In the past, it was enough that the contacts within your dream client companies did the jobs that they were hired to perform.
For example, if you call on doctors, in the past they were judged by how well they practiced medicine and how much they helped their clients. If you call on human resources professionals, it used to be enough that they hired well, that people that they added to the staff were capable of doing their job. If you sell to accountants, it used to be enough they understood general accounting rules and principles and kept good books.
This is no longer true. The new normal for your client is shared responsibility for financial results and performance. This means that your new responsibility is in helping the people within your dream clients achieve those financial results.
Those of us in sales have been measured on our financial performance for decades. We are measured on top line revenue, on gross profit, onwallet share, and on any other financial metric known to man (and more still to be discovered, no doubt). If you can measure financial performance with a metric, odds are it’s on some sales manager’s dashboard somewhere. But this hasn’t been true for other areas of organizations in the same way it has been true for sales.
If you were a doctor, you were evaluated on your performance as it pertained to medicine. No one said, “He is a wonderful doctor. His bedside manner is awful, but his EBITDA is spectacular.” Now, it’s likely that your doctor is part of a larger health care organization. It is also likely that their organization measures them by the revenue that they generate, as well as their costs. Some even have financial performance goals.
I am using doctors here because it makes the point so well, but the same statement could be made about people in operations, people in accounting, people in finance, and people in human resources. Almost regardless of the role, the contacts within your dream client companies are being asked to share in increasing revenue, improving profitability, and decreasing costs. And if they are being asked, you are being asked to the same.
The More Things Change
What this means for salespeople is that it is more and more important that you get beyond selling product (or service, or solutions).
It means that for you to be interesting, for you to be a value creator, you are going to have to work to help your clients produce the financial results for which they are being held responsible.
It requires that you work to understand your dream client’s financial goals and objectives, that you understand how you can help them achieve those goals. It means you must engage in a sales dialogue around their financial goals and objectives.
The new normal is that you are now not only responsible for your company’s profitability and growth. You are now equally responsible for helping to ensure your client’s profitability and growth. The truth is that this trend isn’t new, that things have been moving this direction for a long time. But the reality is that this is now the new normal, and that the successful salespeople and sales organizations in the future are going to be the ones that own their share of their client’s performance.
Is it enough that someone is does good quality work, or do they also now have to produce a financial outcome?
What roles within your dream clients have changed to include a greater and greater financial performance?
How do you help the contacts within your dream client companies to generate the financial performance that they require?
Do your dream clients need you to sell them a product, a service, or a solution, or do they need something greater for you?
What actions do you need to take to be more valuable to your dream client?