I am still of the sprightly young age where I remember the first batch of cream-coloured Compaq laptops arriving at Xerox for the sales team. As I excitedly unwrapped this new ‘fandangled’ machine, many of my peers wondered what school they would have to be enrolled in to learn how to turn these things on. Fears were cast aside soon enough when the young lady from Compaq gave us all a very eloquent crash course on the basics of Windows and all the great things you could do.
Now, admittedly, we had a head start on most at Xerox as we had all been around computers (green screens) and email (Xerox had its own proprietary system for years) for some time. Even with this though, there were a few that couldn’t grasp the ‘new work way’ and eventually over time they left - to grow flowers somewhere I guess.
Today, my team and I at Sales Systems spend a reasonable amount of time teaching sales teams the value of today’s great technology and how it can transform business life and, yes, help them sell. Cloud applications, features, functions and devices are things that could only have been dreamed of when I started with my trusty X286 Compaq - and this is really where my story starts.
"But I’m a salesperson, I don’t need this stuff”
Having heard this many times over the years, I was as pleased as Punch to have this gem presented to me in front of a group at one of my recent executive sales programs.
John (as I will call him), was older than his peers, and from what he said, had been in the business from its inception and had always been successful.
"I’m only here because our manager (who was in the toilet at the time) insists I be here. My customers are only interested in one thing and that’s the continued low price of our products. How the heck is one of these iPads and that ‘rocket thing’ (this part of the session was about how to use SlideRocket on the team’s new iPads) going to help me?”
Now I won’t bore you with the detail of how we helped John finally have his ‘light bulb’ moment later in the day. Suffice to say, it just took John a bit of time to get it.
For others though, sometimes even my powers of gentle persuasion and examples of those that have ‘gone before’ fail to galvanise the individual. For them, 'the rolodex is just fine thanks'.
Get on board or go home
Having lived through some of the greatest technological advancements of the modern age as a salesperson myself, always being an early adopter of new technology and now owning a company that provides leading edge solutions and training for sales teams, I have given myself permission to form an opinion on technology and how it applies to sales people.
CRM, email responders, lead nurturing systems, iPad business apps, iPhones – there are dozens if not hundreds of applications ‘on tap’ these days that can not only create compelling points of difference in what is a very competitive world, but also deliver fantastic service to your clients and, yes, even help you sell more. Loads more in fact.
If you are a salesperson, sales manager or business owner that has a B2B business objective then technology is your friend. You need this friend like no other. If you are wondering whether you should take this leap and understand this friend then get over yourself. Jump in with both feet.
In short, if you are involved with selling in today’s world then get on board with technology, or go home. It’s that simple.
Have a merry Christmas.