Next time you’re at a sales meeting, look at the salesperson to your left and then to your right … in 5 years one of the two won’t be in sales anymore. Of the approximately 1.9 million salespeople in this country, nearly half will be replaced by alternative channels between buyers and sellers. So predicts Neil Rackham, perhaps the world’s most preeminent sales researcher today.
Who will be gone? Salespeople who don’t personally add substantial value themselves! The evidence is all around us. Online auctions have replaced many high dollar salespeople in major commodities such as folding cartons, office products, paper, etc. More and more hi-tech and high dollar sales functions are being outsourced to specialized “telesales” organizations. There are major organizations and associations supporting sales outsourcing organizations. Many manufacturers depend on a variety of Channels that do not require a direct sales force. According to Sales Partnerships, “Total sales in the global sales outsourcing industry currently exceed $10B (US)/year and are projecting to exceed $100B (US) within the next five years.” The internet itself is sufficient to satisfy the needs of sophisticated customers who are expert on their company’s needs, the specifications of the products they need and are armed with in-depth data on the vendors they are considering … without a single face-to-face contact with the vendor’s sales force. It’s time to move on. The salesperson techniques that evolved over the past century could be referred to as old school or “Sales 1.0“. New technologies, sales analytics and more customer-centered sales strategies have replaced the techniques of Willie Loman, the “Tin Men” and the other aggressive sales types that have stained the public’s image of sales since the industrial revolution.
New Tools for a “Science of Sales”
New entrepreneurs have developed a cornucopia of hi-tech sales tools that can drive Sales Analytics to better manage the sales process and help in every stage of a managed sales funnel. Salesforce.com has grown to over a billion dollars in revenue. The major consulting firms including top rated McKinsey and Bain and Company, have developed substantial practices in sales performance effectiveness.
New case studies are being published to demonstrate the value we should expect to see.
Where’s the Beef (Sales 2.0)?
The results haven’t exactly lived up to the expectation. The “C” suite still doesn’t put much stock in a sales projection, not to mention inviting sales to a seat at the strategic table. The hesitancy seems justified. CSO Insights survey reveals that some 1,800 sales forces report that over 41% of all reps didn’t achieve their quotas. As a result their company’s overall achievement fell short of their plan by more than 16% … and that was a drop from the previous year. With all these new electronic and internet tools, what’s missing? Why are so many salespeople still struggling?
The challenge we must overcome is a need to focus on the most important element of all: the talent, skills and competence of the salesPERSON.
If you play golf, are passionate, committed, hardworking and play a lot… Sadly, you’ll likely never be Tiger Woods or even an average club professional. You don’t have the talent or training needed today and you don’t have the experience and knowledge, even if you had the talent. Today’s sales force needs to move beyond “solution selling” and good management tools to the standards of a profession. Beyond “Closing” to becoming a trusted advisor! In other words, beyond amateur status to Professional.. Enters Sales 3.0.
Professional status in any field, Medicine, Law, Engineering, all have 3 basic requirements:
First: a minimal or base level of competence and knowledge common to all types of roles in the field. In sales, for example, this requires a high level of comfort speaking the language of customers. In business-to-business sales is a financial language P&Ls and Balance Sheets.
Second: some type of certification to substantiate that those base requirements have been met…and
Third: recognition that in a profession, advanced individuals must move beyond the general requirements to specialized skills. We wouldn’t ask a pediatrician to perform heart surgery, or a chemical engineer to design a bridge.
Professions also have and continue to grow an established body of research. It is the underlying science and the disciplines that science develops and documents that separates the amateur from the professional.
That person on your right ‑ does he have the “professional stuff” or will he be outta here?
What to know more about how Chally can provide tools such as predictive assessments and talent audit to help move your sales force to Sales 3.0 – Professional or World Class status? Download our Sales Transformation Roadmap white paper. http://chally.com/executive-briefings/