Sales is Transitioning, Are Salespeople?

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Sales is Transitioning, Are Salespeople?

Insurance companies had to learn how to sell in today's marketplace, too. (See GapingVoid here.) It is the age of the smarter conversation.

Sales has to be about the business and its goals and outcomes. Otherwise sales cycles will increase and transition to IP and Cloud will stall.

The former CEO of Razorfish (prominent digital marketing agency) has a good take on marketing for cloud services. "Words Matter."

Cloud is a marketing term that confuses between 30 and 40 percent of the people. (They think it has to do with weather.) There are a billion search results on Google for cloud. But it is nebulous! [Intended pun]

For too long our industry has sold under one major premise: replace what they have with something cheaper. It is what the LD wars were about. It was the Vonage story as one of the first major VoIP marketing company. [That's right VoIP Marketing company. They weren't the first to launch VoIP. They were one of the first to market it to consumers in mass.]

SIP Trunks are sold as really cheap replacements for POTS and PRI. This is our industry.

As an industry, we hardly touch on selling the customer managed services, security, colocation or conferencing. The providers make a lot of noise about it, but actually selling it is a different story.

I won't go into detail, but I am certain you have seen articles about Social Selling and LinkedIn as Lead Gen. These are fairly new ways of going about the various steps of selling. But they weren't around even four years ago. And that begs the questions, what have you changed in your process in the last four years (not counting having a partial LinkedIn profile)?

The sales force has not caught up with the fact that buyers are different; buying patterns and reasons are different; and that the buyers are informed and have transparent pricing. All of those factors mean that the salesperson has to sell different. But do they?

Dimension Data's Tina Gravel talks about how many sales managers are struggling to get salespeople to sell cloud services.

Almost every channel exec that I have spoken with has some disappointment in the sales of cloud. It is sold on price. It is sold as cheap voice. I still go back to the ITEXPO UC panel blaming all implementation problems on the salespeople, who sold the wrong thing.

"Research released by MDS noted that 75 percent of IT and telecom decision-makers were actively seeking to move towards a UC infrastructure sometime in the imminent future." [source: CV] Another marketing term - UC - that no buyer will ask for.

The whole object is customer experience. You want a win-win. You want the customer to get what they expect, be a happy customer, and maybe tell a few people. To get there, you have to start with the Customer! What is be expecting, what experience does he expect -- What outcome is he looking for?

UC is a garbage can term for a bunch of elements that are used for communications. Cloud is a garbage can term for a bunch of software applications that used to be hosted or that have been moved to a cloud infrastructure (like AWS).

So if you have this garbage can term, the conversation should be about the elements and what the customer wants to do with them (at the very least)?

I get it. It is very hard to get out of this huge rut of replacing stuff -- and the standard questions you have been asking since 1999.

It is hard to sit a prospect down to have a conversation about the software, the Internet and the impact that both have on the business. BUT if you have THAT conversation.... holy cow! You change the game!


Think about the noise around SDN - software defined networks. Really this is just dynamic bandwidth, right? It's about the fact that bandwidth demand is going crazy. You can sell pipe all day. A standard sized - 10, 20, 50, 100 MB or 1 Gig - pipe every day. Slogging it like a T1. But the thing about SDN is that you have to have a discussion about what the traffic is - how, when, what, where. That isn't normal.

Sure, you can keep plugging standard pipe, but then someone is going to come along and talk about dynamic bandwidth, SD-WAN and the traffic - and then you are out like a dinosaur.

The salesperson that starts a Smart Conversation is the one who isn't just a salesperson. They are a resource. They are valuable. They are trusted. Do you get where that goes?

Good luck.

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