Mistakenly, he believes that access to information and peer feedback are the only thing people are going to use to make their buying decisions. And he just may be correct when the cost of acquiring something is low and the risk minimal. But this isn’t true in a complex sale. Where greater value can be created and risk is significant, the Internet isn’t terrific at creating the right level of value.
He also believes the data (data which I believe to be deeply flawed, self-serving, and erroneous) that up to 60% of a buying decision is made before talking to a supplier and 90% of the buying cycle is complete. If this last point is true, then more sales organizations and salespeople have stopped prospecting and nurturing their dream clients than I would have ever imagined. And if that last point is true, you should right now be experiencing a massive increase in incoming calls from people who have all but decided to hire you. [Note: The sound you hear is the sound of your phone not ringing.]
This CEO has replaced salespeople with a “customer success team” that he believes offers a different experience because of their consultative approach and because their intentions are pure. This CEO doesn’t understand that salespeople lead when it comes to customer success, and that most take a consultative approach. Mistakenly, he believes his customer success team is more dedicated to his customer’s success than a salesperson who would stand to gain financially for making a sale. I defy you to find me anyone outside of the salesperson who is more concerned about their customer getting the outcome they paid for than the salesperson. But it’s not about their commission; it’s about their word.
But here’s where this all goes horribly wrong for this CEO. He suggests that he has no quota (see Dave Brock), that his “customer success” team does not prospect (see me, me, me, Dave Brock, Mike Weinberg), and he says that they “don’t know commissions.” He believes that salespeople are “hurtful to long-term customer relationships,” and that paying for their developing these relationships is the cause of the harm.
This CEO believes that people crave honesty and don’t want to be sold, especially something they don’t need, dredging up a stereotype from three decades ago, and one long disconnected from reality. He believes collaboration is key, as if this is something that good salespeople aren’t doing every day.
Be warned, hunters, you have no place working for this CEO. He has said so.
But not to worry. If you want to prospect, if you want to collaborate with your dream clients, if you create way more value than an internet brochure ever could, and if you want to be paid for the value you create, you will never be without a home. This CEO should hope that you don’t find a home across the street.
About 6 months ago I received a call from a company who wanted to talk about prospecting. Right now, their biggest challenge is that they have more leads than they can handle. But their EVP of Sales recognized that the leads are starting to dwindle–and no one on his team knows how to open a relationship or an opportunity.
As the greatest American philosopher, Mike Tyson, has said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”