The Evolving Face of Sales
Over the past few years, it is no secret that the selling environment in which people operate today has changed dramatically.
As a national channel partner with SHL, a global leader in Sales Talent Management, Salesmasters shares in their belief that some of the key factors driving this change include the speed of innovation, sales effectiveness, new technology, shifts from commoditised selling to value-based selling and dramatically changing markets (globalisation, regulation, and changing buyer demographics, just to name a few).
If one was to dissect and be brutally honest about the functions of a typical salesperson over the last 15 years, the evidence would suggest that their role basically relied on four (4) core activities:
- Make telephone calls
- Write emails
- Set up meetings and/or deliver presentations
- Close business
These four simplistic activities have dominated the sales calendar in an effort to meet targets/KPI’s and by extension, play a role in meeting an organisation’s business objective. What has not been questioned is to what extent this has had an effect on sales productivity.
Only recently have the “old school” sales foundations come under scrutiny. “Selling is Dead,” a breakthrough book by Marc Miller and Jason Sinkovitz, challenges some fundamental principles about sales roles. They argue, “…selling teams and growth-motivated organisations must change to remain competitive.” They premise that sales as a profession is undergoing a period of radical and permanent change that will have a significant impact on organisations’ success or failure.
So what are some of these radical changes and what can be done about it? If you think about it for a moment, sales has always experienced changes. Not so long ago the sales profession was prolific at making door-to-door calls …. Not so long ago we used fax machines … and not so long ago we use photography to create and show slides.
But we evolved. The challenge for numerous selling organisations in Australia is that many were (and still are) very slow to change. This level of change resistance is having a dramatic effect on sales productivity and offering a strong competitive advantage to your competitors.
The single biggest piece of advice that I could give you is to STOP SELLING and start creating value for your customers. If you just look at the Internet and the role it has played in empowering customers with an extraordinary level of immediate information, it has enabled customers to easily compare their suppliers and as a result, salespeople (and businesses) are being replaced because they fail to add value. Moving forward, salespeople will have to engage their customers in far deeper and collaborative ways to design new and innovative solutions that measurably solve business issues.
It is imperative that business relationships today are built on added value and NOT personal contacts. The importance of ethical behaviour in our society has given selling a bad name. As a result, selling is evolving from an ‘art’, based on personal skills to a ‘science’ based on replicable and predictable sales processes. In the ‘new’ selling world, the current competencies displayed by most salespeople will not be enough.
The case for consistently increasing the skills and behaviours of a sales team has never been greater.
Peter McKeon is the Founder and CEO of www.salesmasters.com.au and Vice President of CCIQ https://www.cciq.com.au/about/leadership/board-of-directors/
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