Bob Perkins is the founder and Chairman of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP). In today’s episode, we discuss where sales are headed and the impact it will have on sales reps and businesses.
AA-ISP was officially started in 2009, with over 11,000 members and is represented by 3000 companies. AA-ISP is an international association dedicated to advancing the profession of Inside Sales. Their mission is to help inside sales reps take advantage of the information and resources provided through content, local chapters, conferences, career development, and an Inside Sales accreditation program.
We are getting closer to getting rid of the inside sales designation and leaning more into just calling it sales. Business development is a form of inside sales, which is B2B. The lines are getting blurred between traditional field reps and inside salespeople because field reps are also working virtually.
The short-term challenge occurring in inside sales right now is specialization, which is technology driven. People tend to think that sales development is a new phenomenon, but it has been around for years. There are a plethora of tools out there delivering warm leads, which means that companies need to hire more bodies to fill these roles. Customers want to interact digitally, the same way they do on Amazon.
Ten to fifteen years ago, it was primarily phone-to-phone selling, which meant more of a team selling approach, leading to a change in the skill-set a rep has to provide. In today’s market, there has been a shift from a predominant team sale to a discreet transaction model, which involves the inside rep owning the quota and the full sales cycle.
In a few years, the discreet model will be more predominate such as social, virtual communicators, proposals, screen-to-screen selling, negotiation, handling objectives, and close. Today there is a shortage of people with the skills and experience required.
Virtualization of the buying and selling process is important. However, you cannot get rid of the human to human interaction, especially with complex deals. Missing this important element may be why your competitor is winning the deals and you are falling short.
The current sales training model is broken. There are good third party trainers. However, they are not teaching the nuances that are critical today. For example, using LinkedIn is a foundational requirement for inside sales reps. Companies need to ensure they are educating their reps based on these type of criteria; the use of social media, modern day prospecting, best ways to draft emails, best practices for leaving effective voicemails, and presentations of demos, etc.
Managers are under pressure to ensure their reps are making numerous phone calls; unfortunately, companies are more metrics driven than coaching. GET OUT OF YOUR DASHBOARD! STOP MEASURING DIALS! Making more calls is not going to create a better outcome.
Take a look at your most productive sales reps, what are they doing to close the deal? How do they create passion and excitement in their voice? This will have a significant impact on selling virtually.
What’s your most powerful sales asset?
Get to know the person first, before he thinks about selling them anything.
Name one tool you have for sales management that you cannot live without.
Bob meets with salespeople in a non-traditional performance meeting, such as taking them to lunch.
Who’s your sales role model?
Bob’s business partner Larry Reaves.
What’s the one book that every salesperson should read?
The Sensational Salesman: A Second Chance Story: Providing a Simple Path to Improving Your Relationships, Career, and Life by Duane Cummings
What’s your favorite music to get you pumped up?
Southern Rock & Roll w/Country attributes: Lynard Skynard and Marshall Tucker Band and Allman Brothers.
What’s the one question you get asked most by salespeople?
What are your tips on how to move up through the ranks to management?