If Rip Van Winkle Awoke Today—20 Years Later
As you might recall, September 5th 2009 was the 20th anniversary of the founding of Wilkening & Company. To mark that anniversary, we are periodically looking at changes in our practice areas over the last two decades. Let’s talk about sales force process and management today:
- Sales has become a much more professional discipline during the last two decades as sales processes have become more complex, requiring a more sophisticated seller and complicated interchange with the buyer. The days of making six calls a year on the purchasing agent and leaving a new catalog (to just wave the flag) are generally a thing of the past. A seller must now demonstrate value added every time they see or “touch” the buyer. But, they are still expected to see their customers as much as possible.
- There are fewer actual buyers to see today as low-potential accounts and commodity buying have permanently shifted to more cost-effective channels like internet or call-center contact.
- Today’s sales manager must be concerned, not only with the number of calls a seller is making, but also with the quality of that sales call. The sales-manager’s job is more than managing a bunch of short-term oriented numbers today (like calls per day or order size). It is also about (and more often about) building long-term relationships.
- But in the end in 2009 (as in 1989) people still buy from people. Don’t forget that simple truth.
Have these type of changes also impacted your sales force and sales process?