Over the past several years, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in the way we sell. This “Sales 2.0” movement is full of new possibilities, evolution, and opportunity. It’s no wonder, then, that I’m thrilled to be attending the Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston, Massachusetts today. A star-studded cast of sales experts will be sharing their experiences, observations, and insights around what it takes to maximize sales performance in this brave new world.
As excited as I am about the developments and trends we’re witnessing, I have a nagging feeling that we may sometimes forget that selling is still a people business. No amount of marketing automation will fully de-humanize a complex purchasing decision. The most powerful quantitative models and analytics still don’t pinpoint the way a seller’s attitude and behavior are influencing real sales, right now. Our sales managers have real-time dashboards and visibility that were once impossible, but have they gotten better at developing the sales professionals who desperately need investment?
In working to maximize sales results, I’ve always found that it’s best to consider both sides of the compound term “salespeople”:
Sales | People
Consider about how much time and energy we spend thinking about and investing in the left hand side of the ledger. CRM implementations, sales analytics, marketing automation, lead scoring, forecasting tools, workflow management – the list is endless.
And how about the People part on the right hand side? We continue to promote our top sellers into management roles, give them little to no formal management training or tools, and fail to connect the dots between real coaching (not just deal coaching) and a resulting improvement in talent and performance. Sounds pretty Sales 1.0 to me.
Succeeding in a Sales 2.0 world requires a corresponding investment in the “People 2.0” side of our business.
Fortunately, you can turn to some of the same themes that are driving the Sales 2.0 movement to evaluate and prioritize your People 2.0 agenda. Gather your sales leadership team, and answer the following questions:
How clear and measurable is our people development process as compared to our sales process?
What types of software are we using to support and enhance our sales efforts? Our people development efforts?
How are we connecting our sellers to each other in order to tap into global experiences and knowledge?
How are we combining technology with peer coaching and teaming to create a culture of continuous improvement?
How are we using observed sales performance metrics to individually tailor skills development for each of our sellers?
How are we connecting our managers’ coaching efforts to resulting improvements in their sellers’ performance?
How are we harnessing the power of technology to increase the consistency and effectiveness of our sales development efforts?
How are we using technology to create a bridge between training (in-person or online) and lasting changes in a seller’s behavior?
Welcome to the brave new world of selling! New technologies and techniques are happily driving the Sales 2.0 train. At the same time, we have an opportunity to innovate on the People 2.0 side, as well. There’s an equally exciting world of behavioral analytics, sales simulations, technology-supported coaching, social learning platforms, and more, all of which acknowledge that sales performance is people performance.
Those companies that master both halves of the “Sales | People” equation will be the best positioned to reap the benefits, take market share, and soar to new heights in revenue and customer value.
It’s a brave new world. Let’s make the most of it.