Sales going more and more inside
When folks ask, “What’s changing in sales; how is it different?” the common theme is that it’s going more and more inside. Twenty years ago, you had to talk to a salesperson just to do your buying process. They had information that you needed, and the best reps were very skilled at withholding that information in exchange for the information they wanted from you – who’s the decision-maker? How much budget do you have? What are your needs?
But today, I can be in my slippers on Saturday night, after I put the kids to bed, and I can find the top five vendors in a space. I can find out what they do, how they are different from one another, and how much they cost. I can try many of the products for free, and I can buy many of them right on the site. Why we need sales becomes a huge question, right?
Focus breeds excellence
One of my guiding principles as a sales leader is “focus breeds excellence.” Sales reps, especially new ones, struggle to be fabulous at multiple sales motions. That means when you’re formulating your sales strategy, you need to be explicit about creating the right, differentiated roles on your sales team and ensuring you’re incentivizing and prioritizing the right motions within those roles.
Let’s take inbound sales and outbound sales, for example. Inbound and outbound require vastly different skills and workflows.
The managers on an inbound team need to be obsessed with analyzing top-of-the-funnel trends – the marketing channels bringing in high quality leads – and increasing the conversion rate from lead to opportunity with tactics like live chat.
Managers on an outbound team, on the other hand, need to be able to get sales reps gunning to go out and evangelize the product’s amazing benefits for customers.
The point is they are different teams, different reps, different motions.
We need to do a better job, when we engage with someone, to engage with them in their context. Those of us in sales have to step up our game to add value to that whole ecosystem.
We need to be there as consultants and advisers to our buyers.We need to do a better job, when we engage with someone, to engage with them in their context. Click To Tweet
We need to do a better job understanding their specific goals and the specific challenges they’re trying to solve, and translating the generic marketing on our website to their business.
We need to tell the story from their perspective.
And that’s the skills the best reps now possess.