Recently, I had the privilege of dining at Per Se in NYC for the first time. What an incredible experience. Much has been written about Thomas Keller and his exceptional restaurants (French Laundry in Napa, Per Se in NYC, Bouchon bakeries, etc.) and their impact on fine dining globally, both through the chefs who have worked for him and through his cookbooks – although I can barely spell sous vide, not to mention know how to operate a machine effectively.
“Poets, priests, and politicians have words to thank for their positions” – The Police
There is a recent trend (fad?) in sales training around storytelling – it’s the “whiteboard selling” of this decade. Certainly storytelling is nothing new, as it’s probably one of the oldest forms of communication. As found on Wikipedia: “Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, and images, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation, and instilling moral values. Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters and narrative point of view.”
I’ve been amazed to read about and watch the developments of so-called “self-driving cars” or autonomous driving. The potential for this technology to fundamentally re-shape transportation in this country is almost limitless, from reducing the # of cars per household (or even ownership) and the need for large amounts of on-site parking at retail and office destinations, to enabling those both young and old with a new form of point-to-point personal transportation. As many recent stories have highlighted, the technology exists today; it’s more a matter of aligning our legal and insurance approaches to align with and support a new model.
I heard Steve Cannon, the President of Mercedes-Benz USA, speak last week, and he confirmed that M-B has already demonstrated the technology – the main barrier is one of liability. In today’s environment, liability resides with the driver and their insurer, but in the future, if an accident is imminent and the “system” or software determines who or what to hit, who’s responsible?
A great article in the WSJ (“Drug Firms Divert Pitch to Hospitals”) outlines how pharmaceutical sales reps are increasingly calling on hospital administrators as opposed to Doctors. The following graphic nicely summarizes this trend:
We have found that many sales training companies use the word “transformation” when they’re really only talking about tweaking the existing organization mostly through training, not holistic transformation. Depending on your case for change and the gap between your capabilities and desired results, rolling out sales training or a new tool might be the perfect solution.
Training could affect the change you need. Training could also prepare a sales force for an eventual transformation initiative or reinforce a transformation you have recently undergone. But training alone is not transformation.
Michael Perla and I have been researching sales transformations for an upcoming book – what works, what doesn’t, lessons learned, surprises – based on our firm’s consulting experience and through primary research (surveys and interviews) of more than 100 leading sales organizations. One of our observations so far is that there are several “levers” that can really amplify your ability to drive a sustainable change in your sales organization.
What’s in a name? If it’s a B2B sales enablement and resource website, then it truly says it all, and well. We recently met with AutoTrader.com and spent some time discussing their sales transformation and evolution from supporting auto dealers with advertising solutions, to becoming dealer consultants with a 360 degree perspective on all aspects of running a best in class retail automotive dealership.
If you want to take a trip down memory lane, walk into a car dealership and buy or lease a new car. If the TV series “Mad Men” has taken us back to the world of 1960’s Madison Avenue and three martini lunches, buying a car today from a traditional dealership harkens back to the era of Willy Loman.
I was driving on the “top end” interstate in Atlanta, and the Elton John song, “Levon,” came on the radio. It prompted me to think about partnerships and how there have been famous collaborative groups and song writing partnerships through the years (Lennon/McCartney, Jagger/Richards, maybe Macklemore/Ryan Lewis for a more contemporary example). What I find really interesting about the Elton/Bernie arrangement is that it’s not really about collaboration, but rather about specialization.
As part of researching effective sales transformations, Michael Perla and I have had the privilege of speaking with more than 30 sales leaders in the past 6 months to learn about their experiences leading change within their organizations. One of the interesting threads that we’ve consistently heard is the importance of leading change and how to communicate and lead an organization and functional area that can be highly resistant to change: sales.