Monday, April 12, 2021

The Post Covid19 Sales - Can We Get Rid of Quotas?

The selling profession after Covid19: 
"We have to start doing what was said we were doing but never did."

We're all talking about the "new" ways to sell.  

Covid19 is forcing galactic shifts in the way we do business; from the back-office to the sales trenches. What I find striking is the more we talk about what needs to be done in a post Covid19 sales engagement, the more we find the basic selling skills apply more than ever.

Here a few of the concepts and skills presented over the decades regarding sales and selling:

  • Build Trust
  • Attract Like-Minded Prospects
  • Consult
  • Be the Trusted advisor
  • Increase Your Business Acumen
The books, lectures, and classes of the past decades all told us to be more of a consultant and expert in our industry. Lately, in the last decade, salespeople have been told to become thought leaders, create content, find a 'good match', and help the prospect in their purchasing journey.

We've been saying it for decades.  These are basic skills. Now is the time to ACTUALLY do what we been saying we do.  Engage the basics, get to the root of the art of selling.  Once we do this, virtual selling will return to 'Selling'.

We continued to sell on features and functions.  We utilized contract expiration dates as motivation to continue with us.  At the end of the month, we cut our price and threw in a fresh-baked pie to get the deal.

It isn't like we didn't have the chance to transform in the past. Consider:

  • 911 removed receptionists and separated us with bulletproof glass.  But our script didn't change
  • The Great Recession shook us to the core.  But our script didn't change.
  • Covid19 forced us behind glass - our words muffled behind fear.  Has your script, today?
In the end - we did nothing more than fill quotas.  

But the times have truly changed...this time.

Virtual selling, or selling remote has forced us to finally do, what we were trained to do, but never really did.

To be fair, it wasn't that we didn't believe in the philosophy of selling with a prospect vs. selling to a prospect.  Real sales professionals work with a prospect, defining the needs and benefits of a partnership, but when it came to the real 'need' of the salesperson, one need only look to the monthly quota.

In the end, after all the high-talk, when in the field, we must hit quota by "any means possible".

So the real change isn't to re-establish the basics.  The real change will be in how these new, highly professional, virtual selling experts are compensated.

Be cautious of the firms who change their talk track, and nothing more.  Covid19 moved us three years into the technology future in just 12 months.  How can anyone expect to go back to normal?  There is no normal.  So why do we want to treat our salespeople the same way we did in 2019?

The answer?  High salary, quarterly bonuses.  No hardware gates, no gates at all.

There was a time, not long ago, when decision-makers felt employees working from home would result in lower productivity, lack of creativity, and the demise of corporate moral/employee happiness. Covid19 them wrong on all accounts.

In 2019, sales managers and ownership believed professional salespeople were 'coin operated' and only motivated by the commissions they acquired when meeting quota.  Could it be, like their mistaken notions about employee productivity, they are wrong about what makes selling professional tick?  Could it be, real professionals, enjoy the process?  Of course, high compensation should be expected, after all, we're asking them to perform in a dynamic environment, become an expert, a consultant, and help companies move forward in partnership.

The sun is setting on the quota.

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