.  It was the solution to transparency within the organization; anyone with access to the CRM could see what sales people knew about their customers.  Soon, the CRM became linked to customer service, marketing, finance and other departments, enabling them to be in the loop..

Interestingly, CSO Insights Sales Performance Optimization Study which surveyed more than 1,000 firms worldwide found that only 12.6 percent of the firms that are leveraging core CRM solutions reported seeing major increases in revenues per rep as a result of that investment alone.  More is needed.

Big data, algorithms, and analytics have given companies the power to understand their clients, their competition, and their sales people in ways never imagined previously.  They can spot trends, instantly adopt change, and measure results that informs the way they sell.  Sales that used to be developed by sales people are now developed by technology.  Transactional selling systems are now used by both B-C and B-B sales organizations

Companies that understand the value of CRM’s linked to other technological changes are not waiting for sales representatives to adopt them.  These changes are enabling sales without sales representatives’ acceptance or involvement. In the immediate future we will see top performing, highly trained, sales representatives involved in only very strategic selling environments that require buying decisions from many different constituencies within the company and that are driven by long selling cycles.   These sales representatives will be the “savants” (top producers who are highly skilled, superbly trained, technology competent, and who know how to build relationships, understand the buying processes of the companies with whom they work and who are seen as value creators by their clients).  These representatives will develop the new business and others will be transitioned to customer service reps for the delivery of products and services.  These representatives will ‘serve the savants’.

Technology is enabling this to happen now. If you have any doubt about that, look at Amazon and Alibaba.  Their technology has empowered buyers to buy.  The technology enabled buyers to get what they want, when they want it with the assistance of a new type of sales person called technology.

Both business to consumer and business to business companies are adopting systems like this and their success is not attitudinal.  It is technologically and ROI oriented.

A long standing model has been that 80% of a company’s revenue comes from 20% of their clients.  And for many companies 80% of their revenue is produced by 20% of their sales representatives.

No longer.  Companies don’t need and can’t afford the 80% of reps.

They have found the new representative named Mr. or Ms. Technology.  Technology will enable them to eliminate 80% of the sales team and morph the good ones from the 80% into customer service and inside sales assistants.  They will enable savants to produce more.

Look at the numbers.  To illustrate them, consider a company that does $100 million in sales revenue annually.

  • Assume that there are 20 sales reps.

 

  • 20% of them or 4 reps will develop an average annual revenue of  $20M each
  1. Each top rep. is paid $175,000 yearly
  2. Each top rep. costs the company .00875 of revenue

 

  • 80% of them or 16 reps. will each develop an average annual revenue of $1.25M each
  1. Each average rep is paid $80,000 each
  2. Each average reps costs the company .064 of revenue

What company today can afford to pay 80% of its sales staff $80,000 each for a return of only $1.25 M each?

What company can pay out $1,280,000 for 16 reps to generate $20,000,000 in sales when they can pay 20% of its sales staff $700,000 to generate $80,000,000 in sales?

Instead, progressive companies today are applying that $1.28M salary paid to 16 average reps towards marketing, big data, analytics, and more effective web-sites, blogs, inbound lead generation, and automated systems to fulfill business generated by those enhancements.

They are staffing more highly trained customer service/inside sales reps to serve the needs of Top Producing Sales Reps (the Savants).

Progressive companies are  increasing their search for more Savants who can be supplied with more warm leads, better customer service, and sales support.  This increased support will enable a heightened sales volume offsetting the necessity of paying for average producing sales reps.

Skills assessments like Assessments24/7 are being used to determine where the average sales representatives might fit into to this new model.  Some will be qualified to be terrific customer service representatives, some will be used to set appointments from warm leads for the Top Producers, others who are suited for transactional selling will fulfill orders, and some will be assistants for the Top Producers charged with keeping these Savants doing what they do best—developing new business.

The handwriting is not on the wall: it is creatively impacting sales teams today.

Are you and your company prepared to be part of this massive change to the structure of sales teams?

If you are not, you have some real decisions to make about your career path.

If your company is not, it might be on the verge of becoming irrelevant.

If you are prepared, keep learning, keep enhancing your knowledge, and decide exactly where you best fit in.  Are you a savant or do you prefer helping top producing savants become more effective?  Perhaps you love to service the customers the top producers develop.  Or, maybe your niche is transactional selling using the new tools for fulfilling buying requests.

A successful company will be built on adopting technology and utilizing sales people in these new roles.  Their survival depends on it.

A successful sales career will be built on understanding where you will utilize your skills tomorrow.  Get ready.  Stay relevant by understanding what you are really good at doing.  Then, Just Do It.
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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.

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Have Sales People Been Branded?

The reputation of sales people is not the most comforting reason to choose a career in sales.  Who would want others to think that they are…

Dishonest, Manipulative, Truth-Stretchers, Nosey,

Arrogant, Lousy Listeners, Egotistical, Liars,

Always Trying to Close

Yet, these terms are often used to described to describe sales people.  This has been true since the first peddlers brought goods to rural families in the early 1800’s.

Yes, sales people have been branded.  And a brand is hard to escape especially when many sales people continue to exhibit these traits.

Sales people who do not escape this brand will not be successful in The Future of Sales.  It is becoming easier for buyers to just do without a sales person.  Buyers will simply know the truth because transparency on the Internet is becoming more and more ubiquitous.  Buyers will buy when they are ready to buy.

Professional representatives who provide goods and services to others will be thought of as ‘buyer-agents’, or valued consultants to buyers. These buyers will view these consultants as trusted advisors.  They know that the consultant will provide valuable services that will help them find the best solution for their needs, even if the solution is to purchase from a competitor of the consultant.

Buyers will increasingly rely on the role of the trusted advisor to guide them.  In fact, these valued consultants will inevitably charge a separate consulting fee and buyers will be happy to pay it.

Sound far-fetched?  Read what is already happening throughout Europe in From Selling to Co-Creating by Regis Lemmens, Bill Donaldson, and Javier Marcos.

Keep referring to this web-site for more information about The Future of Sales.

Harrison Greene is the owner of Unique Selling Systems and specializes in helping companies prepare for The Future of Sales.

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