In the world of Sales there seems to be a view that certain activities are good and certain activities are bad. When they are bad for some reason you are a lesser person for doing this. And as sales so often is linked to a macho, it seems I am a lesser man for doing these things.
I’ve always been a new business salesperson, the notion of creating something from nothing and enabling a customer to get business benefit appeals to me. I remember my first £1Million plus ($1.3 Million) sale was at Stagecoach. I had no help from Marketing. My background is in selling Enterprise Accounting systems or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) as suppliers like to call it.
A couple of us were sitting in the office, we had a copy of the Financial Times (a UK newspaper focused on business) and we were looking down the stock market listings and we were going through which company had which ERP system. When we got to Stagecoach, nobody knew, so I called them up and the rest is history.
New Business meant I was “out there”, there was no existing relationships, no understanding of the procurement cycles, your role was alchemy. The ability to create gold from nothing. Some people have used the term Rainmaker, but living in the UK I have enough of the rain.
You are Only as Good As Your Last Deal
I’ve head this saying many times and in a way it’s true. As a new business guy I needed leads and meetings and maybe it’s just the companies I worked for but Marketing didn’t ever seem to deliver any, or enough.
In one sales role, on listening to me cold calling a (supposedly older and wiser) sales guy came over and told me I was wasting my time. It was marketing’s job to create leads. I was cold calling when he was called into the office and fired.
Creating Leads from Nothing
As creating leads from nothing was a constant for me, otherwise I would have nothing to close. One of the many tactics I employed was to read as many marketing books that I could. Marketing create leads don’t they, so if I read marketing books I will unlock the knowledge on how to create leads. Alas, no secrets and while I did find out a lot about marketing, I even did a course, I didn’t find out anything I didn’t know already.
So What’s The Secret of Leads and Meetings
The secret is graft or today people call it hustle, hard work pays and in sales, hard work pays well. You have to take control of the lead generation process yourself as there is nobody out there that will help you. Prospecting is key for the sales person and a prospecting culture is critical for any sales leader.
So Cold Calling is the Answer then?
The problem is, that 20 years ago, the world was so much similar. No internet, no mobile, no social media and in fact 20 years ago, there still wasn’t mass acceptance of email.
All of us, as all of us are buyers won’t stand for being interrupted and pitched at by salespeople or adverts or unsolicited email and we don’t go to events as it’s just people pitching. Add to that legislation like GDPR that has killed email marketing and certainly killed push selling. What I mean by that is continually calling somebody asking them to buy. You cannot do that anymore. We also have technology to help us, ad-blockers use grows at 30% year-on-year, if you send me an unsolicited email once, I just create a rule so any future emails go straight into junk or just block you. The same is with cold calls, standard iPhone functionality allows me to block future cold calls.
This is the challenge that marketers are facing every day. The only way they can get the same results next year is to throw more mud and budget at the problem. Marketing is broken and if you don’t see any leads today, you will get less tomorrow and vent less the year after.
Nobody is Coming to Save You!
In Sales nobody can hear you scream, we have CMO after CMO coming to us and saying “Marketing no longer works”. So as a Salesperson what are going to do?
You have to seize control of your own demand generation. This does not make you a lesser salesperson, in fact the opposite, it will propel you into the top tier. You have to get on social. Either you need to get your management to sponsor a social selling program or you need to read a book like “Social Selling – Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers” available on Amazon and is written has a handbook for sales people.
Marketing is broken and the sooner you do this, the better equipped you will be to meet the new challenges of an ever changing market.
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