Raising Sales Force Effectiveness

Conventional wisdom says that the Internet is making sales jobs obsolete, that those sales teams who remain consist primarily of extroverted go-getters and that selling is an art that’s only measured at the end of each fiscal quarter. Unfortunately, conventional wisdom is dead wrong. Scientific research into what actually works—and what doesn’t—inside today’s most effective selling environments reveals that the conventional wisdom about selling is not just incorrect, but a recipe for failure. Here are the four most important things that CEOs need to know about successful selling into today’s unconventional business world.

Superwoman de las ventasRecogido de Chief Executive.net en el Boletín Electrónico de CEDE; Escriben Howard Stevens y Geoffrey James

Fact 1: The Internet makes sales professionals more important.

There is no question that the Internet has changed the way companies interact with customers. Customers can now get product information at the same time as the sales rep, not just about the sales rep’s offerings, but the offerings of all of the rep’s competitors. As a result, customers can now configure and order products and manage the shipment of those products across the web without the need of a sales professional.

Conventional wisdom says that this power, in the hands of the customer, should make sales professionals less important. But that turns out not to be the case. Research into how companies are deploying salespeople suggests that the Internet has created a net increase in the demand for sales professionals, but with this proviso: the individuals who thrive in today’s environment must possess a different and more extensive skill set.

Take, for example, the travel industry, which once provided employment for tens of thousands of travel agents whose main responsibility was booking airline tickets. Today, of course, most people make their plane reservations directly online, eliminating the need for professional help. However, despite the commoditization of its key product, demand for travel agents remains high, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rather than making travel agents obsolete, the Internet has created a new market for more complex services (such as luxury travel) to a more sophisticated class of customers. What was once a clerical sales job evolved into a solution-based sales job.

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