White Paper: It’s Time To Redefine Selling
What the best run companies are doing.
What needs to change today about the way your company trains its sales teams?
A lot of people in the sales-training industry will tell you that the internet has revolutionized the salesperson’s role in ways that require you to do all sorts of outlandish things. Most of these deep thinkers actually just use the fact of the net’s existence to justify practically any claim that suits their purposes. In another white paper, Here Comes the Bandwagon! I talk about some of the myths being propagated these days about selling in a Web 2.0 world.
In this white paper, however, I want to discuss some genuine trends that we truly are experiencing. What’s really new about delivering quality in selling today? And how are some great companies responding to these trends?
As a preview of things to come, here is a simplified description of what I believe to be the two most significant real trends affecting the sales role today:
- Traditional “outside” sales jobs are diminishing. Outside salespeople—the ones who leave their own offices to pay personal calls on clients in their territories or on their routes—are becoming rarer on the ground. They are being replaced by “inside” salespeople who work mainly from their own companies’ locations, often using technology to make inbound or outbound sales calls. Studies have documented this phenomenon, as we’ll see later.
- We are seeing the emergence of what I’ll call nontraditional sales teams. These are people whose primary jobs are not in sales and who sometimes abhor the very idea of selling. They can be technicians, accountants, doctors—almost anyone. Their employers have begun encouraging them to sell as part of their roles. Sometimes they receive sales training to help them do it well.
Those trends are interrelated. Both are driven, to some degree, by the internet. Both have implications for our jobs as salespeople, sales managers, and sales trainers. They demand that we rethink our definition of selling.
That’s a big claim, and I intend to support it. For the moment, however, chew on this: We are going to expose the secrets of what selling is to a more diverse audience. Selling won’t be a magic act anymore because a whole lot of people are going to know how to do it at a professional level—even if they don’t see themselves as sales professionals. That may not bode well for some current salespeople. But it’s going to be a pretty good thing for the business world that we live in.