Strategic Sales Training - The Future is Strategic Sales

Sales has always been the poor relation of marketing and hidden away in one of the famous 4P's. The marketing profession has traditionally looked down on their sales counterparts with nothing short of disdain, and as a consequence, the sales function has constantly struggled for adequate management education, training & status.

The Rise & Fall of Marketing

Marketing was always going to put the customer at the centre of things. It was going to be the most important coordinating function in the business. It would specify what all other functions had to do in order to deliver a consistent customer experience whatever the customer touch-point.

In this key strategic role, marketing failed to deliver and never reached the heights it had promised. Why did it fail? Partly it failed because it found more exciting and sexy things to play around with such as advertising and promotions.

Key Failures

More importantly, marketing failed because it did not get its hands dirty working with actual customers. Instead, it hid behind the clinical elegance of marketing research reports and the academic satisfaction of analysing reams and reams of customer data masquerading as customer insight and intelligence.

As a result, marketing has been largely marginalised to the design and maintenance of web sites, with the occasional foray into exhibitions and leaflets. Quite a sad end.

The New Sales Future

So if marketing failed to deliver, who is now responsible for coordinating organisational activity around the requirements and expectations of customers? There is only one place from which this can be done and that is from Sales.

Customer Targeting

In an era where the majority of customers can serve themselves via websites and the telephone, organisations can now be more focused on identifying and managing their most important customers. They can now target resources on those 20% of customers that provide them with 80% of their business and nurture those customers who promise to be equally important in the near future.

Implications for Organisational Development & Training

In order to take advantage of this new sales future, organisations will have to radically change their attitude towards sales and selling function.

Salespeople of the new sales future will have to be better educated and better trained in order to relate to customers in a more strategic way. They will need to be empowered to develop specific value propositions for individual customers and they will need the necessary internal status to boss their own organisations to deliver on customer requirements and expectations.

Implications for Sales Management

These new strategic sales assets will need to be managed in a more enlightened way, as the old command and control system of management will fail miserably in such a new sales environment.

There will need to be more emphasis on recruitment, motivation, coaching, training and team development in order to foster the necessary supporting environment for strategic sales professionals to flourish and to deliver what customers really want.
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