Dismantling the Sales Machine

Sales leaders have long fixated on process discipline, monitoring reps’ conformance to “optimal” behaviors and their performance of specified activities. Recently, however, this sales machine has stalled. The approaches that once led to predictable progress in a sale do not work with today’s customers, who are empowered with more information than ever before.

The New World of SalesThe new environment favors creative and adaptable sellers who challenge customers with disruptive insights into their housing needs—and offer unexpected solutions. Such “insight selling” gives associates latitude to discover what the customer has already concluded about its needs and the available solutions, determine who the decision makers are, look for signals that the customer is receptive to a new insight about their home, and then figure out how best to proceed.

Most organizations, despite faltering sales performance, still have a climate that emphasizes compliance rather than judgment.

To create a judgment-oriented sales climate, managers must serve as connectors within and beyond their teams, providing a continual flow of information that supports sales professionals as they exercise their judgment on individual transactions. These managers must also focus on the long term, monitoring customers’ behaviors and directing associate’s creativity and critical thinking to the most-promising opportunities. And they need to hire champions—not necessarily those with sales backgrounds—who can thrive in the new climate.

Please read entire HBR article here

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