IBM has created a very good white paper on the transformation of sales. At Steve Day Design, this is one of the key focus areas that we work with our clients in. Our belief is that no functional part of an organization has become more impotent and disorganized than the typical corporation sales organization. More importantly, the separation from making a product to selling a product to buying a product has created two very large and dangerous skill gaps. In many organizations that deploy a global sales organization, it is almost impossible to bridge the gaps. A simple analogy is a Taiwanese company manufactures a software defined client server. Five years go by, and at that point in time, a question is answered. How many of the global sales force employees have even seen the product they are selling? The unfortunate and prevalent answer is not many. A distribution company represents a technology driven organization selling 245 products through the distributor. After nine months, the distributor sales force is asked a question. Can anyone name 25 products, of the 245 products we represent for the technology organization? Only two of the 50 sales people can name over 10 of these products. More than half of the lead sales people did not even know the name of the technology driven organization they were representing.
The goal for everyone in this scenario is to use a smart combination of automation, knowledge-base, sales tools and social media to build a community of influencers that replace the traditional sales efforts of yesterday. At Steve Day Design, we continue to do this.
- Harvest a set of end users that could benefit from products and services.
- Mature this into a community of people who can be made aware of products and services.
- Connect a highly automated sales or multi-tier channel effort into the community as appropriate.
- Push testimonial and early adopter sales by positioning these outcomes as a compelling set of short stories.
- Build out from the core to the edge, using the customers themselves to help sell.
Honestly, these are just five random ideas that we use. But the counter-point is not random.
- Traditional sales organizations cannot economically serve a global market. It is simple too expensive.
- Buying behavior is random and evolved very quickly in today’s marketplace. Global sourcing technology allows purchase to happen at the click of a button.
- Customers are very similar to businesses. Both are frustrated with how hard it is to find each other.
Working through these gaps becomes very important to build a rapidly growing organization.