99 Sales Tools but a Pitch Ain’t One
“I sell ice in the winter, I sell fire in hell, I am a hustler baby, I’ll sell water to a well” – Jay-Z
I read a great post featuring TK (Tawheed Kader), CEO and co-founder of Toutapp, on why too many sales tools is leading to rep fatigue. In looking at the VB profiles landscape of inside sales technology, I think we would all have to agree it is a crowded space.
With over 388 companies, and $10.6B in funding, why on earth would anyone want to start a new business in this landscape? Hold on to that thought for now.
I have worked/sold/met with many sales leaders over my last 16 years in marketing and sales technology. Leading sales is perhaps the toughest job in a growing business (IMHO), and I had the misfortune to lead sales at Eloqua for a brief time (< 1 year) until we could sell enough customers so I could say “see ya, I am going to do this customer success thing now.”
When I think of sales leadership, I picture myself at Sales Kick-off (SKO), the only time when you can afford (money and time) to bring your worldwide sales organization into one place to tell them the most important thing they need to do to be successful. Here is what I don’t hear:
- “Automate your social engagements to get more followers”
- “Make sure you blog or write content to become a thought leader”
- “Make sure you do more calls, even if the quality is less”
In fact, Koka Sexton published a stat that 92% of buyers delete emails or ignore calls from people they do not know. So you can make enough calls to get to the remaining 8%, but more and more buyers want to work with people they trust, or at least are referred to from their existing trusted relationships.
What I hear from sales leadership actually has nothing to do with technology. What I hear is all about business relationships:
- “Become a trusted advisor”
- “Sell the value higher in an organization”
- “Ensure you engage key constituents across the company”
And that rhetoric has not changed. It hasn’t changed in a long time.
The truth is that sales is in the Business of Relationships, not in the Business of Pitches. If you can build a trusted relationship, that is what will close that deal – why? Because your customer wants to help you as much as you have helped them.
If you maintain a past business relationship, that is what will get you referred into a new one, and if you build a network of trusted relationships, you can ensure you will have a long successful career in sales.
Jill Rowley, one of the top social selling speakers and influencers in the world, wrote a great post called “If You’re in Sales, You’re NOT a Thought Leader” which got over 22,000 views. At the end, she summarizes the key DO’s and DON’Ts of social selling:
- DON’T try to publish mind-alteringly profound thought leadership pieces
- DON’T try to be the smartest person in the digital room
- DON’T brag and boast about your quota crushing capabilities and expert negotiation skills on your LinkedIn profile
- DO use social media to publicly interact with knowledgeable experts, which helps you remain informed while also demonstrating your ability to access valuable insights
- DO curate content that matters, screening out the random noise while highlighting a few rare gems
- DO listen and watch for opportunities to make new connections and strengthen your existing relationships
- DO track developments in and around your buyer, so you can fully understand her world #SocialListening
At Nudge, we wholeheartedly agree with Jill’s DO’s and DON’Ts, and also her philosophy on the future of sales, and are proud to have her as an investor. But wait, isn’t Nudge just another one of those 388 “sales tool” startups, trying to make sales people more productive? Yes, but I believe we are the only one that is focused on relationships. We want to do two things well:
- Help you grow your own strong relationships with the right people
- Leverage your network’s strength of relationships to meet key people at your potential customers
Don’t get me wrong, many of the 388 companies are adding value to sales teams around the world. However we feel that out of “Faster, Better, Cheaper”, Faster and Cheaper have been the primary focus of the sales technology landscape. We feel it is time that someone tried to tackle Better.
Nudge is all about growing relationships, not just connections. And by doing so, we are going to bring the business world closer together, one Nudge at a time.