|By Sharon Drew Morgen||
|December 16, 2012 10:30 PM EST||
Someone called recently to ask if I were a ‘sales thought leader’. I laughed. “It’s a trick question,” I replied.
The term ‘sales thought leader’ is an oxymoron. As the person who developed a sales-related model to facilitate the behind-the-scenes aspects of the buyer’s decision path that can’t be addressed by the sales model (Buying Facilitation®), I’ve sought partners to think outside the box with me. Before he died, David Sandler called to buy me out, saying he thought he’d gone outside the box but hadn’t realized how far ‘outside the box’ was until he read my then-latest book.
So, in my map of the world, there has been nothing new in the field of sales since the Serpent convinced Eve to eat the apple.
WHAT HAS CHANGED?
The internet has made it easier to find prospects. But the field continues to push solutions at the wrong time and ignores the real influencing capability that’s possible far earlier in the buying path. The same-old same-old focus prevails, even in the face of decades, if not centuries, of inadequate results, rendering the term ‘sales thought leader’ moot:
Appointments: Most sales initiatives prospect by attempting to get an appointment, thereby eliminating a huge percentage of real prospects (appx 90% decline, many of whom could be buyers). Thought leaders would define prospects as those who WILL buy rather than who SHOULD, and begin conversations by immediately helping prospects navigate their decision/change journey and enlist the entire Buying Decision Team. The appointment will be requested by the Buying Decision Team and then they are ready to buy!
Solution placement focus: Throughout history, the sales model has assumed that where there is a ‘need’ there’s a buyer – obviously a faulty assumption: The sales model closes approximately 7% of B2B sales regardless of the industry, or size/type of the solution or price. Can you think of any other profession that accedes to that level of failure? Doctors? Airplane safety? Imagine American Airlines advertizing that they have safe flights 8% of the time! Even a baseball player needs at least a 30% success rate! Entering with a solution placement focus – the end before the beginning! – ignores the idiosyncratic buying decision path that starts with an idea and demands appropriate buy in. A thought leader would start with a change management focus.
Disregard of systems: Buyers live in systems of rules, people, history, and a status quo that overrides – and must be included in – change. And a buying decision is a change management problem. When sellers attempt to ‘understand need’ and find those who should buy, they are pushing change into a closed system and get the resistance (homeostasis) that all systems revert to when threatened. And don’t kid yourself: buyers don’t ‘need’ you or they would have bought your solution already: they already have some sort of work-around that’s ‘good enough.’ A thought leader would enter immediately as a part of the system, facilitate buy-in and the change management process, and discuss solutions only when everything was aligned, thereby avoiding resistance.
Incentives, compensation packages: By compensating for closed sales regardless of the number of good prospects lost, the inordinate amount of time to close, or the number of good clients lost that must be replaced, we perpetuate the numbers game. My clients, using Buying Facilitation®, close in 1/2 the time. A thought leader would know how to close more sales in less time and make more money.
BUY-IN FIRST, SOLUTION LAST
Until buyers manage the behind-the-scenes change issues and get buy-in from everyone who touches the final solution, they cannot buy. Yet we continue to seek appointments merely to explain how great we are (and ‘understand need’…so we can explain how great we are), and disregard their start-to-finish decision path, merely perpetuating failure. And wasting valuable seller’s time.
Sales thought leaders would have a different set of beliefs, skills, and outcomes:
1. focus on discovering and creating prospects who WILL buy, overlook those who can’t ever buy, and know the difference – on the first call;
2. on the first call, create and enter onto the Buying Decision Team and facilitate buy in issues (with the tech team, user groups, HR, or whomever touches the solution);
3. discuss needs and solutions only when the Buying Decision Team buys in to change (and are made ready in ½ the time by the seller);
4. marketing automation and lead gen would lead buyers from an idea to solution choice.
Currently sellers wait, and hope, for a sale to close, following prospects around for months and years without knowing which ones will close and going through hoops and time wastage to ‘close the sale’. Why? Because they sales doesn’t facilitate the private non-solution-related private decision issues along the decision path. So the only prospects who buy are those who show up having already achieved necessary buy in. And, unfortunately, the time it takes them to accomplish this is the length of the sales cycle.
But we can change this. A sales thought leader would have two sets of skills: one to manage change, and one to sell a solution. They would enter the conversation with: “How would you and your buying decision team know when it was time to add new banking services to the ones you’re using for those times your current bank couldn’t support you?” for example. And when the change management/buy in process is completed, their solution would fit in immediately (with no proposals or competition or objections) or not.
So I guess I’m a sales thought leader. But I sure wish there were others in the field to play with. Fighting the status quo has been a dark and lonely job for 25 years. Anyone want to join the leadership team with me?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
Oct. 2, 2014 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,280
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
Oct. 2, 2014 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,102
Disruptive macro trends in technology are impacting and dramatically changing the "art of the possible" relative to supply chain management practices through the innovative use of IoT, cloud, machine learning and Big Data to enable connected ecosystems of engagement. Enterprise informatics can now move beyond point solutions that merely monitor the past and implement integrated enterprise fabrics that enable end-to-end supply chain visibility to improve customer service delivery and optimize supplier management. Learn about enterprise architecture strategies for designing connected systems tha...
Oct. 2, 2014 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,163
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.
Oct. 1, 2014 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,836
Whether you're a startup or a 100 year old enterprise, the Internet of Things offers a variety of new capabilities for your business. IoT style solutions can help you get closer your customers, launch new product lines and take over an industry. Some companies are dipping their toes in, but many have already taken the plunge, all while dramatic new capabilities continue to emerge. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Reid Carlberg, Senior Director, Developer Evangelism at salesforce.com, to discuss real-world use cases, patterns and opportunities you can harness today.
Oct. 1, 2014 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,212
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices – computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be!
Oct. 1, 2014 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,414
Noted IoT expert and researcher Joseph di Paolantonio (pictured below) has joined the @ThingsExpo faculty. Joseph, who describes himself as an “Independent Thinker” from DataArchon, will speak on the topic of “Smart Grids & Managing Big Utilities.” Over his career, Joseph di Paolantonio has worked in the energy, renewables, aerospace, telecommunications, and information technology industries. His expertise is in data analysis, system engineering, Bayesian statistics, data warehouses, business intelligence, data mining, predictive methods, and very large databases (VLDB). Prior to DataArcho...
Oct. 1, 2014 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,113
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
Sep. 30, 2014 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,614
There will be 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020. Today, every manufacturer has a propriety protocol and an app. How do we securely integrate these "things" into our lives and businesses in a way that we can easily control and manage? Even better, how do we integrate these "things" so that they control and manage each other so our lives become more convenient or our businesses become more profitable and/or safe? We have heard that the best interface is no interface. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Co-Founder & CTO at Octoblu, Inc., will discuss how thes...
Sep. 29, 2014 06:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,927
Last week, while in San Francisco, I used the Uber app and service four times. All four experiences were great, although one of the drivers stopped for 30 seconds and then left as I was walking up to the car. He must have realized I was a blogger. None the less, the next car was just a minute away and I suffered no pain. In this article, my colleague, Ved Sen, Global Head, Advisory Services Social, Mobile and Sensors at Cognizant shares his experiences and insights.
Sep. 28, 2014 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,571
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) ir...
Sep. 27, 2014 11:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,949
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT. Attendees will learn rea...
Sep. 27, 2014 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,860
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, will share some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder ...
Sep. 27, 2014 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,323
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to create new business models as significant as those that were inspired by the Internet and the smartphone 20 and 10 years ago. What business, social and practical implications will this phenomenon bring? That's the subject of "Monetizing the Internet of Things: Perspectives from the Front Lines," an e-book released today and available free of charge from Aria Systems, the leading innovator in recurring revenue management.
Sep. 27, 2014 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,546
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges.
Sep. 27, 2014 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,428
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at 6th Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, to discuss how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other mach...
Sep. 27, 2014 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,091
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Erik Lagerway, Co-founder of Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice s...
Sep. 26, 2014 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,618
While great strides have been made relative to the video aspects of remote collaboration, audio technology has basically stagnated. Typically all audio is mixed to a single monaural stream and emanates from a single point, such as a speakerphone or a speaker associated with a video monitor. This leads to confusion and lack of understanding among participants especially regarding who is actually speaking. Spatial teleconferencing introduces the concept of acoustic spatial separation between conference participants in three dimensional space. This has been shown to significantly improve comprehe...
Sep. 26, 2014 10:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,536
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, will discuss single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example...
Sep. 26, 2014 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,349
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...
Sep. 26, 2014 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,732