The greatest technological opportunity that we see is the advancement of sales capability. However it is glaring, nearly embarrassing how sales capability has been put on the back burner and outsourcing has been seen as the solution. We don’t think the profession of salespeople is inferior now than it was 20 years ago, but we definitely think the capability importance placed by top brass, is clearly inferior to the efforts placed by equivalents years ago.
The growing sales capability gap is all the more serious given the wide range of activities that sales professionals perform. In some cases, their remit extends from high-level strategic analysis and portfolio planning, right through to operational,
in-market activation and channel management. Sales Professionals must be as comfortable working with creative ideas as with financial and commercial data, balancing art and science, intuition and rigorous analysis. They must be able to engage and collaborate with consumers, customers and colleagues in other functions, as well as with the multiple external agencies and specialist suppliers that support them. In the words of one multinational company CEO we worked with, “You have to be able to fly with the eagles and scratch with the turkeys!”
Taken together, these challenges represent a paradox for sales. In one respect, there has never been a more difficult era to be a sales professional, but neither has there been a more exciting and important one. Times of great change often bring unprecedented opportunities. The big question is, therefore, not whether sales as a discipline is important – if businesses want to thrive and grow in the future, it has to be. The real question organizations have to address is, how can they get better at selling? Do they have the world-class capabilities needed to drive brand and business growth? And if not, how can these sales capabilities be built in practice?
The proposition at the heart of SUPERIOR SALES is that organizational leaders who want to drive demand-led growth need to take a more strategic, holistic and
integrated approach to the development of sales capabilities. By investing greater time, effort and resources in building the sales capabilities of their people, teams and their organizations, they will be better equipped to improve commercial performance and drive growth. Over the years, we have developed a proven, practical and user-oriented approach to planning and implementing sales capability development strategies and programs. This is based on working through three important stages, which we describe as the 3D Approach.