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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Three Sales Models

We use “models” to simplify, understand, and use situations which are too complex to directly understand and engage successfully. Models allow useful focus.

The biggest problem with a model is when we forget it is just a model and think it is the reality. A model often stops working and needs to be adjusted. Reality just grinds on.

I have been thinking about the three models that impact salesmen and how they don’t seem to intersect or strengthen each other. Einstein spent the second half of his life looking for a unified field theory. I would think relating these three models would be somewhat easier.

The Sales Model What a salesman does to sell. The disciplines that get results.

The Social Media Model How do you use social media to leverage your selling? What can be sold profitably on the internet and what can’t is a distinction that eludes most managers and marketers. There is a fantasy that the salesman can be replaced by the browser. The good news is it can, the bad news is probably not with your offering.

The Sales Reporting Model “Take an hour a week and let me know what you are doing…Nope, that’s not what I want.” Once, I was trying to get some value from it, when Axon the Druid, my technology guide, explained it to me thusly, “Dude, sales management software has two management functions in the name. Who paid for it? What did you expect?”

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Good salesmen spend the most time using the sales model, should spend the next most time on the social media model. I think sales managers should spend more time defining the sales reporting model so it might become more than a source of disappointing surprises.

On our Sales Model, spend around 80% of your time on face-to-face, phone/web, and events. That’s what creates the sales. Everybody seems to have enough time for presenting and closing, which is where that other work is rewarded.

Social Media is relatively new. Here are the best guidelines of my social media model. A blog post is ten sentences, five paragraphs. Post twice a week. Thoughtfully answer every comment that is not spam. Finally, do you want to control the platform or the conversation?

Sales Reporting - I once spent 120 days redefining key activities in the sales process for a company’s sales reporting process and proved that they had been looking at the wrong actions since the system was installed a decade previously. After that, production began increasing monthly. Sales reporting should change as the market and offering changes.

Your thoughts?
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