Death of a salesman

Next month I’m a Keynote speaker at the Xchange Solution Provider event March 8th-10th. I'm looking forward to it. they are always great events.

I’ve been talking about Excession Events events for some time now, but now I thought I’d make this talk very specific for the IT channel world.

Death of a salesman

Death of a salesman seemed to make a great title for my piece but I thought I better go for something a little more upbeat. How about the reinvention of sales?

Over the last decade marketing has been transformed. Before the rise of the internet marketing department’s primary job was to produce brochures, run shows and grab business cards. Sales would take them and try to close them.

Not surprisingly sales ruled the roost because they made the business money and marketing couldn’t prove what worked and what didn’t. They were a cost to the business. Sales could always play the leads are weak game.

The rise of Marketing

Marketing has been transformed over the last 10 years. SEM, PPC and SEO mean the marketing director now knows exactly where his budget is going. CRM systems like have transformed the client relationship, no longer can the salesperson walk with their rolodex. The whole of the marketing department is a well oiled machine. Able to tell the CFO and CEO exactly how much they are spending per lead.

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”

― H. James Harrington


The problem is the outside sales organization has done nothing of the sort. Inside sales teams have become part of the process. They are managed tightly, their every move measured. Inside sales teams have burgeoned in the last ten years because of their ability to scale and be controlled. But they are not the whole answer. Occasionally someone needs to go and close the deal, to pull the trigger.

Outside sales needs a new direction

The days of outside sales reps calling on clients and “owning” the relationship are up, at least in the IT space. The enormous lowering of costs within the sector means that it’s simply not possible for expensive reps to simply touch every part of every deal. The role needs to be reinvented.

The outside sales role is also being hugely disrupted by the Cloud. Instead of large deals every 3 to 5 years clients are renting the technology as a service. As a result the idea of closing the big deal is becoming an anathema. Even the line between what is sales, pre sales and post sales is blurring.

In case you can’t make the event in LA

During my keynote I’ll be talking about these changes and how businesses can reengineer themselves to cope in a world turned upside down. But in case you can’t make it here are some things to think about.

  • With 60% of the sales cycle occurring before the client contacts you, you must ensure that when they look for information you are the subject matter expert they find.
  • Having a social media presence is more important than your own website.
  • Your clients are your best salespeople. Work out how to use them effectively.
  • Mashing together numerous products to build compelling client solutions is the key to success.
  • Working harder is the worst possible strategy
  • Ignoring it and hoping it goes away is NO STRATEGY

All of these things and much else can me learnt, but first businesses and individuals need to understand these changes have happened and the old way of doing things isn't coming back.

There’s of course much more to this, and if you’d like to learn more and how to work with me on this do please get in touch.

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About the Author: Simon Dudley

Simon is a contrarian. He makes a habit of being the guy who questions the orthodoxy, the guy who doesn’t believe it just because the good and the great said it’s true. This has not always been good for his ascent up the corporate greasy pole. However it’s been very good for his employers if they are prepared to listen.

The Book The End of Certainty "How to thrive when playing by the rules is a losing strategy" explains why groupthink and the doing what you’ve always done is no longer the right move.

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