Stamping out rubber stamping

Have you ever lined up for a train ticket in rural India? It was as painful to watch as Rowan Atkinson packaging up that illicit Christmas gift in Love Actually… watching and waiting for that train ticket to actually make it into my hand reminded me that Australia can ill afford poor sales processes.

You, like me, have probably seen and heard of many cases of sales people doing the numbers. Doing the numbers is really no more than rubber stamping in the ticket office at Udaipur. Dr Peter Finkelstein, a Director of Barrett sales effectiveness advisors, says: “Trends in sales management show that as costs are directed out of sales, the new focus will be on outputs, rather than inputs.”

As the economy continues to flatline, a premium is placed on effective sales strategies. Finkelstein goes further in his sales forecasting:

  • Procurement must start assuming responsibility for the creation and delivery of real value, beyond price and general supply.
  • Selling is going to require an understanding of ourselves in the Asian century; our economic future will be built on Asian customers.
  • The age of the enlightened sales person has finally arrived. They understand that nothing is predictable and working with ambiguity is the only certainty. Telesales will change dramatically in order to offer solutions.
  • Greater emphasis on training the sales force will come from sales excellence management.
  • Sales training methodologies are moving online.
  • Normalisation of social media in sales is about a shift to engagement, entertainment and delivering value.

Sadly, outstanding sales people are a rarity. It may be related to cultural norms, lack of training, lack of process, or simply comfort in the status quo. How would you rate your sales teams… or account managers, consultants, business development managers, sales coordinators or whatever euphemism you use for this critical heart of any business?

Personally I think he is right on the money, particularly on the point about procurement. It is high time those in charge of procurement were held accountable for bringing real value to their organisations, instead of adopting an attitude of ‘these guys are the lowest price, so they will do!’ How often has your company suffered with the quality of supply, when decisions have been made purely on price?

What’s your Point of View?

Geoff Slade

Geoff Slade has worked at the forefront of the Recruitment industry for over 50 years. He is the Executive Chairman of Slade Group and was awarded a Centenary Medal for services to the industry.

Geoff Slade
Executive Chairman
Slade Group
Level 10, 333 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: +61 3 9235 5100

Posted in The world @work
2 comments on “Stamping out rubber stamping
  1. George H Passas says:

    I couldn’t agree more Geoff. As an experienced C-leveller I am constantly amazed at the lack of appreciation of this. Irrespective of how sales and procurement are undertaken or how “electronic” we become one thing is common: People.

    “Greater emphasis on training the sales force will come from sales excellence management”. True! But so is the level of training for intuition for management to do exactly that: manage. Excellence in service and values-based performance culture are achievable if management has the mindset for proper training and delegation but an actual belief in its people and supporting systems.

    Add to Geoff’s thoughts the old chestnut and then you’ve made real progress in my view:

    “You Don’t Build a Business. You Build People. People then Build the Business”.

    Thanks Geoff for reminding us succinctly of what is often forgotten or overlooked.

    • Geoff Slade Geoff Slade says:

      Thanks George, it sounds like you were there before Jim Collins who says you need to get ‘the right people on the bus’ so that you’re ready for any journey. I like the way you’ve said that in your own words: “You Don’t Build a Business. You Build People. People then Build the Business”.

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