Sales is about change–if we are successful with our customers, we get them to change, buying our products and services. But if sales is about change, why are so many sales people resistant to changing how they sell.
In too many conversations, I see people and organizations stuck doing things the same way they have always done them. Without a doubt, people are working harder and much longer hours, but doing the same old things longer and faster won’t change the circumstance. In truth, the tried and true approaches we used in the past don’t work. It’s not the economy that’s creating this, so waiting it out won’t work. The world of professional selling has changed profoundly. The way our customers buy and the ways we engage our customers has changed profoundly. Customers have different and higher expectations than ever before. Customers are expecting and demanding their suppliers work with them in different ways.
Top sales professionals have a great opportunity. Rather than being dragged kicking and screaming into the new world of buying, top sales professionals have the opportunity to offer real leadership. It starts with a commitment to upsetting the status quo—in what each sales professional does individually and in the way our sales organizations work with customers. We must challenge everything we have done in the past–much is still appropriate, but needs to be adapted to our new world. Much needs to change, leveraging new technologies, addressing new opportunities that enable us to better engage customers, increasing our effectiveness and productivity. We need to re-engineer our organizations, our processes, our workflow. We need to think critically about how we create value for our customers.
But this is not sales job alone. We need to engage our organizations in challenging the status quo. Marketing needs to closely align with sales in looking at new ways of acquiring customers, nurturing them and engaging them in discussions about their businesses. Product development needs to engage the customers in different ways, making them part of the definition of products and services that create real value for the customer. Customer service will be different, as well. The entire organization needs to look at new relationships with customers, possibly deeper, richer, and with more parts of both the customers’ and our organizations.
I’ve often thought of sales as the leaders within their companies. Sales has the opportunity to provide real leadership, with their customers and organizations. Are youcommitted to upsetting the status quo?
Dave Cooke says
Great coincidence that we posted on very similar subject matters today. As they say about great minds… “the tried and true approaches we used in the past don’t work….The way our customers buy and the ways we engage our customers has changed profoundly.” Couldn’t agree more. http://www.salescooke.com/2010/06/03/three-words-removed-from-my-vocabulary/
David Brock says
Dave, thanks for the comment and the link to your post. It is an outstanding complement to this article!
About the great minds thing…… We may be setting ourselves up to our audiences for a lot of slings and arrows 😉
Matthew Dent says
Great post David! I think you touched on a very important topic and the lack of leadership in the workplace creates complacency. It is simply easier to follow and that is why we have few leaders in the workplace. Leadership and relationship are vital to any ones success. How do you change the sales culture from one of complacency to one that is committed to upsetting the status quo?
David Brock says
Thanks for the comment Matthew. You hit on really critical issues. Complacency has no place for sales professionals looking to be top performers. On an individual basis, there is plenty that people can do to maximize their own performance, setting examples for their peers and organizations. Clearly, sales managers that are committed to upsetting the status quo can accelerate the development and impact of their organizations.
Thanks so much for the comments!
scott carpenter says
Excellent point of view!
One change that I recommend sales leaders make that is to embrace the WEB 2.0 world. This will help them bring more value, faster to their client.
David Brock says
Great suggestion Scott! Our customers are leveraging these tools–in fact this is one of the profound changes in how they buy. Sales professionals should be leveraging them as well. You may want to look at a post I did a couple of weeks ago on how sales people should use social media.
Thanks for the comment, keep visiting and commenting, you add a lot to the discussion. Regards, Dave