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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

Dismantling the Sales Machine


“You’re in SALES.  Get over it.”
“Commit to SALES.”
“Selling – at its core – is not a business transaction.
It is first and foremost the forging of a human connection.”

If  you’re okay with these 3 quotes and the For Impact Point of View or Just Ask … you must read DISMANTLING THE SALES MACHINE in the latest Harvard Business Review.

The article makes some huge points that everyone in the For Impact world needs to think (deeply) about:

“Selling today requires flexibility, judgment and a focus on results — not process.” 

One of the best parts about this article, for me, was the idea that leading sales organizations track and report only the customer verifiers … not the sales person’s actions!  WOW.  This puts the focus on outcomes … vs. simply activities.

    Personal Note:  ‘Measurement’/’Accountability’ makes a huge deal in the development/ advancement/fundraising world.  Our ‘green sheet‘ tries to measure both ACTIVITY and PRODUCTIVITY.  (OUTCOMES.)
    I get physically ill when I see development officer/major gifts officer reports that include how many contacts (phone or email, etc.) they have had with a prospect or how many events they have attended or how many visits that were ‘cultivation‘ (their word) and not presentations/asks.

Some ‘teasers’ from the article:

  • “(SALES) reps are most likely to succeed when they feel SUPPORTED rather than directed.”  This is the whole idea of coaching and leading and supporting vs. managing.  While the term ‘sales manager’ is not used much in our advancement world, the concept of a TEAM LEADER for SALES is still critical.  Article points out these team leaders/coaches serve as connectors, encourage collaborative strategy and problem solving and push team members to challenge one another.
  • A New Type of Talent.  Using data that CEB has collected on more than 4 million business professionals, they’ve found that only 17% of the existing sales employees scored high on the competencies required for success ininsight selling”.
    Here’s a great line: “… to identify the small percentage of sales people who have a natural ability to succeed in this new climate, (managers) should consider hiring professionals not currently in sales roles who have excellent critical thinking skills and are willing to sell.”  That’s our Ideal Profile we use in our FIT (For Impact Talent) work!
  • Finally, here’s the last sentence in the article: “As knowledge-work leaders know, the key to success, in the simplest terms, is to:
    • hire the best employees,
    • create an empowering environment,
    • provide the necessary tools and guidance,
    • AND THEN GET OUT OF THE WAY.”

How ya doing on this?

***I shared this article with our FI|TSG team to help us do a better job of coaching. Decided that it had great value to ‘Tribe’ as well.