Let’s face it - your sales team is statistically likely to be lagging behind in terms of their use of technology. They’re most likely to be applying more relationship driven sales methods than data-driven - especially if your hiring pool includes salespeople with more than 10 years experience in sales. The reason for this is that digital technology has been available to Sales for years, but the systems and processes to use the technology in your sales process has been difficult to apply. Altify claim there’s a 13% retention rate on sales training - that means, essentially, that even if you were to train the sales team to follow your own unique sales system or methodology the likelihood is that after training is complete, most of your salespeople will put the manuals on the shelf and do what they were doing before. The same is true of your CRM - statistically salespeople spending too much time on data entry and not enough on sales. From 'The State of Inbound', a report commissioned by Hubspot:
There is an imbalance between the state of digital marketing and digital sales. Proportionally, the marketing stack is bigger and better, and marketing teams are more savvy. Digital marketing got a head start, but sales is catching up. For sales leaders, this presents an opportunity to introduce the same sort of digital innovations we have seen develop in marketing over the past 5 years. It also means many sales organisations are being left behind as they cling to traditional ways of selling, just as marketers stuck to traditional forms of marketing until they were forced to move. Digital selling involves the use of data, sales automation, an inbound sales process and inside (a.k.a. remote selling) as part of the mix.
Selling software to businesses has changed a lot in the past 5 years. In the old days, sales people could approach a prospect, do a demo of the software, give a couple of examples of how it’s worked out for other similar customers in the past, then whip out the 12 month contract to close the deal before retiring to the bar. OK, maybe it wasn’t that simple - but for the majority of sales people, they at least knew what they were selling when they were meeting with a customer.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force this May 2018, replacing the existing data protection framework under the EU Data Protection Directive.
Do you find it difficult to create a predictable revenue stream for your business?
I work primarily with innovative startup founders as well as global leaders in the use of technology. According to a study on Digital Transformation by IDC published by Forbes, by 2021 one-third of CEOs and COOs of Fortune 2000 companies will have spent at least 5 years of their career in a technology leadership role. The key to their success will not be their technical expertise. This'll help, but it will be in their ability to unite technology, operations, marketing and ideas across a distributed organisation that will determine whether they make it in an increasingly fractured and fickle technology market. Business leaders of the future will have to find ways to unite a workforce that no longer ascribes to a traditional model of hierarchy and reward.
Engineers like to solve problems. Show me an excited engineer and I’ll show you a man with a problem. Noodling with algorithms and figuring out how to connect one thing to another excites a problem solver like nothing else. In technology companies, it’s always an advantage to have people who love the challenge of diving into complexity and emerging with simple, elegant solutions. These can then be sold to customers - provided the solution is actually something the customer wants.
New concept businesses can’t sell like others with more familiar products. Selling a pair of jeans in a department store requires a particular type of selling, emphasising the value of something already understood to be useful and desirable to the customer. Selling a platform or product that does something that's never been done before requires two extra steps...
Sometimes selling a solution or product feels like you’re sitting on a goldmine, yet no-one around you seems to understand. Often the value remains hidden, no matter how many ways you tell your story.
Today’s visionaries have an obligation to lead and they feel it. They’re finding new paths for those in the world who believe in positive change. As a friend of mine recently said, “follow the Hansel & Gretel method, but instead of breadcrumbs, leave a trail of happiness wherever you go”.