There are a lot of “truths” about sales bandied about on social media by people who have a something to gain if your believe their half truths. Here are some to watch for.
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- Buyers are spending their time researching: I am sure there are some people in purchasing departments somewhere researching something they need to purchase for their company. My experience tells me that most decision-makers are not. If there is information parity between you and your prospective client, you are doing sales wrong.
- Buyers are well-educated and well-informed: About many things, yes. About you and your industry and the choices that available to them when it comes to producing better results, not so much. Buyers have experience when they repurchase, and most of their education is gained through the experience of having bought and used a service.
- Buyers are spending their time on social sites: There are surely some people in business with buying roles that are engaged on social sites. What you’ll find to be true is that the higher up the organizational charts you climb, the fewer people you will find spending their time on social sites.
- Buyers now control the process: If buyers knew how to get the results they needed, they’d already be getting those results. When a buyer has a process, it’s called an RFP. What you sell is surely being commoditized, this process will never serve you, and it rarely serves the company well. You can still control the process if you initiate it.
- Marketing is going to generate your leads: Marketing creates awareness. When things go well, they generate leads. The other half of this truth is that those leads will not be enough for you to grow your business. Sales is about opportunity creation as much as it is about opportunity capture.
- Marketing automation can nurture your relationships: Marketing can automate messages. Nurturing is something different. You don’t nurture a lead. You nurture a relationship. Your prospects don’t have any relationships with anyone in your marketing department. When they have a need, they are not calling marketing. People nurture relationships with other people.
- Inbound is better than outbound: Inbound can be enormously helpful. But it isn’t better than targeting your dream clients, building relationships over time, developing a case for change, and winning your dream client. Outbound still rules the roost.
- Salespeople are only necessary to close opportunities: Why, sir, so few opportunities then? If inbound isn’t working, and marketing doesn’t generate leads, where are the opportunities you need going to come from? Salespeople are necessary to create opportunities. That commitment comes way before the commitment to buy.
- The best salespeople should not prospect: Closers. Sure. Whatever. The person with the greatest ability to create value for their dream client should prospect and they should be engaged early in the process, where deals are won and lost. Saving the best salesperson for the end of the process and allowing them not to prospect is a bad idea.
- There will be fewer salespeople in the future: This is a half truth. If your model is transactional, this is almost certainly true. Where you model is high trust, high value, and high caring, this is not true. In fact, there is already a shortage of salespeople with the necessary skill sets to sell in businesses with these models.
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