Future Of Selling, Glass Half Full Or Half Empty?

By Dave Brock

There seem to be a couple of prevailing schools of thought promoted by self-proclaimed experts on the Future of Selling.

An increasingly dominant one has a very negative view of selling (ironically, promoted by many who sell their products/services to the sales function). While I may be overstating it, their view is the majority of sales people are mediocre to outright bad. It seems to have the premise, “we can’t expect substantive improvement in sales people performance, so let’s focus on the tools and techniques those mediocre salespeople can use to drive revenue.” In this world, the strategy is less on improving the capabilities of these people, but leverage tools, automation, content, and higher levels of specialization to drive or maintain levels of performance.

At a fundamental level, it appears to be driven by an internally oriented, operational efficiency point of view. There is a rich array of metrics that enable these people to monitor each element of the process.

I’m betraying my bias, but the customer seems secondary in this world. The customer is the target of the efforts of this sales organization, but we engage with the customer in a way that is most efficient for us, but may not be efficient for the customer. Most often, as much as the process that can be automated is good. As much as we can drive content and support through the web and other self-educating tools is good.

Largely, it’s a response driven focus, when the customer reaches out, we respond to them, but we have engineered our process to maximize the efficiency of the process, moving the customer from one person to another to another. Automation of as much as possible is critical in driving consistent performance in this world.

In fairness, those promoting this approach say each person involved in the process must be an expert at their stage, they must be knowledgeable of the customer, of their solutions. They must personalize the engagement process–that is to the individual. But even in this, much of the thinking seems to be dumbing things down for the sales people (of course I’m betraying my bias.)

Most of the applications of this approach seem to be focused on simpler to transactional oriented sales processes.

The other camp, one in which I unashamedly position myself, has a different view of the future of sales. This camp tends to look at sales people differently. Perhaps we agree the majority of sales people may be mediocre. We would probably agree there are a large number of “sales people,” who probably should not be in sales.

However, we refuse to believe these sales people can’t be developed and their performance can’t be improved. This camp focuses on raising the bar of performance for sales people. We are equally impatient with the quality of sales execution, yet believe that sales people can and must improve their performance and ability to execute. Our basis for this belief is the example set by outstanding sales professionals.

We see data the performance of these great sales people consistently Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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