We live in a brave new world, hopefully not in the Aldous Huxleyian sense, but certainly transformed by the collapse of many of our previous economic assumptions.
Okay, before I lose you to thoughts that I am about to dive into some political philosophical tirade (although, I’m known to do that offline occasionally) this article has a very simple point to it:
Companies, even big ones, no longer have the luxury to house large stables of sales people that they have to feed.
I use metaphors like “house” and “feed” intentionally. Most sales people I know aren’t “housed” on sales floors anymore. They aren’t “feed” big expense accounts, hot sales leads, and they don’t get paid base salaries they can live on.
No, most sales people I know are now much more like entrepreneurs than corporate types.
That’s why we, as sales people, need to make some mental and physical adjustments.
Companies, sales organizations, sales managers all want hunters, not gathers. This is a different world. One that requires slightly different application of our skills.
There are three areas you should immediately target for self-improvement. Assuming you intend to survive and hopefully thrive in this new sales environment:
1. Social Selling – Face it, social media and networking is the new email.
Back in the day, companies and sales people thought this was an idle, distracting, time wasting gimmick. Now, email is, without argument, the most efficient and effective sales tool when used by skilled sales people.
Don’t be the sales person without an “email address” when the prospect says, “can you email me your proposal?” (This happened. A sales person frantically called me once asking how to get an email account, fast!)
In case you need a translation of this analogy: Don’t be the guy with a crappy Linkedin profile and otherwise a ghost online when the prospect Googles you.
2. (Personal) Lead Generation – Remember, no one is feeding you any more.
You had better learn to hunt and farm. In this new world you eat only what you kill or grow. The choice is simple.
This means an online presence and an email list. A personal online presence and a personal email list.
3. Lead Management – Sales leads are precious.
When you get leads you had better manage them like you would an investment portfolio. That’s what they are–an investment in your future. Lead management is simply an iron-clad process for follow-up, nurturing, and growing a relationship with a lot of people (prospects and leads).
As your database gets big that usually means software. Today, it could be as simple as a process and a legal pad. But, do it!
If you master these three things. Strike that, if you do these things moderately well. If you use social media, create a lead generating presence, and manage your sales leads just a little better than the average sales person, you will be in high demand.
(Oh, and have no monthly quota stress.)