Sales people, you’re fired!

There are many who look at social strategies as transforming a business to the point that it will no longer require traditional sales people.  I disagree with these somewhat utopian views of the world but did want to take a moment to note a couple of very important points.

One recent post notes:

“Social businesses don’t have a role for a traditional salesforce anymore as the end-to-end process-driven model takes over.  Today’s salesforces will be replaced by cadres of independent sales people that have only one purpose: relationship brokers.”

  • There will be a few businesses that transition deeply into this model.  Real estate brokers, stock brokers, and the like, already follow this model, the good ones anyway.  The strongest will survive, their relationship building behaviors will be replicated (as they already are).
  • Do not expect a wide-scale transformation across all industries and markets.  The idea, while interesting, will not scale.  Great sales people do much more than simply build relationships and they are not as commonplace as we would want.

The writer also notes:

“It becomes a win-win situation, one of the aims of a customer-centric model, where the customers get value from the products or services and the social business gets an even exchange of value in the form of money.  In addition, these are the transactions that over time lead to emotional loyalty, the aim of a social business.”

This is critical in today’s business world, not just in tomorrow’s “social business”.  Customers that do not receive value for their money will not be customers for long.  It is an excellent point, however.  You may make money selling inferior product services, for a time.  If you want your business to survive for many years you need to get back to the basics:

  • Deliver a product or service that meets a true need.
  • Hire a great team.
  • Clearly communicate the company’s goals to employees, potential customers, and anyone else who will listen.
  • Develop strategies to achieve the goals you set forth.
  • Execute flawlessly.
  • Measure, adjust strategies and tactics based upon the results being achieved.
  • Hope for some luck.  Having been through a few startups I can tell you that luck helps.  Call it timing if you prefer, but great ideas, great execution, can sometimes fail if the idea is too early or you bring on the wrong board, the wrong management team, the wrong staff.

Sounds pretty simple, right.  I guess we’ll need those sales people after all.


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Filed under: Random thoughts Tagged: management, Social Strategies

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