So, what would it take to wake up each morning as a sales professional and only call on people who needed what I had to sell and actually wanted to talk to me?
What if we patterned the perfect sales day after a great innovation from the age of the industrial revolution – SPECIALIZATION?
Think about it, do you suppose that Henry Ford’s first assembly crew enjoyed greasing the axles, breathing paint spray while painting the car (black), and mounting those dreadful rubber tires? Maybe, maybe not. But the reality is they weren’t very productive as they constantly changed hats and perfect being “Jacks of All Trades.” We all know how this story ended and the advent of the modern assembly line came about. Breaking down the workflow to allow different people to become expert at each stage of the process took productivity up by hundreds of multiples.
Why is it then that in the sales process, which by the way is one of the most researched, published, and trained processes in the business world today, do we expect a single person to be expert at each step in the process? Let me give you but one brief example. Outbound tele-prospecting, otherwise known as cold-calling, is where many sales processes start. Yet, getting to real decision makers and influencers takes nothing less than making the stars align. There are specific tactics, methods, and specialized techniques that enable gifted callers to navigate an organization’s beauracracy make these stars align. Yet most direct sales organizations see this step in the process as something that all sales professionals should be proficient at. Unlike the automobile assembly line, today’s sales professional is supposed to simultaneously do cold-calling, schedule executive appointments, qualify real opportunities, nuture contacts that aren’t qualified, develop solution presentations, write proposals, negotiate and close deals, handle contract turn-overs, and nurture relationships with these budding customer accounts.
Each of these critical steps require specialization and most experienced direct sales veterans realize they have to specialize in certain aspects of the overall process in order to be consistently successful. The operative word being CONSISTENT. To a large degree, time compression forced on us all by a global 7 X 24 economy is what makes the modern direct sales process ready for specialization. To keep a steady stream of new opportunities entering the top of the sales funnel, organizations need to clearly separate these duties from the sales professionals responsible for making revenue come out the bottom of the sales funnel.
What are you doing to create the perfect sales day for your sales professionals?