I just pulled the plug on my ISP.
Big firm, terrible connectivity, and consistently poor service, so I finally made the decision to pull the plug last week since I just couldn't be held hostage anymore. Lee Drake, superb tech CEO, at his IT support firm, OS Cubed, had been telling me to do this for the years, but I didn't want to go through the pain of disruption. Finally the pain of staying connected outweighed the fear of the pain of disruption. The move happens next week, the process will be transparent, and I could not be happier. The point of this introduction is that when I looked up our background with the ISP, I discovered that we had been with them for 20 years !!
20 years ago, the World Wide Web had just been invented. We moved to WWW using Mosaic from Arpanet where we had stuck it out for years using arcane commands, slow speeds and calling people on our landline telephone to ask if they did in fact receive the email (although it wasn't called email, we did not have html, nor did the words that came through on the screen look like any email that we know today).
Which brings me thinking about the 2017 concept of "Day 1", and the adoption of faster change in our business, in our sales development, and in my teaching Marketing, and, with this semester, a new course in Sales. I should have made this ISP switch five years ago, and for some wacko reason, I just stuck it out piling up one wasted hour after another. 2017 is about every day being Day 1 and initiating more rapid change that brings more value to our customers' businesses.
2017 Concept #1: Day 1 is today !
Day 1 is certainly January 1st, but, in fact, as I now think about the professions of Marketing and Sales, and the changes of how we market and sell that have occurred over the past 24 months, I already know that faster and more dynamic changes will occur in the next two years. In my work, in my teaching, and in my venture investing, I now need to think of every day as Day 1.
Day 1 could be any day, it might be 365 days in 2017, or a solitary day in June, just as long as Day 1 is about change and moving ahead at a faster pace. Whether it's technology, or IoT, new apps or AI, when we look ahead, we already know that the world of Sales & Marketing will undergo dramatic change through technology and a requirement from our customers to add more dynamic value more proactively.
Certainly both Sales and Marketing have dramatically changed since "the good old days", way back five years ago, but now with the ability to market and sell down to the "N of One", we're going to be pushed and pulled to sell "differently", whatever that is, at at even faster rate and with even more efficiently than ever before.
Simple question: "Why change our methods of marketing and selling?"
Simple answer: "That's how our prospects and customers want to be marketed and sold!"
2017 Sales Tactic #1: Embrace faster change into your marketing and sales processes.
2017 Concept #2: Learn, Experiment, & Teach
At the end of every semester at Tufts and MIT, I note in "The 3 Rules of Jack", that everything we just learned over 13 weeks is now obsolete. I have the privilege of teaching at these universities, and in order to stay ahead of the game, I spend a fair amount of time on the NH beach in the summer, studying, reading and writing out the content for the entire fall semester. My intent is that that content could then be reused for the spring semester, but when I look back over the fall content, 25% of it is already out of date.
You don't have to teach in a university, since in the world of sales management, every single day, you and I have the opportunity to learn, to teach, and to coach our team not about keeping up, but about speeding ahead. What we see in 100% of our most successful sales managers is that those specific individuals master their coaching skills through advanced learning, experimenting with new technology tools and consistent practice. They never take their coaching responsibilities for granted !
- They study coaching as a skill, reading consistently about the science of coaching.
- They experiment with different skills, new techniques and different styles
- They use technology coaching tools like Brainshark to improve their efficiency and effectiveness
2017 Sales Tactic #2: Study & Certify !
Get certified in at least one online course in Sales in 2017. For example, dive deep into the science of coaching sales reps. In my own shop, we just agreed that everyone will be Hubspot certified in Marketing and Sales by July 30th.
2017 Concept 3: Basics Still Count, but Process and Tech Count Much More
- Of course, relationships count! This is always a given, but relationships are just basic table stakes. If, at your current age, whatever that is, you haven't mastered both relationship selling and solution selling, then you need to make a decision in 2017 as to whether Sales is really for you. Both methodologies are very basic tools, but simply not enough anymore, and in most buyer circles these concepts are not only outdated, but are actually resented since they focus on the wrong side of the table-that of the Seller- and not on the value required and delivered...to the Buyer
- Of course, solid communication and listening skills are also basic skills that need to be consistently studied and mastered to the extent that you can not only coach your team, but also teach others on how to do it.
- Of course, I'm sure that you have some sort of a "kinda" sales process that works, but the question is whether it's totally tuned up and ready to go for what will be a very robust year for business in 2017?
More than ever before, 2017 will be a critical year for perfecting and formalizing your sales process.
- Ask: when's the last time that you and your team updated your sales process tools?
- Ask: When did you last polish the sales tools that fit into that process?
You wouldn't send an athlete into the game or a soldier into the field without the best and most highly polished tools, so you must make absolutely sure that your own athletes and soldiers are game-ready!
2017 Sales Tactic #3: Take a full day in January-with the team- to dissect and update your sales and marketing processes figuring out what needs to change, who's going to do it and when it will be done!
3 concepts & 3 tactics to kick off Day 1
Here we are on the morning of the 23rd and, I trust and hope that the quarter is finishing well for you !
Most importantly, I'd like to extend a very sincere wish to you and your family for a wonderful and warm holiday.
...and make sure that there are hugs all around this weekend.