Here’s How to Not Lose Your Sales Job to a Robot

This guest post was authored by John Barrows (Owner, jbarrows.com, which features a wide variety of awesome sales training resources). 

Marketing automation is starting to come upstream really fast and eat away at the value sales reps provide. Couple this with the amount of information customers have access to and you’re starting to see the value of sales reps get severely impacted, especially the ones who are just going through the motions.  As salespeople, an important question we need to ask ourselves these days is: what can we do that a computer can’t? If a computer can do it then you have to wonder how long you’ll get paid commission to do it.  If a sales reps is just going to send out template e-mails and make generic cold calls I’d rather invest in a marketing automation tool, hire a few marketing people to manage it and split test messaging to find the highest conversion rates. So I think it really comes down to what Gary Vaynerchuk says when he talks about “if content is king then context is god.”  Marketing is content, Sales is context. If, as a sales rep, you are not putting context around your content then you’re no different than marketing and I don’t know why you should get commission.

john-barrowsFor me, my approach starts with figuring out who my audience is. I tier them out, so I have tier ones, tier twos and tier threes: my great clients, my average clients and my poor clients. Same thing within organizations. If I’m going after enterprise accounts it’s my C-levels and VPs are my tier ones, my managers and directors are tier twos and my end users are tier threes.

That’s how I decide how much effort I’m going to put into personalization vs. using automation. For my tier ones, I try to put a lot of thought into my messaging. I sit down and think through my cadence, I figure out what each message should look like and I don’t really automate the messages.

For my tier twos, I don’t mind automating as much. Separate these prospects by industry and role. And then come up with a tailored/ targeted message to that group. Be specific about a prospect’s industry and role. Get into persona-based stuff, where you can say something like, “the reason for my call is that we’re showing CEOs in the healthcare industry how to drive these kind of results.” CEOs in the healthcare industry have different priorities than CEOs in the manufacturing industry. So by speaking a prospect’s language, you can really catch their attention.

And then, for my tier threes, I’m going to practice with them and automate the majority of my approach to them.

And for things like webinars, announcements, just let Marketing do that stuff. I always say, let Marketing market and Sales sell. Everyone knows what a marketing email looks like. I don’t like my name on marketing emails, because when I reach out to a prospect, I want it to be very targeted based on those tiers.

Want some more highly actionable advice from John and other top sales leaders? Check out our free B2B sales personalization eBook.

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About the Author

John Barrows

As Owner of jbarrows LLC, John Barrows provides customized sales training and consulting services for clients like Salesforce.com, Box, Linkedin and many others with a focus on driving results with proven techniques and reinforcement tools that impact adoption and behavior change.

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