The development of approaches around Business to Business (B2B) selling has continued to progress and has evolved in its concepts, strategies and practices.
This sees closer alignment between sales and marketing with an emerging emphasis on content and digital marketing which in turn supports the shift from outbound to inbound selling. Buyers are now very proactive in doing their research online. They are also very resentful of disruptive or interruption selling efforts (traditional cold calling).
Are you ready to jump in and be part of this shift? Is it time to train your sales representatives on social networking and social selling skills?
Not so fast!
As I have been engaging with companies and looking at their processes, I see the need for reviewing the fundamentals of sales to ensure the proper foundation has been laid down before there is any movement towards revising or updating a sales strategy.
Without this foundational work you see organizations continue to flounder and wonder what is wrong with their sales department. They may bounce around from quick fix to quick fix looking for a magic cure (closing skills, elevator pitches, prospecting, cold calling skills, etc.).
What is your sales process and when was it last updated? Do all in your organization know it, understand it and support it?
What is the skill level of your sales representatives? Did your organization train them to a common standard or was the assumption made that they were trained, skilled and capable sales representatives when they took on the role?
What is the skill level of your sales manager(s)? Were they a top sales representative that got promoted in the hope that their magic was transferable? Have they received any training specifically for sales managers? Do they get to be sales managers or is their time consumed with a customer portfolio that they have to manage themselves or perhaps they get bogged down problem solving around more logistical or operational issues?
The day to day running of a business is all consuming. It is very difficult to push back and take a moment to assess where you are. Even if you try to assess, what are your benchmarks or points of reference?
A great first move may be to get an independent assessment from someone outside your organization!
Having managed a large and successful enterprise sales team and being acquainted with countless sales models and strategies through many wholesale distribution partners, I am in a unique position to help.
Tom Fournier, founder of the Shade's Mills Group, history enthusiast and happy walker!