In the company culture of Lesson.ly, new members of the Sales Team receive a special manifesto. A Startup Sales Manifesto is what it's called. And it's awesome. It begins like this,
Sales is hard.
Walk down the street and ask a stranger the first word that comes to mind when they think of "sales" and you can pretty much fill in the blank with _________(persuasion, fast talkers, deception, commission).
I was scared of these things when I started "selling", but what I've learned is this: sales doesn't have to be that way. In fact, it really can't be that way if you want to be successful.
Dan Pink has said that, "Like it or not, we're all in sales now." And boy that is true. So this fear of starting selling, is one you must overcome. Why? The author of this manifesto, Connor Burt, explains that at Lesson.ly, "The times you'll feel most alive is when you put the team before any one individual. We'll agree on a clear mountain to climb, and we'll start manically focusing on how to reach the summit."
Why is Lesson.ly on this path? Burt gives us a few reasons:
- The people are wonderful. "You may not know everyone yet, but I can tell you we have, at the core, a team that is unlike any other you will work with."
- There is a thrill in competition. "I'm not talking about competition with each other; I'm talking about competition with ourselves and with our competitors."
- We have an unbelievable amount to learn. "...if you grab the opportunity that's here, you will sharpen a skill-set that will be invaluable and rewarding."
- You've joined the underdog for a reason. "Joining the underdog is thrilling because you beat the odds. You battle skepticism. You master the art of humble confidence because there will be limited belief outside of this pack."
The best part of this journey is that you are the fuel that drives this ship forward. And when we're collectively getting the job done, we will make enough money, we will become better humans, and we will have enough time and autonomy to pursue the joys getting us up in the morning.
This manifesto by Connor Burt, is brilliant, and it shows a kind of company culture that is positive and gives its employees room to mess up but continue to try.
Find Connor: LinkedIn
In Shep Hyken's article, Hyken introduces his topic by reminding the audience how it wasn't long ago that there "were just two ways someone could buy something; either in a store or through the mail - if you were willing to wait four to six weeks for delivery." Today online orders arrive in the mail in usually a few days.
Not only is how we buy changing, but what we buy has changed also.
In many cases, technology is the driving force behind our changing behavior.
One example to back this up, is that at the recent IBM Amplify conference in San Diego, a Facebook representative presented that chewing gum sales were down last year by ten percent.
Why? What's the real reason behind deflating gum sales? Mobile Phones. "Think about this and it will make total sense. People typically buy chewing gum in the checkout lane at the grocery store. It's purposefully put there to be an impulse buy, along with candy, magazines, and other items in the display."
"But, no longer are you just standing in line and looking around. No, you're standing in line looking at your mobile phone...You're now preoccupied with an activity that has your mind so engaged you may not even notice the chewing gum display."
The part of the customer's journey that included the wait at the checkout lane has changed, forcing companies to adjust.
How else is technology impacting the behavior of customers? More importantly, how is technology specifically changing the way your customer does business with you and your company?
In Frank V. Cespedes and Steve Maughan's article, the authors say that, "All businesses face opportunity costs. In the case of a sales organization, money, time, and effort allocated to accounts A and B are resources not available for accounts C, D, and so on. That reality drives the distinction between effectiveness (optimization by doing the right things) and efficiency (doing things right)..."
Sales efficiency initiatives like:
- KPI dashboards
all improve the engine's horsepower.
Sales optimization decisions like:
- aligning sales tasks with business strategy
- customer selection
- sales force deployment across opportunities
all set the direction in which the car will travel.
If a car is going in the wrong direction, getting there faster is not the solution.
Once you learn the difference between sales efficiency decisions and sales optimization decisions, and once you "appreciate the importance of sales optimization, you need to focus on four capabilities, which will help you form a foundation on which to build a productive sales culture." The four capabilities are:
- A strategy and planning process
- Cost-to-serve and cusomer selection."All customers are not equal, and prioritizing customers is how firms make real the crucial "scope" component of a coherent strategy."
- Knowing sales capacity and allocation of effort
- Good or helpful performance reviews
It's not our intention to discourage efficiency improvements. but ultimately there is no such thing as effective selling, no matter how efficient versus a benchmark, if it is not linked to your strategic goals.
Find Frank: LinkedIn
Find Steve: LinkedIn
In Bruce Kasanoff's article, Kasonoff says that if the audience watches any television at all, then they know that evil exists in the world. "As a kind-hearted person, you know this in theory, but you remain kind-hearted and generous... until one day you wake up and realize you work with a bunch of sharks." And staying alive, your very survival, depends on finding safer waters.
If you are a kind person surrounded by sharks, move to dry land.
Kasonoff tells a story about a college class he took, where the professor had owned his own pizza shops and decided to make his own pizza sauce.
One day three guys came in to see this professor, and they told him they didn't think he should make his own sauce, "implying that someone they knew had a stake in the sales of pizza sauce in the area."
"What did I do?" The professor asked. And eager young college students shouted ways to out-think the pizza sauce skeptics.
"Are you crazy?" He said. "I stopped making my own sauce."
He knew how to recognize a shark.
In this video on slideshare talking to Lisa Price and Julie Rich, both Price and Rich give important things to consider when finding mentors and identifying them.
- You don't have to have met your mentors-you might just read what they write, but they're still mentoring you.
- You have to be you. Don't try to be them
- Learn from everyone
- Use other influences
Find Lisa: Twitter
Find Julie: Twitter