OK, thanks to Jill and Jeffrey for standing in for me over the past couple of days, and let’s now get back to the main theme of my posts earlier in the week – do please scroll down if you missed Monday or Tuesday’s posts.
The underlying message in both of those posts was that standards of selling are spiralling downwards alarmingly; the quality of skills being displayed is now worse than I have ever witnessed andÂ companies are investing less and less in their front-line sales teams – and yet are expecting higher levels of achievement.
Have we become over-reliant on technology and sales process? Yes, I think we have. Rather than using all these new tools to compliment what we already had,Â we have forgotten why people actually buy, and we most certainly have forgotten to take into account how our customers and prospects want to buy.
I challenge you to make your way around the sales space today. Read articles; check out adverts; notice what webinars are being promoted. I guarantee that 80% refer to social media activity or “prospect attraction” or lead management etc. Less than 20% offer advice on developing our sales skillsÂ - it is almost as if it has become passÃ© to mention such things.
So here is a wake-up call for all front-line sales professionals and the people who manage them. It really doesn’t matter how efficient your lead tracking system is, or how organized your CRM system has compelled you to become, or how much time you spend (invest) cultivating your Twitter/LinkedIn presence – if you cannot sell, you are going to fail sooner rather than later.
Of course the level of skills required will vary, and be dependent on the role, but we can broadly divide the sales space into four categories: Inside sales, external sales, consultative sales and sales management – each require very different skills, although obviously some areÂ “fundamental” and common to all. For example, I cannot imagine anyone succeeding for very long if they lack communication skills, or the ability to present, or they are hopeless at planning or closing. And if they are unable to qualify or negotiate, they are not going to be particularly profit-focused. Then we must consider business development and account management …
What’s to be done? How are we going to get the people who are clinging desperately to the purse strings toÂ wake up, smell that caffeine orientated aroma, and realize that unless they act soon, they won’t have companies to run.
We face an uphill struggle, because as I have suggested before, investment in human capital is now seen as a cost, not an investmentÂ on the company’s balance sheet, with no obvious return. So it is time for sales professionals everywhere to take matters into their own hands and work to a new mantra: “If it is to be, it is up to me” and we are going to help …
I am gathering together a faculty made up of my friends, who are some of the most successful and significant sales expertsÂ around.Â Like me they want to give something back, because quite simply, we care. We are creating a Top Sales Academy, and over a twelve month period, beginning in April, we are going to deliver the most exciting andÂ comprehensive online sales program ever attempted. And all for a token fee, because we also understand that finances are still tight for most people.
We will be announcing the full curriculum at the end of February, but if you are anxious for some details earlier than that, I have created aÂ brief outline whichÂ I can share with you if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
News: Yesterday was “update” day over at Top Sales World: We announced last week’s Top Sales Article, and also posted this week’s ten nominations. In the Top Sales Management section, you will find lots of new features, and there are also two new interviews for you. There is something new on TSWÂ over there every day.
It has been a very long week, but so many exciting things happening right now – I am glad to be back! The saw is renewed, the battery indicator lights on my brainÂ areÂ bright green again, and I am raring to go. Wherever you are, have a great w/e – JF