What I have to say probably won’t go down particularly well with a sector of the sales improvement community whose primary purpose seems to be to convert every sales person into a superhuman hero capable of leaping customer objections in a single bound.
Well, it might sell books to people hoping for miracle cures, but the approach is neither realistic, practical nor particularly effective. In the complex and complicated world of B2B buying, “heroic” techniques are likely to be counter-productive.
There is no miracle cure (and no instant fix) for improving sales effectiveness. It takes focus, hard work, and doing more of the right things with more of the right people in more of the right organisations. And, of course, it means not wasting valuable resources on quixotic quests…
That’s why I suggest that B2B CEOs and sales leaders who are striving to build truly scalable sales organisations should be looking for pragmatists rather than heroes or miracle workers.
It’s not as if it’s realistic to recruit and run a team of individual heroes anyway. Outside of the comic book market, it’s an oxymoronic concept. The problem with Eagles, as one of my sales mentors kept reminding me, is that they don’t flock.
Heroes tend to believe that nothing is impossible. They see the most difficult opportunities as personal challenges. They tend to divert scarce resources away from otherwise more winnable deals. At the end of the day, they are not always that successful - and as for trying to replicate them - well, good luck with that.
Pragmatists, on the other hand, in their thoughtful and quietly effective way, focus their energies on the opportunities that are likely to be most valuable and in which they have a strong chance of winning. They value their own time (let alone that of their colleagues) too highly to waste it on opportunities that are never likely to close.
One last thing: heroes tend not to work well within a defined sales process, and seek to rebel against it. Pragmatists see the value in a defined sales process, and are always looking for ways to improve it.
Pragmatists are a delight to work with and a pleasure to have an intelligent after-work drink with. With all of these factors in their favour, why would any sales leader want to ride the grief curve of managing a team of self-declared heroes?
By the way, the Value Selling System® is an excellent framework for continuously developing a team of intelligent pragmatic sales people. What's even better - we've integrated it into Membrain so that you can get started in a heartbeat!
Bob Apollo is the CEO at Inflexion-Point, the UK-based B2B sales and marketing performance improvement specialists. Inflexion-Point helps B2B organisations to design and implement highly effective customer acquisition systems based on a combination of the winning habits of their top sales performers and the latest industry best practices.
Inflexion-Point are the designers of the Outcome-Centric Selling Edition - a pre-configured Membrain version with sales process, methodology, and enablement embedded. This Edition will help your salespeople to make your way of selling into a competitive advantage.
Find out more about Bob Apollo on LinkedIn