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Effective Sales Management: The Importance of Sales Intelligence
Guest articles > Effective Sales Management: The Importance of Sales Intelligence
by: Drew Stevens
Posted by Drew Stevens on February 14, 2011 · Leave a Comment
It is not uncommon today to hear from any sales manager about the instant need for productivity gains. Every sales manager today is being forced to achieve more audacious goals than ever before. This stems from two factors 1) an overarching desire to overcome recent economic volatility and 2) ensuring that sales forces are highly productive.
As America comes out of the financial doldrums many sales forces are being asked to produce large results. Sales forces have had to do much more with much less after terminating many sale professionals. To some this was a good time to purge those individuals that were simply unproductive. To others it was an opportunity to separate the good from the bad. Moreover, it allowed organizations focus on sales intelligence.
Many today believe that sales intelligence is those computer applications that allow for the acquisition of customer information. However, sales intelligence is really about two things: 1) sales talent and 2) sales aggressiveness. It’s about the intelligent selling representative.
Selling requires an established set of unique skills. It does not require the people are gregarious or typically outgoing. But it does require that individuals have a unique set of skills that allow them to build customer centric relationships. In fact, selling is just that the ability to create relationships with the organization’s most valuable asset-customers. The reason why many organizations were unproductive in the past was because they hired behavior not talent. Talent is an innate set of skills that people acquire from their values and beliefs. These are the skills that truly separate a professional seller from those that want to be. More importantly, these are gifts that people are born with and are not easily transferable.
Many years ago Jim Collins wrote in his book “Good to Great” about the importance of having the right people on the bus. It is true that the right people do not need to be managed, do not require much focus and are motivated enough to be highly productive. Hiring based on talent provides the organization with the intelligence it needs to acquire new clients.
Sales talent actually aids sales intelligence. Smart salespeople know not only where to get valid information but whom to get it from. They understand the need for customer information so that they can become a trusted peer. Useful information allows good selling professionals to ask questions based upon objectives and measurements of success so that clients can understand the value they bring to the table. Sales intelligence enables the selling professional to see issues from the outside in. Sellers actually stop thinking in a transactional mode and more consultative.
Further, those with the proper sales talent are also very aggressive. That is not to say they will do anything for the sale but rather they will do anything to establish customer-centered relationships with the right economic buyer. The notion here is that good selling professionals will go to all corners of the earth to find the information they need to establish those relationships. In fact ask anyone with good sales talents and they will provide you with the numerous portions of useful content they use daily.
There are a number of organizations today investing heavily in sales intelligence. This includes investments in computers, databases and even Internet search technology. The concern here is not necessarily what information is being dredged but who and how it is being used. Before investing in a wealth of databases and technology the better choice would be people. Good people will know how to take information and convert it into useful data and knowledge. It is this knowledge that will make organizations highly productive, more profitable, while also creating more customer centered relationships. This cannot be done with just anyone. To borrow a line from Jim Collins it must be done with the right people on the bus!
© 2011. Drew J Stevens PhD. All rights reserved.
Drew Stevens Ph.D. President of Stevens Consulting Group is one of those very rare sales management and business development experts with not only 28 years of true sales experience but advanced degrees in sales productivity. Not many can make such as claim. Drew works with sales managers and their direct reports to create more customer centric relationships that dramatically drive new revenues and new clients. He is the author of Split Second Selling and the founder and coordinator of the Sales Leadership Program at Saint Louis University. Contact him today at 877-391-6821.
Contributor: Drew Stevens
Published here on: 20-Mar-11