Sales people talk to potential and current customers strictly from a sales perspective. And here’s the bite. They are coached from that perspective as well.
As a result, sales people do not appreciate the factors, context and history which preceded today’s sale to each, distinct customer. Consequently, customer retention strategy is compromised moving forward. Why? Your sales people have zero ability to extrapolate how the consequences of today’s sale play out in that customer’s future. Ouch!
This conversation may not be pretty. However, it is brutally honest as we head towards the end of the first quarter. Or any selling quarter.
Especially for the type of complex selling required for the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) ecosystem. Then again, even if you sell widgets, chances are those widgets now have sensors attached. Sensors which generate data collected and stored in the cloud.
Since everything and everyone is connected to everything else these days, isn’t it time to decide just what it is that your sales force actually is selling?
First, stuck in the middle sales mindset is exacerbated by leads generation programs which consider everyone as fair game for customer acquisition. Where is that mindset coming from? The top? From old school legacy sales mindset?
Then ponder how your sales teams acquire their leads. Downloads of white papers and other content marketing assets? Business cards placed in fish bowls at trade shows? Marketing automation email blasts to the universe? Appointment setting agencies paid per set appointment versus intelligently identifying truly qualified leads?
If so, the majority of sales people have blind faith that the leads they receive are the “right leads” with the “right decision maker” with the “right companies”. Or perhaps they do not want to put more energy into their own prospecting efforts.
Top performers actively engage in executing on their own leads generation strategy.
There are really good reasons for their actions. Stuck in the middle sales mindset is not a characteristic of top sellers. Here’s why.
- First, top sales performers do their own homework instead of relying on being fed “qualified leads.”
- Then, top sellers read daily news, general and industry-related, generated by various resources.
- These top sales folks are skeptical, too. They know the difference between information that is fake or, at best, alternative; marcom materials featuring embellished or biased factoids and infographics; and then again, information that is real, relevant and valuable to customers.
- Finally, top sales people are life-long learners with a lot of common sense. They realize that the information and insights they learned yesterday may not be appropriate to customer acquisition and retention today and tomorrow.
Stuck in the middle sales mindset keeps you spinning your sales wheels and stuck where you are, instead of positively impacting long-term customer retention strategy.
Yes, we all “know” that 80% of sales productivity tends to be generated by 20% of the sales people. Their productivity is no random event.
Stuck in the middle sales mindset characterizes the folks who are stuck in the middle when it comes to evaluation of overall sales performance, quarter after quarter. Their sales efforts focus on making their numbers each quarter, instead of doing what’s right for the customer, over a customer’s lifecycle.
Stuck in the middle sales mindset gets your organization good and stuck in the middle at best, competitively.
Ponder, however, what happens when “mediocre” sales performers get themselves “unstuck.”
You know who I am talking about: the sales people making anywhere from 20-79% of their numbers each quarter. How does a 10% overall increase in sales performance impact your top and bottom lines?
Mediocre sales performers tend to not have a big picture perspective of the complex sales process. They are in the moment and always selling features, benefits and products.
Stuck in the middle sales people view their selling efforts as isolated events in that customer’s experience. ~ Babette Ten Haken
The hallmark of complex selling into IIoT (industrial Internet of Things) ecosystems is about taking an expanded perspective of the relevance and value of what you sell. To the entire organization. And not just today. But throughout the product, platform, service and customer lifecycle.
If you want to get your sales force liberated from stuck in the middle sales mindset, become less myopic for starters. Then consider a hiring strategy that’s tailor-made for the IIoT business ecosystem.
Just sayin’. Your thoughts?
Planning your next team, corporate or association meeting? Searching for a one-on-one catalyst to get you unstuck? Engage me to present a One Millimeter Mindset ™ program! Delivered virtually or in-person. Contact me here.
I am an extroverted STEM professional and left-brain thinker specializing in professional innovation, cross-functional leadership and client retention. I catalyze professionals to translate across communication and collaboration disconnects. Become more professionally visible, cross-functionally relevant and strategically valuable to your organizations. Better serve each other first so you better serve your clients together. One millimeter at a time. My One Millimeter Mindset™ virtual and in-person speaking programs leverage Voice of the Customer design methodology and storytelling to move individuals, teams, departments and organizations one millimeter beyond yesterday’s tools and today’s professional comfort zones My playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact me here.