I’m always fascinated by the world of sports and how world-class athletes time their optimal form at the right time and the right place. Can you imagine Cristiano Ronaldo or Lewis Hamilton (F1 driver) doing their practice only during a match or during the racing day? Can you imagine putting Jose Mourinho (football manager) to stay in his office and asking their football players for reports and expect results at the end of the quarter? Can you imagine that Real Madrid or Red Bull Racing don’t hire people responsible for taking care of their athletes, not thinking how they’re going to perform, not training them every day and taking their time and effort to do mentorship or coaching?
Why do we think that it should be different in sales?
Because, for most companies sales is perceived as the bottom of the organization and they are responsible for the dirty work, that is, pushing the customers to buy their product or services.
And when results are not aligned with the expectations, organizations s tend to run a multiple days sales training boot camp hoping that it will magically give some results.
Look, I really liked playing football, but I’m wasn’t a top performer. Could five days of training help me to be a better football player? Probably yes, but the impact would be minor because we can’t change our behaviours and our performance overnight. Again, why should it be different in sales?
Yes, yes Hrvoje we understand you, but our people really need to sell, they don’t have time for training. This is completely normal since quotas are usually driving the behaviours and the only thing sales are thinking about is closing the deals.
I can’t describe how many times we were approached by the technology/consulting vendors (also biggest ones) and then their experienced sellers come unprepared, don’t understand the sales enablement industry, talking about their company and their “solutions” and push us to make decisions we don’t want to do.
Sadly, this way of selling is glorified in the sales community where sales are concentrated on their product (“solution”) and the perceived value that doesn’t resonate with the buyers. On top of that, we have an SDR community that engage with enterprises like small companies. like. Sadly, every meeting is counted as the same and there isn’t any standard for working with the customers.
Thinking about sales in a different way
First, sales is a performance profession. It’s a profession like any other, it’s like being a doctor, footballer, F1 driver or lawyer, but usually, customers see the sales profession as someone to avoid. Why? Because of the history and old way of thinking that doesn’t resonate with the current reality. And the majority of the companies are still using the old way of thinking on sales.
On the other hand, sales is all about performance, closing deals and bringing revenue to the company. But to achieve that sales should be ready to do it in the most effective ways and it requires a totally new skill such as critical thinking, problem finding and solving, psychology, creativity, communication, curiosity, being a trusted advisor, challenging the customers, asking the effective questions, project management, coachability and teaching customers how to buy.
But today’s sellers are pushed to outreach with generic candances, pitching the products, making unlimited amounts of demos, sending business proposals, giving discounts, comparing features with competitors, and hoping that this will help them close deals.
And then we expect different results using the same approach that cause them?
What is role of enablement in organizations?
Enablement is usually seen as someone who creates content and training for the sales organization, which is not bad, but content and training don’t close deals and improve performance itself. Enablement is a cultural thing, which means that enablement should be responsible to bring a proper sales culture/identity to the organization by teaching how to sell more humanly without insulting the customer’s intelligence. New culture brings new sets of ideas, beliefs, values and behaviours on how to sell in a more aligned way with the current world. Content, training, coaching, skills, behaviours and technology are just vehicles to get there and it usually comes when we have the right mindset. So I would see it as a cost, but also as an investment in the companies future. My view of future enablement is that we’re stewards of the best practices and keeper of the sales culture in a company. But this profession is still far from it, but with the right approach, miracles can happen.
Food for thought
If you are working in sales or working with sales try to give answers to below questions:
- How do I see sales and is it aligned with the current reality?
- What is the current sales culture in my company?
- Are you treating the sales organization as a cost centre or as a revenue generator?
- What can I do differently starting from now?