When I was an engineer in the prehistoric, pre-internet days, I loved when sales reps would come to visit. They would bring data books with them which had their whole catalog of products.
The salesperson would also bring samples and data sheets of their latest products too.
It was really helpful and a great resource if you were a customer back in the day. In fact, it’s obvious the value that salespeople brought: They were an oracle of knowledge that you couldn’t find anywhere else.
Then the internet happened and the bar for salespeople was raised significantly.
Suddenly, you didn’t need a salesperson to come to your door to let you know about the latest and greatest product they were selling. All you had to do was go online, and all the information was there for you. Better yet, you could access it at your convenience.
Sales reps would need to add lots more value.
The basic, value-added, give data books to customer, role was gone forever. Now, for you to be a great sales person, you would have to act as a customer facilitator and advocate.
The great thing for you, as a startup CEO, is the change in sales is a good thing.
In our case, the majority of our sales, at least 90%, happened without any direct interaction with customers. Even $100,000 or $1 million orders just happened.
Years ago, this never could have happened. However, the wealth of information on the internet makes it easy to sell even complex products like analog semiconductors.
Every industry is being impacted by the change. We bought a new car last month, and the only interaction with the dealer was to pick up the car.
You can deploy less sales people, but the sales people you deploy can have more impact.
So, the question becomes, “What about the 10% of your business that requires sales interaction?”
The great thing about focusing your sales force on the 10% is that these customers actually want you to help them. So give customers what they want and help them.
Great sales people naturally will act as facilitators between customers and your team. A great salesperson will advocate on behalf of the customer AND understand the needs of your company simultaneously.
Now, your sales team is adding value. They’re adding value from your customers perspective, and they’re adding value from your perspective.
And, the 10% of the business your sales team is focused on is the most profitable and valuable business you have. That’s how you grow your business exponentially.