In our day to day schedules, we talk to dozens of sales professionals. The way they find us and the conversations that happen all have an underlying theme: the way they sell isn’t working. They come from all walks of life, backgrounds and experiences, yet we’ve observed this dominant theme of traditional sales methods not working anymore.
What’s startling is the frequency in which we’re hearing this. At first we chalked it up to the inexperience of certain sales professionals – newer to the industry, newer to the workforce, not yet finding their bearings, and a horde of other reasons. But then we started to observe that the seasoned professionals were complaining.
What are they complaining about? Here are the most common things we’ve heard from them:
- The number of people returning voice mails is dwindling faster than they can blink.
- E-mail response rates are horrendous.
- Marketing departments are unable to produce good, qualified leads.
- Prospects and existing clients are having price and fulfillment driven conversations more and more.
- This includes long-time “house” accounts; the ones that are so sacrosanct that no one had ever predicted they would start testing waters with other vendors.
When we hear this, our first instinct is to logically ask what sales leaders and management are doing. This is the troubling part:
- Dialling quotas have increased. One sales professional remarked how management’s answer was to institute a stern 75 dials/day quota, up from the 50/day.
- Managers/Directors/VPs are so far removed from the daily struggles, that they don’t know what to do.
- Some even said that management is burying their heads in the sand, or just outright quitting because “they can see the writing on the wall”.
If you’re in this position, I would urge you to be honest with yourself and communicate with upper management. Sales professionals, make it a priority to expose these troubles to your management. Shout it from the roof tops. Make no qualms about it. If you don’t raise this issue, who will? How can the company benefit in the long-term if no one is willing to take a stand?
I’m willing to go out on a limb here and even say that sales attrition can be reduced if a good solution is found.
What can be done?
First things first, I would recommend that you understand why all of this is happening. The data from the big research houses points sharply towards the fundamental changes the buyer is now going through. 70% of the entire buying process can now be done without a sales professional even engaging the buyer.
Social Selling teaches you how to take advantage of this and position yourself accordingly by being a value-added resource to your buyer. The folks that are doing this are able to get meetings, qualify buyers and nurture deals without ever cold calling.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re a sales leader or team member, it’s time to have an open and honest conversation about what is happening. Then, take charge and find out what can be done. As Social Selling practitioners, we can help guide you in the right direction. Check out our 9 Steps to a Winning LinkedIn Profile for Sales Professionals, or 10 Steps to Building a Social Selling Machine. Social Selling isn’t difficult. It’s different. Don’t be afraid of it. If you'd like to chat further leave me a comment or click on my schedule link below to book a call with me.