I had a breakfast meeting with a prominent Venture Capitalist this morning. Our topic of conversation was the state of technology sales. More specifically, how grossly inefficient the technology sales paradigm really is. And unfortunately, it’s only getting worse.
Rather than regaling you with the sobering statistics and trends on technology sales performance, I thought I’d share my real world experiences with you. I run a B2B sales enablement consultancy. In short, we help sales organizations learn how to engage and sell more effectively.
Technology sales has been my career and passion for over 25+ years. When I am conducting an introductory call with a new prospective client, I can now play a game analogous to the old magic parlor trick of “pick a card, any card…now don’t tell me what your card was and put it back in the deck and I will tell you what your card was.”
I simply ask the VP of Sales if they’d like to play a discovery game and learn about my prescient sales enablement abilities. This is typically followed by a nervous laugh and a reply of: “Sure, what the heck I’ll play the game with you.” Then I tell them that I’m going to share my screen with them. There are two slides on my screen. One is blank and the other is not blank but turned over (just like the back side of a playing card:-).
“Here’s how the game works…” As I further coach my potential new client on the rules of this game. I’m going to ask you to tell me what your top 3-5 sales challenges are and in real time, I’ll type them up so we both can see them on my shared screen as we fill out the blank card. Then I’ll turn over the card that is already filled out with the top 3-5 sales challenges that I hear from virtually every VP of Sales that I speak with. Let’s compare the cards and see if I was able to guess what your challenges are.”
What percentage of the time do you think the two cards match up identically? Let’s just say that my magic trick of predicting what their top sales challenges are is far less susceptible to “picking the wrong card from the deck” in the aforementioned old school parlor magic trick.
All of this begs the question…when will we grow up in technology sales? How long will we keep accepting abysmal and falling quota attainment rates? At what point do we stop accepting the failure rates and inefficiencies? The technology sales status quo desperately has to change. In fact, I’d submit that a huge transformation is needed now.
As a lifelong technology sales professional, I take this situation very personally. I take great umbrage at the current technology sales state of the union and simply refuse to accept the status quo.
I have been working on some new ideas around this whole technology sales transformation area and look forward to bringing some of those ideas to fruition in 2018.
Happy Holidays to all and close all your deals!!!