Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The #SalesRevolutionRebellion Is a Farce

The fake "sales revolution" attacks symptoms, not the cause.




"Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that one's on top. And on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground."

Rebels and Revolutions - 



When individuals declare independence from tyranny, they put their lives, and the lives of their families on the line, risking everything for revolution, for future generations' independence.

For freedom.

Today, there's talk of a "Sales Revolution". Insurgents take to the nearest pulpit espousing "changing the way sales is done..." by being open, real, authentic, a trusted advisor, partnering to solve client problems - not a con-man.  Noble efforts.

For them, it's not nine to five; it's always too always, elevator pitches, value propositions, and increasing effort 10 fold.

There are literally THOUSANDS of sales coaches and trainers in the world today.

Here are a few of the folks I respect and follow. Some are calling for sales a "revolution".  A few pitch themselves as 'rebels', "Leading the Sales Revolution":

All are passionate and committed to their specialty contributing great content to the realm.

But -

EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF SELLING ADVICE IS MISSING THE POINT.

I'm not recommending the current sales training and consulting efforts are not valid.  I'm just saying there is so much more that can be done to 'save the industry'.

Of Smoke and Ice -

"Speeds, Feeds, Quota's, Commissions, Solutions. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that one's on top. And on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground."



The sales revolution is an insidious movement because it is based on truth. Bad sales skills, low motivation, poor relationship building, aggressive attitudes, boring pitches, tedious corporate introductions, unoriginal talk-tracks, are real, yet each a  SYMPTOM of the sickness, not the cause -  - indeed, going to war against "bad selling practices" amounts to self-hate.

We're revolting against the wrong enemy.

The Real Monster -

"Xerox, Canon, Ricoh, HP, Lexmark. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that one's on top. And on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground."


The idea is simple, the mission tragic - manufacturers' selling models must be taken down, defeated.  While we fight among ourselves over who can save selling, the real archenemy plods forward, assimilating more and more into its ranks.

Break The Wheel

WE DON'T NEED A SALES TRAINING REVOLUTION, WE NEED A REVOLUTION AGAINST THE ESTABLISHMENT.

It's the OEMs who push equipment quotas down the channel, and not just copier OEMs - every manufacturer has the same, Materials Resource Planning (MRP) based systems.

The model utilizes the following:

  • MRP based quotas
  • "Fear Uncertainty and Doubt"
  • Purposely confusing and ever-shifting, commission plans
  • "Kill it and Grill it" mentality
  • Adversarial Selling construct 
  • "Where there is mystery, there is margin"
  • "67% of salespeople do not reach quota"
  • Features and benefits training
  • Solution Selling
  • Sales Techniques...
A real Revolution(with a capital R) doesn't attack the symptoms, it takes on the creators of the Wheel. The hierarchies are organically crumbling, digitally transforming - gravity is drawing the towers down, but they fight.

As long as we continue to harp on old-fashioned ideas, as long as we concentrate on "new", non-standard training topics, we keep the chaos going - and that's just fine with the zombie kings. The dusted-off,  selling retreads are like 'opiates for the masses' keeping the "little people" hypnotized in their insecurities.

Do you want to lead a true revolution?  Then revolt against:

  • Stodgy commission structures
  • Outdated quota schemes
  • Product-based, solution selling
  • OEM dogma
Are you a self-proclaimed leader of the revolution?  Then:

  • Produce videos telling the establishment to stop pushing old-fashioned ideas and programs.
  • Write articles outlining the challenges of terrible infrastructure and processes.
  • Establish standard, salary influencing, sales training certifications.
Embark the battle between independent selling professionals and corporate structures - it is time.

Unfortunately,  this two-dimensional skirmish is nothing compared to what's coming.  The next titan of turbulence holds enough power to wash away 50% of the sales universe.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Conversations with Your Prospects: Is Your #MPS #Sales Approach Missing the Mark?


My name is Greg Walters and I’ve worked in the technology sector since 1988. I've sold and configured and installed networks, accounting software, servers, PCs, laptops, manufacturing systems, corporate identity programs, copiers, EDM, BPO, Scan/Fax/Print, managed print and IT services.

Since 2007, I’ve helped providers build managed print practices, more importantly, I’ve assisted corporations (your prospects) design, build and implement self-managed MPS programs. I’ve been shoulder to shoulder with my clients (your prospects), in Canon, Ricoh, Lexmark, HP, Staples, Xerox and dealer MPS presentations. I’ve seen the best manufacturers have to offer and helped my clients choose the right partner. I’ve also been privy to the conversations and critiques from clients after each vendor presentation – I’ve heard some pretty enlightening things.

Whatever category the dealership falls into – copier, MPS, Managed IT—and whether the job title reads account representative or Vice President of Sales, these mistakes were made by the most seasoned MPS representatives.

Read the rest, here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

New to Copier Sales: You're Not the Boss of Me


Over the years, I have worked with dozens of sales managers. Unfortunately, I can only count two who possessed a skillset above and beyond that of a typical manager. The terrible managers shared a plethora of common traits — boorish, disengaged, privileged, etc. But the best managers also shared characteristics and habits:

They didn’t perform the salesperson’s job — like filling out paperwork — when it would have been more expedient to do so.

They knew how to play office politics to the benefit of the sales department while supporting company goals.

Although they possessed selling skills, they were not selling managers.

They didn’t use foul language and bully people into submission.

At the very top of the heap, the best managers will remove obstacles to your personal success. This is key. A great sales manager limits nonselling activities like vendor training, administration meetings, sales meetings and irrelevant paperwork. Additionally, a good sales manager keeps your service manager on top of installs, handles accounts receivable issues and works for you when commissions are calculated.

Read the rest, here.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Why did #WashingtonPost Choose Oklahoma Bombing Over 9/11 Towers?


"The Washington Post's moving Super Bowl ad uses the power of Tom Hanks' voice to defend journalism..."
-Marcus Gilmer, Mashable, February 3, 2019

How bad has it become when the press runs an advertisement promoting and defending...the press?

Pretty bad.

Worse, the self-serving Washington Post missive displays why the Fourth Estate is alienating audiences and losing relevancy.

The minute-long piece begins with a vision of D-Day, scrolling from the Moon to a state funeral and into "When our nation is threatened..."  This is where I stopped paying attention, contemplating the image used to portray "...our nation is threatened...".  Something didn't sit right.  I recognized the site instantly, yet felt those around me would be challenged to remember the historical value.


While Tom Hanks delivers, "When our nation is threatened..." a shot of the 1995 Oklahoma Bombing fades in.

The bombing was a domestically motivated attack on a US government building, carried out by a madman who was caught, tried and executed.

Why use a 1995 incident to depict our nation under threat?

How many viewers recognize this vision?

1995.

Can you think of an image, in this century, that conveys the clear message of "our nation is threatened"? Be assured, the Washington Post engaged a team of highly paid, publicity EXPERTS.  They chose every shot, each word, background audio, musical pace and voice attenuation for a reason - a specific emotional appeal.

Why choose a domestically charged event, 24 years in the past?  Are there no other images that might convey a more poignant message?

Why yes. Yes there are...


A reasonable person would ask, "Why would the Washington Post choose not to use a 9/11 image at this point of the commercial?" Surely, the option was reviewed and rejected.

This is not nuance.

This not an accident.

Perhaps it is simply a reflection of a tone deaf effort - or the output of a nefarious cabal.  There are two ways our nation comes under threat: from the outside and from within.  The Washington Post chose internal danger over external threats, and this is most illuminating.

Does the US media consider internal, domestic challenges greater than global threats?

Or is the media purposefully ignoring external dangers in order to forward an agenda of domestic fear? Perhaps to perpetuate the belief that all the ills in the world are because of the US.

The US public has grown tired to the arrogant, media-state and supporting political players.  It must be striking a chord somewhere in those ivory towers - or else there wouldn't be so many lectures masquerading as commercials this year.

"Knowing empowers us..."


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Another Reason You Don't Need a #Copier



Noodle this: How often do you walk over to a machine, place an original on glass, push a button and make a copy? The archaic organizations, state and local government, schools and churches, need not reply or read on - everyone else, stop and think. How many times a day do you make walk-up copies? “Many.” is the usual answer.

At some point in history, the average copies made per device was around 10k/week. Think about it. Do you copy 10,000 documents a week? Do you know your machine was designed to handle that level of volume? Seriously, take a day or a week and monitor the number of times and document types your staff is copying.

Let’s go deeper.

Observe the grandeur that is your office copier - paper drawers, nearby recycling bin - its big, domineering, and physically impressive. Open the lid. The flat piece of glass is called a “platen”. How big is your platen and when was the last time you used it? How many walk-up, 11x17 copies do you produce in a year?

Deeper, still.

Now, walk over to your accounts payable department, dig through one of those big filing cabinets and find your monthly copier bills - look for the lease invoice. Because you’re with a typical copier provider, finding your lease payment could take a while. I’ll wait…

Still waiting…

Okay, do the math. Why are you paying for features and functions you do not use? Better yet, ask yourself, “Why was I SOLD capabilities I never use?”

When you do make copies, I’m guessing the majority of documents originate outside your organization, are letter size, initiate a process and are finally filed away.

So here’s an idea. When your lease expiration date comes up - you’ll know its close by the increased number of voicemails, unannounced drop-by’s, and invites to 'technology luncheons’ your current copier rep hits you with - go to the inter webs and start pricing out ‘workgroup’ scanners. While you're at it, check into the latest Epson or HP inkjet printers. Why not replace that $200-$400 monthly lease payment with a fast scanner and an efficient printer?

Install a printer and a stand alone scanner.

When the need for an actual, real copy comes up, simply scan the document and print a copy. Now you’ve got a digital version of the original that can be printed or emailed and filed away.

As an added bonus, you've just taken your first baby-steps into the digital workflow realm.

"Everybody from the 313..."

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

#AdvanceCapture: A Simple Thing To Make Your Managed Print Services Better

I get asked this all the time, “What’s new in Managed print services?”

My response, “Nothing.”

Sure, commodity-based service, re-tread billing schemes and dropping margins could be considered ‘new’.  Let’s not forget software's latest consolidation – How comfortable are you with ONE company owning PrintAudit, PrintFleet, & FMAudit?

The internet has added new aspects to sales: Now days customers can know more about your solutions than you do and even purchase supplies on Amazon.

It is hard out here for MPS. I know.

I’ve often suggested providing additional services under the MPS moniker: Behavioral Modification/Rules, folding managed IT into MPS, branching out into other recurring revenue arena’s like water and coffee, even suggesting Telehealth as a growth area.

Some ideas took hold, others really didn’t resonate.  But today, it is difficult to make MPS shinny.  How does one engage more managed print services when there’s nothing new in MPS?  Sell on price - a losing proposition.

Fear not.  

I’ve got a stellar idea for diversification.  One that is not radically different, does not require getting out of your comfort zone and is already proven.

Hang on to your hats – I’m suggesting we embed ‘advance capture’ inside every managed print services contract.

Radical, isn’t it?

I know what you’re thinking, “Advance Capture is too expensive, complicated and time consuming to include in a simple MPS conversation.  Normally, I’d agree with you.  For example, Kofax is a commanding, encompassing, soup to nuts, workflow and capture solution.  Expensive and complicated, it is a powerful robot.  Not something you want to pitch in the 15 to 100 printer deals, right?

Yeah, I know.

I’m suggesting you start selling a package that is really easy to install and use.  One that embeds on a slew of MFP’s, integrates with the biggest EDM systems and works well in the SMB.

Imagine an MPS engagement that includes smart scanning, SharePoint and Office365, connecting  paper-based workflows, inbound emails and faxes to document management systems, databases, corporate file servers and content management applications.   This new type of MPS is more difficult to dislodge (“sticky”) and truly helps your clients beyond proactive monitoring and automatic toner replenishment.

Such a thing might be difficult to believe, but I just got off the phone with somebody who, in twenty minutes, put together a custom proof of concept (not a demo) and after another 22-minute review with a SMB prospect and dealer (remotely) closed a capture and routing engagement. 

It’s easy. It’s proven, affordable and the builds margin.  You remember margin, don’t you?

The name of the package is Scanshare, established in Europe, making its way into the US, and from what I can see, lighting in a bottle:
           
  • Affordable – Purchased, on-premises software.  No license or subscription.
  • Independent – Not caught up in the industry consolidation.
  • Easy to Use – Graphic and simple to set-up
  • Powerful - analyzes, processes and route the digital documents
I like this option for dealers and clients alike.  If you want to learn more, reach out to me directly or hit up my friend Frank Malloch.

Watch this all the way through.  If you don't get it, I hope some day you will.


The creative process. Producing a song or putting together a real, honest, organic solution...it is all the same...