Are Sales Organizations Ready — Signs are Pointing to NO!

Sales is changing, we’ve been hearing about it for quite some time now. That’s really not anything new. Insides sales is blowing up. Content marketing, combined with inside sales is effectively changing the prospecting landscape. Good, I mean really good, inside sales teams have virtually eradicated cold calling.

Social selling is changing how sales people engage and connect with their clients, prospects and buyers. Social is the next communications platform, and like email before it, the phone before email and the face to face meeting before that, it’s changing how we engage one another and how sales are made.

If that’s not enough, a new sales category has been born and it’s growing like weeds. It’s called sales automation. There are literally hundreds of companies in this space and hundreds more seem to pop up regularly. Check out this graphic by Battery Ventures. It lays out all the players in this burgeoning space.

Sales Automation

The sales world hasn’t seen this much movement and tumult ever. In the past sales was shaken up by new methodologies like Spin Selling, or Consultative Selling, ideas and methodologies that changed the way sales people sell. Today, we still have methodology changes, like The Challenger Sale, but now we have 100’s of new tools, new structures, new communication platforms, new management systems, new prospecting methodologies and more. It’s crazy.

If you stop and think about it for a second, this is the golden age of selling. We should look back and log this time as a renaissance of sorts and we just might.

The challenge is we’re still trying to figure out how to bring it all together. What is the right equation of stuff required to win? What tools combined with what methodologies, combined with what communication platforms are most optimal? Where should sales invest and how much? Figuring out the ideal equation of stuff will define the winners in the future. Sales enablement has a big job in front of it.

If all this change isn’t enough, the traditional sales culture isn’t helping either, sales is notoriously slow.

Here is an example of what I’m talking about. Kitedesk set out to identify the top social selling people in the world. Out of “500” candidates they created a list of 30. I’m one of the 30 in case you’re wondering. In addition to me there were 29 other social selling “guru’s” of sorts, but what was conspicuously missing was real front-line sales people and their sales executives. How crazy is that? The 30 most social sales people in the world and none of us actually “sell” for a living.  I don’t blame the list, I blame sales people and their leaders. We need to be more nimble and move our asses when is comes to adoption of new stuff.

Look at the names and more importantly the titles on this list. Everyone, with the exception of maybe two people are NOT sales people or sales executives, they are sales consultants, sales trainers, or sales evangelists whose job it is to educate sales people on social media. That needs to change.

We’re (A Sales Guy Inc.) is in the process of capturing the social presence of the heads of sales for the Fortune 500 and are beginning to notice something very peculiar. They aren’t social. We’ve knocked out 20% of the list so far and almost none of the executives have a Twitter account and those that do, rarely use it. More of the sales executives have LinkedIn accounts, but like Twitter, they are used very sparingly and not very well.

The point, sales is changing at light speed and sales not only doesn’t know the winning equation, few have even begun to look.

There are billions of dollars in revenue at stake in the coming years. Companies that solve the equation of stuff and learn how to aggregate all the changes to build powerhouse sales organizations will win.

Figuring out what’s next is no small order. The role of sales enablement/operations has become increasingly more challenging. It’s up to them and sales leadership to figure out the new winning equation. Where should the bets be placed? Just look at all the sales automation companies and tools in the graphic above. No organization can or should have them all, so which do you go with, what is the winning equation?

Like most change, few know what the right move is. Few can predict what the winning equation is, but those paying attention and placing the right bets will figure it out before everyone else does. Billions of revenue dollars are depending on it.

Have you figured it out? What’s the winning equation?