The Future of Selling

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Dec 18, 2013 @ 08:12 AM

holograhpicMy vision, of how the future of selling is shaping up, appears in today's (the December 18, 2013) issue of Top Sales Magazine.

After you have read the article, please contribute your comments, suggestions, visions, rebuttals and opinions which are all welcome right here.

This issue also features the 2013 Award Winners of the Top Sales & Marketing Awards in 18 Categories.

We did pretty well this year!

Objective Management Group (OMG) took home the Gold for the 3rd straight year for Top Sales Assessment Tool.

At Kurlan & Associates, Frank Belzer won the Silver for Top New Sales & Marketing Book, Sales Shift.  By the way, if you haven't read Frank's Blog, it's also deserving of recognition.

I won the Bronze for Top Sales & Marketing Blog - my 3rd consecutive win for Understanding the Sales Force.

I also won the Gold for Top Sales & Marketing Article - Sales Management Best Practices - Are Your Salespeople Challengers?

Our Partner, Membrain, won the Gold for Top CRM Tool.

And many of our friends and colleagues were honored too.  I congratulate all of them!!

As you contemplate the Future of Selling, think about how these changes might affect your company this month, this year, next year, and the years ahead.

Is your Sales Infrastructure able to support the sales team of the future?

Is your Sales Architecture optimized to support sales managers spending 50% of their time coaching?

Is Sales Management up to the task of providing effective coaching?

Has Sales Enablement provided everything needed so that your salespeople can go to market with the right strategy, execute and have the required conversations?

Is Sales Talent Management providing the sales talent you will need to grow revenue?

Does your Human Capital have the sales DNA and the skills required for success?

During January, I'll be writing more about these 6 keys to the ideal sales organization.

Tomorrow, I'll present my Top 10 Articles of 2013 so that you can vote on your favorite.  I'll publish the winning article before we break for the holiday.

Finally, Gazelles Growth Institute has added my Baseline Selling video broadcast to its lineup of top-notch, world-class speakers and on-demand courses.  It came out great and I'm really delighted with the work they did.  If you haven't been able to work with us directly and want an inexpensive taste of how the Baseline Selling sales process and methodology work, you should check out this and the other video courses at Gazelles Growth Institute.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to read my article, The Future of Selling, and enter your comments right here

Image credit: sellingpix / 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, crm, move to inside sales, membrain, top sales magazine, sales predictions, technology in sales, connectleader, cisco, holographic meetings

The Great Migration to Inside Sales - Will You Get it Right?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 @ 11:07 AM

migrationThe Growing Power of Inside Sales appeared on the Harvard Business Review Blog on July 29.  Overall, the article was quite good with valid sources and statistics.  On the other hand, it was flawed in that, as usual with articles like this, it cited examples from only large companies (Astra Zeneca, IBM and SAP) leading most readers to come to one of two conclusions:

"This does not apply to us." or "We must follow because these industry leaders are doing it."

The authors listed four scenarios where a move to inside sales could be effective:

  1. By market segment,
  2. By stage of the buyer engagement process,
  3. By geography, and
  4. By product or service.
How about these:
  • By sales talent - What roles are your salespeople best suited for?
  • By location of the sales talent - Where can you find the ideal sales talent for your company?  It may not be where the territory is or where the company is located.
  • By location of sales management - Do you have managers where the sales talent is located?
  • By customer - Some customers want to see your salespeople - often - while others could not care less if they ever see your salespeople as long as they are getting their needs met.
  • By season - Some businesses are oriented around large, one-time, seasonal orders where it is very important for your salespeople to be visible.
  • By business model - Some businesses have a model where customers must be resold or renewed at the end of a contract period and, depending on the size and importance of the customer, a phone call may not be enough to justify the renewal.
  • By product - But this is different from the author's definition.  If a company is selling an expensive piece of equipment that must be demonstrated onsite, inside sales has absolutely no ability to execute on that milestone.
  • By project - Some projects necessitate a salesperson working hand-in-hand with the customer to ensure a successful outcome.  Most of these require salespeople to be onsite.
In summary, I agree that there is a significant trend toward moving salespeople to the inside.  But in general, every company needs to conduct a case justification and every situation should be determined on a case-by-case basis.  Making broad statements, that define the general scenarios where sales should be moved inside, simply won't work for most companies because there will be more exceptions to the guidelines than those that fit.
Should you consider moving some or all of your sales to the inside?  It's not a quick or simple answer.  Many factors must be considered and outside expertise is required to provide objective, non-biased perspective. Of equal importance is the necessary science and data about your sales managers, salespeople and their capabilities.  There is nothing worse than putting people in a role that doesn't position them for success.  Some on the outside would not do well on the inside while some would do much better.  Do you know which ones?
Take this change seriously!  It has the ability to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, increase effectiveness, and grow sales.  But only if you base your decisions on sound best practices, data and objectivity.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, sales leadership, move to inside sales, sales assessments

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned awards for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog for eleven consecutive years and of the more than 2,000 articles Dave has published, many of the articles have also earned awards.

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