As we inaugurate our 44th President in the United States, one common theme we have heard through out the campaign is “change.”  The voters were ready for a new direction and Barak Obama channeled that energy into the theme of his campaign.   Working with sales people everyday, I too hear the need for change because the old ways just aren’t paying as much as they used to.

GE CEO Jeff Immelt was quoted as saying, “This economic crisis doesn’t represent a cycle. It represents a reset. It’s an emotional, social, economic reset.. People who understand that will prosper, those who don’t will be left behind.”

We as sales people have to understand that the days of simply shepherding a sales process with little or no impact on it are over.

Ask yourself this question; if the prospect called you, the sales engineer did the discovery and the demo, and you handed the proposal to someone other than the signatory – what impact did you have on the deal? I don’t ask this rhetorical question to let our dirty little secret out of the bag – I have made plenty of money winning one man races. I ask this question because I am watching the profession of sales change before my very eyes.

At the complex sale, we teach companies how to create, win, and grow strategic accounts.  Many companies are looking to dis-intermediate the sales person in every aspect of the create, win, grow lifecycle to save money.

Take for example Sales 2.0 demand creation techniques. We are finding that buyers are much more informed about our solution from websites, white papers, blogs, and webinars. Buyers are too busy to listen to a sales person regurgitate a data sheet they could read on-line.  Without a solid value proposition and the skills to link your value proposition to solving strategic pains, buyers won’t even take a first call.

The opposite of demand creation, of course, is demand reaction.  A prospect calling you is a lot better than the opposite – or so one would think. One of the most alarming statistics we have seen at The Complex Sale is that over 50% of forecasted deals result in no sale.  Imagine the opportunity costs associated with losing 50% of forecasted deals and you can see why so many sales organizations are moving into more of an inside model.  Sales people need to be able to qualify out of deals they cannot win early to focus on the ones they can.  As the old poker saying goes – if you are sitting at a table and you don’t know who the mark is – you are the mark.  If you don’t know why they are buying and who is predisposed to your competition, then expect some bad news after you hand over the proposal.

The point is that if we as sales people want to make the same money we are accustomed to, we need to change our ways.  We need to be more selective with the accounts that we work on and positively impact the ones we choose. We need to create more demand than just reacting to it by solving strategic pains at the highest levels.


One Response

  1. Scott,

    Thanks for mentioning that Sales 2.0 tools and techniques are part of how the sales profession is changing.

    Buyers are undoubtedly using the Internet to conduct a great deal of research on their buying decisions. In fact companies’ websites are becoming the front line in lead generation. This is of course another way of highlighting something we have known for a while that it’s critical for sales and marketing to work together.

    The new president has a lot to do to improve things and so do we in the sales profession. It is certainly a time for change (and hope)!


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