To Sell Now, How Much Better Do You Have To Be?

Business Week’s Matthew Boyle has a post titled The Changing Nature of Sales on a new Watson Wyatt poll of Sales Executives. The money quote:

While historically sales teams have largely been assessed on “pure sales” metrics like revenue and volume, many companies are now taking the opportunity to shift to a more sophisticated set of measures that includes customer profitability, customer retention, and lead conversion rates. Companies are also shifting their focus to assess whether each and every customer is worth the risk.

How Much Better?

Historically, sales has led the charge for client acquisition, top-line growth, and sometimes bottom-line growth. But as sales continues to grow up and take it’s rightful place in business, how much better do you have to be?

How much better do you have to be to understand and control individual customer profitability? How much better do you have to be to orchestrate the team that is going to ensure you retain the customers you and your company need to succeed in the future? How much better do you have to be to be compensated on lead conversion rates while also being compensated on the conflicting metric of individual customer profitability?

And remember, you are still going to be responsible for prospecting, acquiring new clients, top-line growth and all that you have been charged with before now.

The Answer

To succeed in sales now, you are going to have to be a Hell of a lot better.

There is no question that the responsibilities are shifting to front line sales, especially in business-to-business sales. This isn’t your daddy’s sales job; he wouldn’t recognize it. You’d better get better, and you’d better get better fast.

Embrace the change, acquire the skill sets, take on the responsibilities, and collect the rewards that come with it.

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