Why Johnny Can’t Sell: How SaaS & the Internet Revolutionized Sales

The skills that used to work no longer do. This will examine what skills are needed for the years to come. Much of this comes from an article posted by Brian Zanghi, CEO of Kadient — a company who recently made this painful transition.

Brian says “SaaS is transforming our entire industry. Companies, from the largest to the smallest, must come to terms with this development. You are not only entering a new world, you are helping to create it, and that is an experience unlike any other.”

Once upon a time, companies hired senior sales folks and trained them on Controlling the Complex Sale, Target Account Selling, and Solution Selling and the like. Sales leaders chose salespeople with Rolodex’s and industry experience. Sales cycles were long and complex. The best salespeople were superb at navigating politics, getting access to power and orchestrating their teams.

Unfortunately, those stars of yesterday are new dinosaurs. The world changed. What worked then no longer works. Why not?

In the good old days, prospects were starved for information. They depended on salespeople for facts and information they needed. These salespeople’s options for solutions were big, expensive and complex. These involved services, terminals, databases, applications software, training and more. Deals ran into six and seven figures — so getting access to power was the key to winning.

But in recent years, this all changed. The Internet means prospects can do their own research on your company — eliminating the need to get information from salespeople. Constant meetings, voice mails and emails interrupt. But the biggest change in recent years, Software as a Service means the barrier to entry has been blasted to bits. Trial downloads have eliminated the need for Proofs of Concepts.

Let’s again quote Brian, CEO of Kadient:
“(SaaS) also flips your sales and marketing departments. Forget about the typical sales cycle. With effective Saas marketing, your prospects are using your product long before your salesrep comes in to sell. In a classic bottom’s up approach, you put the product in the hands of the ultimate end-users, turning them into your most effective sales people. That means driving huge volumes of traffic to your Web site where fast and simple trials are easily available.

If everything has changed, what is important now?

  • Salespeople must have great phone and email skills. Face to face meetings are few and far between.
  • Your website deserves major attention and focus. It will become your most critical salesperson, as it will be a source of information for prospects.For instance, you’ll need far better ways to “watch” prospect behavior on your website. As marketing experts say “Actions speak louder than words.” If you cannot track the behavior of your prospects on your website (and few companies do today) you are at a serious disadvantage.
  • Align your selling process with how customers actually buy. You can see a presentation by Michael Bosworth by visiting www.sales20conf.com and clicking on Transcripts and Videos. For a great product, please visit www.landslide.com.

Good luck and good selling.
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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the ways they attract and earn the trust of prospective customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.

Find New Customers helps companies (with between 150 and 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses) to implement world-class lead generation programs. As companies struggle to create quality sales opportunities, they turn to lead generation companies like Find New Customers.

“If more companies listened to (Find New Customers) a lot more would be sold.” Dan McDade, Pointclear.

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