The big problem in sales is the big bosses - Talk Marketing 089 - Jules White
The big problem in sales is the big bosses – Talk Marketing 089 – Jules White
22:19 The biggest problem in sales.
Jules White : [00:22:19] For me, I think the biggest problem in sales is actually the big bosses who run the sales teams because I think they just don’t get it. I think they don’t get the opportunities that they have. I’ll tell you a quick story if I can, Martin. I worked at a venue and I worked there when I lost my business, So we didn’t talk about that necessarily. I lost Truly, Madly Baby The Dragon’s Den Business. The TEDx Talk tells you why, so you can go and have a look at that if you’d like to.
Jules White : [00:22:50] I lost that business and I had to get a job. I got a job in this venue as a national sales manager. I went ten years backwards doing stuff I’d done ten years prior. My pride was in the gutter. I had a one-and-a-half million pound target for the first year, which was all the dross accounts that nobody had ever been able to sell to. I smashed it. I smashed it because of what we’re now talking about on this podcast. They then said to me, because we had a sales and marketing director who was not so good. I’m politely saying he was not so good. He would say to us when we were missing our target of £6 million by £2 million, which is a big miss. He would come out of his office and we’d say, what do you want us to do, boss? What do you want us to do? He’d say, Sell more, go back in his office and shut the door. They got rid of him and they promoted me to head of sales. Above all the people who’ve been there much longer than me, who knew much more about the product.
Jules White : [00:23:46] I sat with them all and I said to them, Guys, I need your help. Because ultimately I couldn’t storm in and start saying, Sell more, bring more people Blah, blah, blah. I need your help. We had 14 people in our team Who have we got here? Why do you do what you do? Why do you love selling this venue and why do our customers buy it? And every month for 18 months, Martin, we didn’t talk about target and we didn’t talk about revenue. It was on the board. It was there. They could see it. We talked about people. That’s what we did. And in 18 months, we smashed the target by £180,000. Now, that’s the true story. For me, it proves everything about this methodology of not doing the whole process, scripting, rushing a customer into buying something. This doesn’t work anymore. It doesn’t work anymore. So why not think about how we can make better relationships that last much longer for people who not only then become your marketing team because they’ll recommend you, but they’ll come back and buy from you again and again for the rest of your life.
Martin Henley : [00:24:58] 100%. There is something about this because unfortunately you can’t detach sales from the rest of the business. There is something about the way businesses go about setting targets that is completely stupid. The first job I was in, we they would sit down, they would look at what happened last year and they would add 15% and that was the target. That’s the most sensible targeting I saw in my entire career. The rest of the time they pull a figure out of the air for no reason really. It had nothing to do with what’s gone on in the past, had nothing to do with the amount of stuff we had to sell and nothing to do with anything other than somebody in the office decided we should chase this big target and fail, obviously, because, you know, how could you not? So there is something about this growth for growth sake, stupid targets thing that goes on in businesses that makes the whole thing grossly unpleasant. It makes the whole thing grossly unpleasant. I think it would be much better if businesses would just sit down and think about actually what do we need rather than what do we hope we could possibly steal from them from the market.
Jules White : [00:26:19] As you say, it goes hand in hand then with the rest of the business. You decide on what you need, revenue-wise as a business, which is correct. Maybe you aspire to do more, hopefully you do, because then you grow. My point is, as yours is, you then have to have this adjoined effort where actually you speak to the people who are speaking to the customers. What is it they need? What is it they want? Are our products right? Are we serving the market correctly? All of these things become part of hitting a target, not just theirs. You figure bang out as many calls as you can and you’ll hit it. That’s what repulses me about the whole management of sales, I think, and has been my experience.
Martin Henley : [00:27:04] So Yes. And it’s been my experience. And I don’t know why this only occurred to me recently, but it did. I was I was doing a training, Digital Transformation in Sales. Can you imagine? People want to digitally transform sales? That’s the training that we did. It was good. It was good. But it only occurred to me then when I was with these hardcore telecoms team, hardcore, proper hardcore telecom, telecom sales team; how ridiculous it is that we are expected to do in most situations. The role of the salesperson is to go out and convince somebody else, quite often a complete stranger of something, that this product is going to be great for them, and it’s not even our idea of what’s going to be great for them, it’s somebody else’s idea, some geek sat in a product development team who’s never spoken to a customer has decided they should have this thing. This is why salespeople get perceived as being bullies or snakes all of these things because they have to be slimey and underhand to get the job done because who’s going to buy something they didn’t ever want or ever need just because some product geek has decided this is the thing? The issue is then, between the product geek and us, the salespeople, are the marketing people who were supposed to understand the market and should be informing the product development, like with sales is support but if they don’t provide us with the leads, that’s the work of salespeople, then the whole thing falls over. You’ve got me on one now.
Jules White : [00:28:43] Well, yeah, but it’s true. We’re talking about something in isolation that actually isn’t isolated. It’s got to be part of the whole big picture of a business.
[00:28:54] Yes. It’s like if you play Lionel Messi on his own, he’s going to struggle.
Jules White : [00:29:01] Such a good example.
Martin Henley : [00:29:04] Yeah and if the defence and the midfield are passing him flat footballs, he’s also going to struggle. That’s the way I feel about it, is the sales should be the strikers putting in the goals They should be, but very often they are doing the work of marketing. They can’t do the work of marketing, they haven’t got the budget and the resources to do it. So they’re knocking on doors one by one, or phoning people one by one, doing a really poor job of marketing. It just seems to me like you could revolutionise, I think, 95% of the sales and marketing functions in the world in a minute and just say, no this is what you’re supposed to be doing. What you’re doing, generating a shitload of shit leads isn’t helping anyone. What you’re doing, bullying people into doing this isn’t helping anyone. What you’re doing, imagining products from thin air also isn’t helping anyone. So you could revolutionize any sales and marketing department in a second. How have they how have they possibly got it so wrong?
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
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