Selling has changed in the last 10 years; many sales people haven’t adapted.
The manufacturing company I worked for years ago described itself as a “sales organization”. As I reflect back on that team, they were independent, resourceful, driven, money motivated with a strong work ethic and outstanding product knowledge. They found a demand and they’d go fill it.
We also happened to have a few world class, innovative, industry changing products. Once the word got out, people would want to see them, and once someone saw them, they would often buy.
So were we a sales organization or a product organization? There was certainly ongoing pressure to develop the next “wonder machine”. Maybe we were both…
In this current era of technology, executives focus on building the next great “wonder product”, so the world will build a path to their company’s door. Like Apple, right? Or the proverbial “better mousetrap”?
(The “Little Nipper” mouse trap, patented in 1897, still holds 60% market share, even with over 4400 competing designs of “better mousetraps”.)
As Dave Kurlan notes, in the article below:
“…We are well aware of the fact that our new features and enhancements won’t sell a single additional sales force evaluation or candidate assessment…“Why?…if for (the buyer), it’s only nice to have, our version 2 years from now won’t be any more desirable than today’s version.”
Executives should broaden their focus from just investing in new products, features and enhancements and include investing in better salespeople with more complete development!
Selling used to be heavily dependent on salespeople being subject matter experts, like in my old company. But now, chances are your prospect has checked you and competitors out online, and they know (or think they know) all about you and your product or service, which they believe might be nice to have or perhaps even should have.
We know people buy emotionally, and those motivations can usually be placed in one of three categories:
Nice to have (Our current solution is okay for now).
Should have (It’s probably time to upgrade; maybe next year).
MUST HAVE (We can’t stay here! We have to change!) (That’s emotion!)
Are your salespeople selling differently than they did 10 years ago, or are they still just subject matter experts? Are they strong enough to understand buyer motivations and know how to sell value to help prospects recognize the MUST make a change?
Check out this Dave Kurlan article. It has great insight into how many company executives might be missing an important element in driving profitable revenue.