Another Wrap/SKO style vibe. Yet also from the heart.
If you can make such a list, then you are confident about who your ideal prospect is. Meaning you are not chasing all and sundry, grateful for any ol' possible random who crashes onto your radar masquerading as a buyer.
For me, I've a general interest in Sales as an Enterprise pursuit, sure. Strongest right now, is the drive to propel those that 'get it' towards ever more distinctive video sales calls. Not all who should be are yet aware.
Here's an overall top ten horrors. Though not normally one to dwell on the negative, today's date seems to favour along the lines of 'things wanting to not see in the new year'. What's yours?
Or as I sometimes label this, 'de-selling'. Most surely accept that the kind of boiler room culture depicted by Wolf of Wall Street type movies should be consigned to the past. Yet we do remain in the results business. So then, how on earth can some companies still reward sales people for not doing their numbers? Effort, no matter how worthy, that does not produce Margin cannot be allowed to provide on-target commission payouts. I would argue that process is the only lodestar. And yours alone. That integral pattern of events that when in train overwhelmingly lead to winning a happy client. Goals and outcomes are not the driving force that underpin your success, but the product of what system or true process gets you there, in a repeatable, sustainable, profitable manner.
Face-to-face, in-person, ɪʀʟ meetings remain the preference. Yet I struggle with those who pursue them At All Costs. They miss a serious trick. I often hear pushback such as 'we visit all our customers, so...'. Rubbish. So you never make a phone call to them, eh? Never send/reply along a lengthy email thread, huh? We have long had a staple of contact options. The latest addition being the video call. If you don't know for which element of your Sales process each choice is best suited, then you do not have a fully functioning, competitor-beating, quota-busting Sales process.
'Send me your LinkedIn'. What? Admittedly I don't consider myself part of the mass market. But still, For anything far removed from commodity, I have not encountered a client with claim to come from such source. The only people who like it are those for whom appearance on it keeps them lazy. Although not pursuing the method myself, I was always enthralled by those who'd developed that most old-fashioned of contact through a cultivated mailing list. If only there was a Marketing dept...
Maybe it's because I've not really ever had a nine-to-five. From getting in a bit early to avoid commuting hell, with added bonus of quiet office floor. Travelling darkened hours to be on-site at nine, then returning into twilight. Running your own show to meeting across time zones. Yet the seeming trend of not doing anything outside of what's now considered toxic twentieth century ethics astounds me. Certainly, everyone deserves some form of work/life balance. With latitude over when tasks are completed. (aside; Hello, hybrid.) Yet to wantonly allow either someone's sluggishness or absence of shared purpose to choke output feels a crime. It needn't becoming a consuming recurrent ogre, but every once in a while, you need to keep on track with that hour or two, out of hours. Otherwise, give up your seat for someone else.
As I suspect you also saw explode out of meetings, instant transcription of what was said in the slot just gone arrived via a variety of ᴀɪ-style tools. Yes, the tech may 'learn', and quickly too, but the output shoved my way this year was universally nonsense. Even, especially, when parsed. And no matter what 'fine tuning' arrives, I am compelled to say such approach does not lead to 'better' selling. Indeed, I cannot be alone in stipulating when on another's platform - or in the rare case you actually get asked for permission - that no recording is permitted. My wits are my ɪᴘ, not yours. The capture of all unscripted remarks do not make an atmosphere for building trust. It permeates a destructive lacklustre idleness that no longer seeks to refine detail. I maintain it is both quicker and more accurate to write up your own notes than rely on and wade through an ᴀɪ interpretation. And definitely more productive when it comes to crafting your response.
Each new mini-epoch seems duty bound to create new job titles for old roles. After all what is work without innovation. Yet how often do they fit the bill? How was HR a step up from Personnel? Will Chief People Officer, or any with the word Talent in for that matter, stick? In Sales, Client Success feels worthy. As can, though in reality only to an extent, Sales Enablement. Then we have the Chief Revenue Officer. With this mutation, I'm less sold. Whilst despite the upfront honesty, I've long railed against the word Sales on our business card/email sig. I get that the world is catching up with those of us who two decades ago were allowing buyers to finally pay monthly for our otherwise-big ticket wares. But unless the newly minted 'R' holds genuine input into what they sell, then it's yet more mere generational window dressing.
This sadly comes in part from the political polarisations infecting our public discourse. You do not need to take an official position on every bulletin of global breaking news. You surely already feel poisons such as chauvinism, uniform groupthink and unsustainability have no place in any non-zero sum game working endeavour. An atmosphere cultivating genuine belonging stems from shared values of your venture and the puzzle it resolves. Not heating the politics of the horseshoe. You have weightier issues at hand. To co-opt a famed tech incubator mantra, here's one potential kernel for this; 'make something people want'.
Some economies, and Enterprise sectors within, see ᴍsᴍ revelling in 'negative growth', and salespeople hamstrung by contagion of investment pause. How did the supply chain issues and soaring inflation just past play out for your selling? Did you participate in the last 'credit crunch' downturn of the ɢꜰᴄ? Or before that, the post-dotcom boom bubble burst? Even for those not bumping along at zero, ɢᴅᴘ per capita is falling, only energy providers seem to climb and rising public sector entitlement sucks the life out of those traditionally driving betterment for all. To escape the shackles of self-fulfilling spiralling down, outwork, outthink and outpace such debilitating vampires.
I could've selected one of many individual sales tactics, yet perhaps this one is emblematic of a broader malaise. You'd have thought the era of the plenty-slide deck was done. Not so, it seems. And I love a slidedeck, but... You must adapt them not only because days of the formal uninterrupted slot is over, but also because they're mistakenly seen as spark or substitute for genuine dialogue.
Video Is Over
I'm not referring to the 60sec emailed pitch clip, although that's also misguided. The route to doing less video calls is actually the outcome of knowing how to make them more distinctive, productive and valued. Just because you might personally be a fan of the middle management mandated ʀᴛᴏ, your prospects might not be. Nor, incidentally as already touched on, should you ignore the interaction during a bid for which video is the ideal format. One which both tightens your grip on the sale and loosens any competing attraction. In short, if you think you no longer need to hold video meetings, you will not be maximising your sales potential.
Yes, I realise these introduce a danger of being interpreted as slightly provocative. But my point is to gently put across what I see as holding back those with pure desire for replicable results. Including those who are not my customers.
For instance, I am continually amazed at how few people I contact afresh have never given themselves any considered help on the video call front.
The 'novelty' now long gone, the very act of conducting a video meeting seen as a near-relic of a problematic past.
There's various labels from the psychs for this. Those content with that stance are climbing towards what they call the Peak of Ignorance. Others may recognise the term Unconscious Incompetent. I prefer the positioning of being Pre-Contemplative.
In any case, in the language of change curves, if but one of these ten provides for the 'foreign element' that allows glimpse of the potential 'transition zone' and powers 'energy for change', then we'll all be better off in the long run. You're welcome, Happy New Year.