It is amazing to look back after 30 years in sales to see what has changed and what has stayed the same.
Computers, laptops and PDAs have largely replaced rate books, flip folders and flip charts. Sales presentations are more tech savvy and sleek. Massive strides have been made in the use of media, and advertising budgets (and expenses) have soared.
There are more sales magicians, sales motivators and sales courses available than ever before. In fact, top sales trainers and speakers are the only people to out-earn top sales people hour-for-hour.
Curiously, some things have remained the same. In my personal observations, here's what I've seen:
- The elusive search for the hot lead grinds away and shows no sign of losing momentum
- Too many salespeople rely on marketing collateral, like glossy marketing pamphlets, to close deals when they should be relying on their professional sales skills
- Top sales performers still work harder than average salespeople — smarter as well in many respects (top salespeople continue to do the hard work that makes selling easy)
- The word “sales” still scares most people
- The vast majority (upwards of 90 percent) of people I deal with never thought they’d end up in a sales career (they never “chose” sales)
- Joe Average salesperson still spends in excess of 55–60 percent of their time not selling. Stats from Spotio suggest:
- 40 percent of their time goes to looking for prospects
- 15 percent of their time goes to leaving messages
- (I’d love to know what percent is spent online, "doing research”)
- Forbes magazine suggests around 53 percent of the sales force ever meets quota (I suspect that number might be lower)
- According to Spotio, companies with a strong sales methodology and ongoing coaching have 73 percent of their sales force achieving quota
- Spotio also suggests 55 percent of sales people lack basic selling skills
- Despite all the advancements, customers still like to buy from people they like and trust
- Despite the technology and current knowledge and wisdom ... sales is hard!
Are you hitting your sales quotas?
Is your team or company following a measurable, sustainable and scalable sales methodology?
Have the tried-and-tested disciplines of prospecting, planning and referral business been replaced by email campaigns and funnel filling? How’s that working out for you?
Could it be time to pop the hood and take another look at your sales machinery and how it’s working?
What's holding your business back?
About the Author
OneAccord Principal Brad Thomson emigrated to the United States from South Africa in 2019. He is a sales leader and a pastor with a passion for seeing people live up to their fullest potential.
As a salesman with experience in investment products, furniture, IT, life insurance and short-term insurance, Brad has sold goods ranging from the unseen (insurance) to the misunderstood (IT). Brad's passion to see people develop their potential led him to study human resources, then open and run his own recruitment consultancy. As a cosultant, he helped people and businesses thrive by finding the right fit for their unique situation. Click here to learn more about Brad.
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