Sales improvement is a fashion business. The social media channels are now both the catwalk as well as one of the models; an aging model with a fashion that has started to fade a bit. The designers all march their new fashions down the catwalk to the oohs and aahs of an adoring crowd that has been waiting for something better than last year’s fashion.
At first glance the new fashions are always different. Look more closely and you’ll see they are simply a derivative of what has come before. The promise is always the same: Do this and you will have wildly massive results now! But, you can’t have these results without the new “new” thing.
For the last few years social selling has been all the rage, despite not having lived up to its promise. The promise was that you would never again have to cold call or use a traditional means of prospecting. A good LinkedIn profile and the ability to connect and share was going to be enough fill your funnel with more opportunities than you could possibly handle. Despite the lofty promises, the traditional prospecting methods have proven far more durable than anyone would have imagined.
The digital transformation of sales is still in its infancy. It’s going to be more difficult, more complicated, and too important to be addressed by social selling alone.
But as one fashion fades, another rises to take its place. Now it’s “account-based” everything. There are “account-based” marketing, and “account-based” selling concepts everywhere. Each version is someone else’s take on an old style that has finally made its way back into fashion. Or as Mr. Robinson says, “This year’s fashion is last year’s flavor.” Targeting clients and contacts with a relevant message isn’t exactly a new idea.
Next, look for artificial intelligence.
Every approach, every process, every methodology, every sales system, has a partial view of the truth. Each of them contains something worth knowing, and something that may-or may not-help you generate greater sales results.
Where every process, methodology, sales system, or approach fails is when it pretends to be the one right way to do anything. None are a panacea. And so far, none of them has been the silver bullet. Each, however, is useful when and where used in a thoughtful way that doesn’t discount, preclude, or minimize other approaches that may also be useful.
One cannot avoid the feeling that each one of these new “fashions” has at its core the goal of simplifying sales into a one size fits all formula, and that is its falling down. What I come back to again and again: Sales has no rules, and you must know them all.