Do You Know if Your Sales Organization is Digital or Analog?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Aug 04, 2016 @ 07:08 AM

analog-vs-digital.jpg

During our very first conversation with a CEO, the talking path is determined by whether their company is analog or digital.  

Digital companies are typically on the cutting edge in their thinking and actions, their CEO's read content like this, are active on LinkedIn and Twitter, they are aware that selling has changed dramatically, they already have inside sales teams, playbooks, demo decks, sales enablement, online tools beyond CRM and in true digital fashion, they live by their KPI's which count the elements of their work flow.

Analog companies are old school. Analog salespeople still pound the phones to find opportunities, and visit their prospects to close sales. Their CEO's may have a LinkedIn account, but it probably isn't used much, they don't tweet, read online content like this, and most importantly, have little clue about how dramatically selling has changed in the past 5 years.  They may not be aware of the migration to inside sales, typically make little use of selling tools, don't know what a sales playbook is, and in true analog fashion, measure work product, not flow.  

The difference between work flow in a digital company versus work product in the analog company is dramatic too.

Work flow represents a series or flow of actions.  With inbound marketing for example, a company might use a combination of landing pages, email templates and rules to generate the flow of contacts, leads and opportunities, all of which are counted.

Work product represents outcomes.  Analog companies are more likely to measure how hard their salespeople work. Analog versus digital. Counting versus measuring. 

Digital companies usually think that they have it all figured out because they read free content like this, make use of the latest tools, have millennials working their inbound marketing effort, have inside and outside sales, hire expensive sales leaders, and together they built a sales machine.  But when it's not generating enough revenue, the sales machine is broken.

Analog companies aren't really aware that they are old school, but they have recognized that what used to work doesn't appear to be generating the same results today.  Their salespeople struggle to close new business, they are losing important accounts, margins are slipping because their salespeople are unable sell value, and their veteran salespeople are in denial.  Their ability to generate sales by pounding the phones and managing their territories has become inefficient and ineffective.  You can even recognize an analog sales force by looking at them.  With rare exceptions, it's a group of fat, aging, white guys.

In the end, it simply doesn't matter whether a company is analog or digital.  The commonality between them is that their sales organizations are not bringing in enough business and there are several reasons for this - or more!

One of the many reasons for less than stellar revenue is that these companies - both analog and digital - often fail to hire the right salespeople for the role.  That's the easiest of all things in sales to correct.  A simple change to your selection criteria and an accurate and predictive sales tool will drive up your rate of success and consistency with hiring very quickly!

If you are interested in learning how we use *digital magic* to help companies hire the right salespeople, then you might enjoy spending 30 minutes with me next month.  On September 28, I will lead a fast-paced behind the scenes online tour of the magic behind OMG's award-winning sales selection tools.  You can join me by registering here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales assesments, sales consulting, sales selection tool, selling has changed

4 Great Sales Lessons from a Notre Dame Commencement Ceremony

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, May 17, 2016 @ 11:05 AM

gen_martin_dempsey_300.jpg

We were fortunate to be in the audience for the 2016 Notre Dame Commencement where Vice President Joe Biden, former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and former Joint Chiefs of Staff and retired 4-Star General, Martin Dempsey were among the speakers.  While all were good, Biden had one great takeaway, and the General shared 3 tips and an action step. I believe that these are all share-worthy and apply to sales and sales leadership as well, and perhaps even better than they apply to those graduating from universities.

Dempsey is known for a 3-word call to action, "Make it Matter."

Let's apply "make it matter" to sales and sales management.  In sales, it means that every conversation, with every prospect and customer, should be meaningful to the customer and/or prospect.  How can we make each conversation matter to them? To them!  We need to stop thinking about our own needs and focus on the needs of the person on the other end of the call or the other side of the conference room table.  This doesn't mean giving up control, or facilitating, but it does emphasize the importance of listening instead of talking.

When it comes to coaching salespeople, this concept is even more important.  How do you get your salespeople to come back and want more coaching from you?  After all, that is the true measurement of whether or not your coaching is having an impact.  Are they getting enough from it to want more of it?  Make it matter - to them!

I found his advice to graduates even more meaningful.  He told them, "We need you to have a warrior’s heart, an immigrant’s spirit, and a servant’s soul."

Let's review.

Heart of a Warrior - It's the will to sell - grit - the ability to do what it takes - and wanting it badly enough.  It's finding a way - any way - to get the desired outcome.  It's more than surviving sales; it's achieving and thriving in sales. 

Spirit of an Immigrant - It's finding your way, seeking something better, and fitting in.  It's being flexible, taking risks, being memorable enough to differentiate yourself from all others.  It's learning your customer/client's culture and embracing it.  

Soul of a Servant - It's about giving people what they truly want and need and you identify that by asking great questions and listening and following up with more great questions.

Biden stressed engagement.  He urged graduates to engage with conversation and build lasting relationships.  My sales translation is that while our current generation of technology is great and should be leveraged, a connection on LinkedIn is not a relationship, a follower is not a raving fan, and a conversation cannot be conducted over email.

These are all common sense guidelines, but today, whether it's politics, technology, or how we view ISIS, there doesn't seem to be enough common sense as a main ingredient of our discussions.

As an example, as I write this, we are in the first morning of our spring Sales Leadership Intensive and the conversation taking place this very moment is about the importance of a formal, milestone-centric sales process.  Common sense suggests that a time-tested and proven sales process will be much more effective, consistent and predictable than going without.  Despite the common sense factor, I've read articles suggesting that we no longer need such things with the current technology available to us.  I've read countless articles about the death of selling, the death of SPIN selling, the death of Solution Selling, and the death of consultative selling approach. And of course we have all been told that cold calling is dead.  Uh-oh.  Most of these articles were written by companies trying to get you to buy their software applications and they hope that you will buy into the dead = need for software.  Nice try!

There is no doubt that selling has changed.  If you just read the article I linked to, you should recognize that the real key is in understanding how the dynamics have changed.  Selling has changed only to the degree that we must understand how to deal with those changing dynamics.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, solution selling, SPIN Selling, notre dame, joe biden, sales software, selling has changed, martin dempsey, john boehner

Subscribe via Email

View All 1,800 Articles

About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

Email Dave

View Dave Kurlan's LinkedIn profile View Dave Kurlan's profile

Subscribe 

Receive new articles via email
Subscribe
 to the Blog on your Kindle 

 

 

Most Recent Articles

Awards

Vendor Neutral Certified 100 SalesTech Vendor Objective Management Group

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee


MVP2018_badge_winner_SPC

Leaading Sales Consultants 2018

2019-Silver-BlogIndi
9 Consecutive Years!

Top Sales Awards 2018 - Article/Post -  Silver


2019-Gold-AssessTool
9 Consecutive Years!

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 -  Bronze - Thought Leader

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Podcast - Gold

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Webinar - Gold

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 - Bronze - eBook/White Paper

Dave Kurlan Top 50 Sales Influencer 2015

Sales Pro Insider Blog

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers

Top100Strategic

Top100SalesInfluencersOnTwitter



Hubspot Top 25 Blogs

 

Free Tools

Sales Process Grader

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Sales Ghost Calculator

Sales Force Grader

Sales Hiring Mistake Calculator

FREE Recruiting Process Grader