Creating Demand – Why Senior Sales People Won’t do it (updated.)

frustratedIn this economy – we are finding that marketing alone is not enough to secure a healthy pipeline of business. In response, senior sales people are asked to go from reacting to demand to generating it on their own. With this new dynamic, I think the hardest thing for sales management to understand is that their BIG GAME Hunters are unprepared and unwilling to handle this new responsibility.

Without any direction outside of a mandate to gain more evaluations – senior sales people do what they do best. They think their industry knowledge, tenure, and high compensation requires them to craft lengthy and well researched correspondence to targeted executives. (Imagine the laborious process of researching, writing and rewriting the perfectly tailored e-mail and phone script?) The problem with this approach is that when these lengthy, targeted pieces of correspondence go unanswered – senior sales people get frustrated. They begin to take on the mentality that they are closers and setting appointments only prevents them from do what they are paid so handsomely to do. In truth – highly compensated / senior sales people rose to their station because they are very productive and demand creation activity that doesn’t generate demand is just……unproductive.

What we need to understand is that our buyers are very busy and even if we craft the perfect pitch to an individual, it could be the wrong time, the wrong person, or even the wrong median. Demand Creation in today’s hectic and busy world requires a different outlook and process. We need to switch from a hunting approach to a farming mentality.

A successful demand creation process allows senior sales people to use their tenure, experience, and status for demand creation – but instead of spending this time focusing on an individual – they focus on a group of individuals. This process takes the same amount of time as traditional targeted demand creation efforts but is wildly more productive because it generates results.

I wrote this e-book to help create demand for the senior sales people who just won’t do it.

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21 Responses

  1. Scott,

    This is a great article you wrote, either us senior sales people need to adapt, or become extinct.

    Do you have any advice for me as I’m looking for a sales opportunity as an employee or a independent rep? I have many years of successful enterprise software sales experience and I’m seeking advice how to best approach the market.

    If I can help you in any way, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    Jeff
    Minneapolis

    • This message is for Jeff Benson, he had a comment on August 28th at 8:46pm.

      Jeff, are you still looking for a sales opportunity? If you are interested, I need an independent rep to help my company cover the state of Minnesota. We are a professional services and software rep firm plus more. I can talk with you about the opportunity when we speak.

      Thanks, Scott

  2. With all due respect tes essence of this article is totally misplaced and if this person really understood the techniques of selling and how to sell he would never of written this article.
    The reason for stating the obvious is that first sales people are supposed to sell their products and solutions in order to solve a business need for their customer and prospects. If a salesperson does not know how to deliver an “Initial Benefit Statement” to his customer or prospect that can potentially help the business then he is not really ever going to be much of a saleperson. Today company’s try and create prospect and customer lists so their salespeople can walk in the door and start talking at the customer until they buy something. But in today’s economic times the customer just doesn’t want to listen because they are too busy protecting their own job or position within the company.
    The gentleman writing this article needs to go back and do some research on the techniques of selling and I am sure he will write a much better and more relevant article regarding what it takes to be a successful salesperson in these difficult times.

    • Hi Pat –

      Thanks for taking the time to respond to my blog posting. This posting came from years of doing the hard, unproductive, targeted way. I use the above method to generate first calls today with much greater success.

  3. A very interesting articleconfronting a new truth that needs to be looked at before those Senior Sales Persons become outdated and unable to cope with today’s needs.

  4. Scott, senior sales reps are actually the best at delivering a provocative point of view! What executives on the buyers side want from a sales call is one (or more) of these three things: insight into their business they did not know, insight into their competition, insight into industry best practices. Who better to know and deliver that than the long term senior sales rep who knows all three of these.

    • I must this blog but I agree with Marty… far to oftern the problem is that companies do not give their account exec the tools they need to delivery the proper advice… lot’s of product training but little industry knowledge.

  5. […] Creating Demand – Why Senior Salespeople Won’t Do It (Scott Miller) […]

  6. Interesting article, but I believe it is up to marketing to deliver at least 50% of revenue to sales. As one CEO told me, Marketing looks for Mr. Right while Sales looks for Mr. Right Now.

    Sales is ill equipped for lead nuturing, for instance.

    For more, please visit http://www.findnewcustomers.net

  7. I agree with one of the other Comments here… Marketing MUST deliver at least 50% of revenue to sales, and Corporate Sales Management has no clue to that! With all the “Do not call” lists and other new impediments out there, the days of cold calling are gone. Now Marketing must blanket the target farming area so the Salesman can call on those returned marketing request forms; or when selling person-to-person, get those real prospects to a seminar where the Salesman can work with a real prospect. Unfortunately, while there must be a balance between the Business side and Sales, most Corporations are top-heavy with senior Management who have no idea how to sell. The country is worse off for it!

  8. The beauty of sales is that it is complex and constantly evolving. While old school methods in their purest form do not work based on the “noise” the buyers are hearing from sales people hawking wares/services, the most important thing to remember is that people buy from people they trust and respect, regardless of price. I think that we all know that sales professionals are there not only as a SME but as a consultant, service provider and account manager all rolled up into one. For the most part we have had to evolve into a number of roles in order to make the sale. Bottom line, the sales people who take the time to research the Organization and Buyer/Hiring Manager will rise to the top undersanding implicitly where the pain lies and provide that unique value proposition that creates that ultimate win/win for everyone. While it is easy to generalize it goes back to sales 101 – the basics – it’s about the relaionship and the integrity of what you bring to the table. Times have changed and we will be he better for it!

    Cheers,

    Joni Fisher
    Fisher Search Group

  9. Very well written article by Scott..However what I strongly feel that senior sales people backed by experience should be directed to concentrate on the bottom of the sales funnel, to work on closures rather being involved in demand generation..

    But surely there has to be a change in the approach in demand generation, not just hunting but to have farming mentality..

    Cheers,
    Mohammed

  10. […] received a significant amount of response regarding my thoughts on why Senior Sales People won’t create their own Demand.  After all, if they won’t who will and what impact will this have of revenue production? The […]

  11. I completely agree with those who say that marketing is still on the hook for some percentage of qualified leads. During good times and bad, you should have the SLAs worked out between marketing and sales.

    During good times, these senior sales people should still be bringing in a certain percentage of new business opportunities. There are things, such as referral selling, that are more effective in the field.

    In tought times, the best sales reps can become a bit of a pain in the backside when their pipeline dries up and they blame everyone but themselves. I like the idea of turning this into a “selling the appointment” task. If they know what they are selling then many of the reps I know can dial it back from their full-pitch to a pitch about the benefits of an appointment.

    That said, I have used appointment setting and it can be a great technique. It takes funding, but it wasn’t as much as I would have thought.

    Alternatively, you might consider hiring someone who is specifically charged with selling the appointment. This is a more highly skilled professional than you typically find in the telemarketing or inside sales department. But, it also has to be someone who is comfortable selling appointments for someone else. I’d make this role peer level to the field reps and see what kind of business you could develop with a partnership between the two.

    All the best!

    Melissa Paulik

  12. […] Senior Sales People won’t create their own demand. I have found this to be more the case than I originally thought. At my employer, we use a third […]

    • By far the hardest part of the sales process is getting infront of the right prospect. Great salespeople spend a significant portion of every day on demand creation. While marketing needs to support messaging that resonates with the audience, it’s sales people that should be on the front-lines, putting tergets in the market for their services. That’s the difference between a sales guy who approaches you while you are looking at the cars in a lot and field reps who are out there making the connection between a business problem and a way to solve it. I dont go home unless 1 new person a day has been introduced to my company and heard why I believe I could help them. Managing my existing base happens primarily outside the times when I can catch a prospect live.

  13. […] We have different levels of skills and enthusiasm when it comes to creating demand but like most, we have a deep reservation in picking up the phone and calling a stranger.  To overcome this obstacle I banged the war drums for cold calling with both stick and carrot. […]

  14. Amazing how many people have responded to this blog and the 360 degrees of opinion represented here. I guess the bottom line for me is that the blog itself is written for one thing only – to get readers to buy the e-book. Pretty smart.

  15. Great post, Scott. I believe businesses need to focus on the revenue cycle (aka the buying cycle). They need to turn this inexact process into a science.

    1)Attract prospective buyers based on deep personas
    2)Engage those buyers
    3)Nurture those buyers
    4)Watch for hand raise
    5)Share messaging and content – the right content to the right person at the right time.
    6)Document interactions so sales has history.
    7)Hand the lead to Sales ONLY when it is ready.
    8)Empower Sales with the right messaging and content.

    Companies who do this right will prosper. Companies who fail to do all steps will struggle.

    Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor
    President, Find New Customers “Lead Generation Made Simple”
    http://www.findnewcustomers.net

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