Selling is not what it used to be, it’s much MORE CHALLENGING now!

Selling is in the 21st century much more challenging and interesting than ever. Some people think that selling is about copying past successful plans and apply them again, again, and again!  Wrong! Sales is much more than that! Increase, change, cut, create, or innovate are all words that can and should be applied to sales. Strategizing a commercial plan that is aligned with your present, and NOT with your past goals, will be hard work and requires creativity, though a good start towards success.

In my opinion, if one wants to be a successful sales fellow or business developer, one needs to understand what is at stake first and create a customized plan to tackle the situation at hand. Sometimes one can copy a previous and successful process and be successful, though nothing nor no one can guarantee success just because in the past that same process/plan worked. Furthermore, today’s word is changing faster therefore the best solution is to anticipate and innovate. Obsolete processes and plans must give up to new more customized and creative ones.

Sales is a challenging function that depends more than ever on information and preparation! When starting a sales process with a client or prospect the sales time must be really prepared with a strong file not only on the client that they are prospecting or selling to, but also on the external environment and client’s industry. Sales is all about preparation, listening, and finding the best and unique solution to present to client. An open mind, hard work on preparing and studying everything relevant on the client, and an outside-of-the-box thinking can help sales fellows achieving their goals in a time where everything changes fats. Never forget the service that goes  with the sales, it is key on gaining loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.

Sales is still a very important function within a company and able to make a business successful or a totally disaster, though it needs to be working with all company departments in a collaborative way. For instance, Business and Client intelligence must be passed onto Sales in a straight forward way ready to be incorporate it into the commercial strategy. An efficient controlling systems created and managed in a collaborating way with the accounting and financial departments is also key. My point is, a collaboration culture is key to be competitive and winning the market.

Good sales!

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Change, the scary word or the ultimate challenge?

My answer is, ‘change is an ultimate challenge’! When coming to keep a company competitive in a fast paced, and highly challenging world, change must be present. I know that It’s not easy to start something related to “change”, though you should do it!

Regardless company and project size, if you have a real leader heading the project (a crucial aspect), a simple 5-step plan would be a good start.

First, I would have a initiation document along with the whole business case explaining whys, whats, hows, whens, resources needed (people and cash), and results to be achieved or delivered.

Second, I would “sell” the project to the Board of directors in order to have the C-level (including CEO, CFO and COO) support and commitment to the success of the change.

Third, I believe that communicating with people is key to the success of any change or even project. And, it’s not the quantity, but rather the quality of what you say that matters. So, I would start by building a strong communication plan where everybody could participate, but also that DOES NOT block or create inertia into the whole process.

Fourth, and almost same time I would design and launch a project with a cross section task force, able to be light, hands-on and with a strong leadership. On top of that, I would need a well delineated scope, deliverables, resources, quality expectations, and deadlines for all the project phases. I would also try to start with quick win-win situations in order to have both the team and sponsors working side-by-side and committed to the success of the project/change.

Fifth, and to finish with, I would also use this opportunity to start a baby-step Culture change. Meaning, I would start a “readiness” task force able to implement key aspects allowing a higher level of readiness, and mental availability to change and face challenges.

Summing Up,

Assumption: you are, or have a real leader heading the project!

1) Strong business case and initiation document explaining everything at a high level; 2) C-level Support & Commitment (CEO, CFO, COO…) 3) Strong Communication Plan (quality and not quantity) 4) Project plan to implement the changes – Road Map with milestones, resources, quality, objectives/deliverables, and deadlines; 5) Start a “readiness” task force in order to improve the way the company deal with change and challenges.

If the change project is headed by a true leader, based on a strong business case and plan, and supported by a strong communication plan, people will understand it and be on board and rowing into the common goal. Ah, never forget the C-level support and commitment.

Good Luck to your future projects!

Other Related Posts: What Complexity Has To Do With Being Competitive? Nothing, I Must Confess!, The Art Of Brainstorming in The 21st Century!Backwards or Forwards?, Decisions: a Headache or an Opportunity?, Vision, Strategy, and Implementation! How about people?, Stop the Routine Before the Routine Stops you!