What hasn’t! Sales leaders today must be tech savvy, hand’s on, models of efficiency, internally transparent, marketing experts – and they still have to master all the core sales leader duties that are the constants of the job. Problem is, many of them don’t realize the job description has changed.
It’s easy to become self-referential when you don’t rub elbows with others in your position – and too few sales leaders get to do that. It’s the nature of the job that requires maintaining a cloak of secrecy on how you do what you do. Unless you’re out interviewing for a new position, it’s rare that you would have the need or opportunity to spill the beans on your secrets. Therefore the best practices in the selling profession are much less documented than in other more open disciplines.
A lot of what’s driving this change is hyper-informed buyers. The new selling reality is that prospects are more knowledgeable of all the available providers, choices, solutions and alternatives than your sales teams and product specialists will ever be. Top sales leaders make that work for them. You can’t win any more by selling to VITO, pre-empting the RFP, locking out the competition, getting single sourced or driving the buy-cycle. The best sales leaders know that too.
Top tier sales leaders today command specializations such as marketing automation, social media, web-touch selling, internet-enabled buying process, real-time surveillance / actionable intelligence, global sourcing, lead nurturing and virtual management. Today’s sales leaders embrace the technology and science of sales and are completely transparent to their leadership team about how they manage their function. They don’t hide behind the black art of sales euphemisms, i.e. “it’s different in our industry”, “our process is unique”, “it’s all relationships”.
Succeeding in sales leadership today means continuous re-education and the ability to translate that knowledge into lean, measurable and efficient selling processes. It means close collaboration with your CIO and chief marketing officer to enable those new processes. And it means doing all that while staring down the barrel of that quarterly revenue target!
At least some things haven’t changed.