Author – Mark Ryan – Business Development Director – SES
I’ve spent 13 years in sales and have been fortunate enough to work for some fantastic SME’s to FTSE 250. Growing onwards and upwards under the roles of New Business Hunter, Business Development, Management and Operations selling £100-£500 products in my early years through to 250k solutions. In that time I have spoken with anybody and almost every possible job role.
The one key common denominator throughout not only my time but since the dawn of ‘the sale’, is the need to talk to people for new business. Of course I don’t just mean key for the sales individual or their employers, but the buyer too. How else is the buyers business supposed to grow without adapting to change, staying ahead of the game or understanding the unknown? Likewise how can the sellers business grow without understanding the market and generating new clients and sales?
Historically the infamous gatekeeper was always seen as a salesman’s kryptonite, however it appears that the pivotal point in the business food chain is being made more difficult today by almost anybody in the organisation!
Ok granted with thanks to a well built up network and relationships, my need for the cold new business approach is less than it was 6 or 7 years ago, but enough to spot the trend. I too confess that I have been quite defensive or ignorant when receiving a cold approach!
Have the so called aggressive and unsolicited marketing, PPI, broadband, gas and electric generation affected the way we interact/ react, making the opportunity more difficult for up and coming professional sales men and women? Whether it be by phone, email or LinkedIn it appears that the 4 major competitors we all have are ever more present from the first point of contact;
Fear (too scared)
Apathy (can’t be bothered)
Ignorance (don’t know)
Ego (think they know better or are entitled)
Ok that may seem a little offside but for those who are honest would no doubt agree.
Over the past 12 months or so conversations with colleagues, clients and even friends, or social / professional networking posts all seem to be geared toward “cold calling is dead”, “unsolicited emails not welcome” or “LinkedIn connection request accepted, messaged me with pitch, ignored”.
So I guess it begs the question that if there is any truth in this, then what lies ahead for Sales professionals?
What impact is this having on the buyer as well as the seller?
What should be done differently?
How would you want to be approached?