We had the opportunity to attend the recent AA-ISP event in San Francisco on February 18, 2016.
As always, Bob Perkins, Larry Reeves and the entire team at AA-ISP (American Association of Inside Sales Professionals) put together a power packed event.
The day was full of cutting edge thinking in selling.
AA-ISP events are always so inspirational. It always strikes me that the ideas, strategies and techniques discussed by members of the AA-ISP are often 180 degrees out of phase with what I often hear customers talking about in terms of their current strategies. Meaning that there are trends and changes in the way customer shop and buy and the AA-ISP is always leading the charge to steer sales leaders to capitalize on these trends. The rest of the world often takes a while to catch up.
The most common example of this is the importance of responding instantly to customer inquiries. There have been lots of studies in recent years of how important it is to respond to inquiries via your website within 5 to 15 minutes. Odds of even talking with the customer drop off precipitously after that.
But, this trend is driving structural changes in how sales teams are managed that I hadn’t realized.
Josh Evans outlined many of these changes in his talk “The Uber-ization of Sales”. A fundamental point he made was that customers demand instant access to exactly what they’re looking for and organizations have to be designed to deliver that speed and “performance”. That need is breaking traditional paradigms of sales management such as territories.
If I need to be sure leads get instant response, then setting up a system where a given customer has to wait for a specific salesperson to respond won’t work.
And back here in the real world, there are still thousands of organizations that manage sales with excel sheets. Clearly, filling out and emailing around excel sheets is inefficient for the sales team. However, clearly the cost of using manual tracking, management and reporting systems instead of instantly accessible, sharable CRM and Lead Management solutions is far bigger than just inefficiency.
The cost is in fact that if only the salesperson has access to lead information for days or weeks, then that customer’s experience of your company, your brand is suffering significantly. There is no way they’re going to have a “personalized” experience on your website or when they call in to your customer service department. And that is what people expect today.
So, you’re leaving the door open for your competitors every time a customer contacts you and hears “I’ll have to check with your sales rep and get back to you.”