This week’s guest submission is from Kraig R Brown. Kraig has spent the last 6 years as the SVP SMB Sales for Premiere Global Services, a collaboration solutions company. He is a writer, speaker and currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife and 5 children.
Times change, landscapes change and when radical economic change happens the vehicles we used to navigate the sales terrain will need to be adapted as well. Selling is a lot of things, but at its core, selling is all about adapting to the dynamic and colorful scenery we find ourselves in. Remember this key point: without historic change periodically, selling opportunities would stagnate.
Selling used to be a game of feet on the street. Covering a territory meant cranking up the combustible, revving the engine- cranking cups of coffee and seeing how many firm handshakes you could get going in a day. Then, the firm handshake was slowly being supplemented by electronic “handshakes.”
And, the landscape began to be more about what you could get done with your feet in the seat.
The phone/computer dynamic duo meant new adaptations to garner and harness the power of doing much of the legwork with your legs stuffed under the desk. The reach improved, productivity improved, cost of selling improved- and within a few short years the paradigm of the new selling forces included electronic engines that in many cases have replaced combustible ones.
Funny how the formal college education can cross disciplines and teach you things they never intended. I had always been fascinated with language, and during one of the drier linguistics classes I had ever endured, a small nugget somehow lodged in my mind. Languages, they taught, like rivers, will always be on the move toward simplifying.
Over the years, this principle in nature and in economies to find the fastest and least complex route to the greatest benefit at the least overall cost is the key driver behind the latest global shock that we call a recession, but in fact, is nothing more than a natural consequence of the changes put into effect decades ago. My grandfather used to say, “Don’t be shocked if you plant corn seeds and get corn. Be shocked if you plant corn seeds and yield wheat.”
So How Does Selling Strategy Need to Adapt?
There are three (at least) strategies that your company needs to bridge the latest changes that have occurred. Even more so as the new landscape day by day emerges from the dust cloud it caused to become more visible as the new economy we are selling into.
First, every company must have a technology roadmap in place that includes an integrated video strategy for almost every aspect of the prospect/client/partner relationship. One of the missing pieces to the evolution of the transition from “feet on the street” to “feet in the seat” is the all important face to face meeting. At the end of the day, we are human beings and connecting face to face creates a tangible connection, if not an emotional connection with the company or person we are partnering with.
Secondly, there needs to be a full court press to install the “feet in the seat” forces at the center of your selling and sales support strategy. It continues to amaze me the lingering bias continuously directed toward ‘inside sales.’ Most savvy CEO’s long ago understood the economic potential, but combined with the video collaboration technology today, the opportunity to transform the cost of selling and take it to the next level has never been more necessary. In this new economy, your top and bottom lines will do much better once you set the course to a mature selling model. Does this mean that field sales are over? No. It means that the fulcrum has tipped once and for all in this latest shakeup, and the convergence of technology all but plays directly into the needs the organization has to do much more with much less.
Thirdly, online sales must be a growing revenue engine that is constantly developing a personality to serve and sell to the global office park. Contrary to some belief systems, this is where selling art and selling science have a clearly marked line of demarcation. The potential of the dot.com bust meets the opportunity of the new economy, and this just happens to be occurring as the ability to tell your story in video revolutionizes how we sell online. What is your online revenue stream directly contributing through converted sales today, not leads? In the new economy, companies will be looking for this critical sales channel to become the key contributor in the next few years…and video is the river that will facilitate that transformation.
I realize that there are myriads of selling giants that have myriads of ideas and thoughts on the go-forward in this post-Armageddon economy. But I see it as all opportunity, and the really smart folks have already pulled the old oily engines out and are toying around with ones that will make the whole company go greener.