Salespeople as a Dreaded Virus

When I was 12, a cold would last for 3-4 days. If I became sick, it could last a week.  The last three years, my colds have annoyed me for two months.  I thought it was just me but when I talk with others, I learn that their colds are lasting for months too.  It’s as if the viruses have become stronger, and more resilient, while at the same time, our immune systems have weakened.  But what do I know about that stuff?  I’m not a doctor.

As usual, I see a correlation here to sales.

Salespeople as the dreaded virus: Prospects and customers have become more resilient to salespeople, while sale cycles are taking longer. From what I’ve witnessed, the immune systems of salespeople have not compensated for these changes as more and more salespeople struggle to adjust to the new way of selling. Webinars, email, LinkedIn, video messaging, private business networks and more play a big part in connecting salespeople to prospects.  Google, company web sites and Blogs play a big part in educating prospects about the offerings of various companies.  Salespeople need to 1) connect, 2) identify problems, 3) qualify, 4) present cost and needs appropriate solutions, and 5) close.  Most salespeople are quite ineffective at #1,2,3 and 5.

As a matter of fact, we were having a dialog this morning about one of the changes that impact salespeople who call on the executive offices.  Ten years ago, if those salespeople couldn’t get past a gatekeeper, they couldn’t reach their prospects – period.  Today, gatekeepers are barely relevant.  You can go directly to your prospect’s voice mail where you have complete and total control over your message – exactly what you want them to hear and in your own voice.  Of course, if your message sucks they won’t call you back.

How have things for the sales force changed at your company or in your industry?