Are Todays Sales People Just Not as Good as They Used to Be
Give us the blunt truth. Are sales people getting worse at their jobs?
No, it’s not that sales people are getting worse, it’s that in too many cases their managers expect them to do what they did in the past and deliver the same results.
The rules of sales have changed. Back in 1991 when I began my career, sales people were the primary source of information for customers. It was their job to know all about the product. Buyers had no other way of learning about what was on offer. Today that is no longer the case. The internet offers a proliferation of information. A recent Forrester report said 60 per cent of buyers prefer to self-source, up from 50 per cent the year before. The traditional sales role of providing information is obsolete, yet that’s what sales people are trained to do.
Second, the personal nature of sales has changed. Years ago the sales person would hunt down the person responsible for buying – the decision maker. And you’d stay in touch with that contact for years, building a relationship as they were promoted from IT sales manger to CIO. Today one in five decision-makers changes roles each year. It’s chaos! It’s so much harder to build that relationship when there’s no job stability.
Sales people that don’t adapt to the new rules will struggle.