Joining me today is Josiane Feigon, President of TeleSmart. TeleSmart is a leader in providing inside sales coaching and consulting to Fortune 1000 companies. As publisher of TeleSmart’s “Trend Report,” Josiane has spent most of the last decade tracking the biggest challenges that sales leaders face each year.
Below, you can read highlights from our discussion or use the links to start the video from different parts of the conversation.
Millennial Talent 2.0 is Here to Stay
Click to start video at this point—Millennial talent may have shocked the professional world upon their arrival a few years ago. However, as Josiane points out, Millennials have used their complex skill sets to land leadership roles within many organizations. Not only must sales leaders now think about how to manage Millennials, they have to develop strategies to sell to Millennials. Baby Boomers and Generation X may find Millennials complex, but they’re driven by a few key motivations:
- Acknowledgement. Millennials thrive on positive reinforcement, but also approach their customers with a focus on celebrating their goals and achievements.
- Fun. Millennials have become known for integrating games into the workplace. While Josiane admits that “gamification is the new black” among sales consultants, many inside sales professionals respond to systems that track performance like a video game or a sporting event.
- Passion. Millennials choose to spend time on tasks and projects they feel passionate about, explaining why they often take a different approach to their work schedules and to their customer outreach plans.
The Inside Sales Superhero to the Rescue
Click to start video at this point—Josiane says that inside sales professionals who understand how to leverage their skills often “fly above” their peers, making them inside sales superheroes. She goes on to say, “They’re virtual. They’re social. They’re mobile,”. “Their skill sets are something we have to open up and start looking for.” In her book, Josiane lists 25 questions you can ask interview candidates to determine whether you’re in the presence of an inside sales superhero.
Survival of the Fittest Sales Reps
Click to start video at this point—“Customer 2.0 doesn’t need salespeople anymore,” Josiane says. “They’re incredibly independent and elusive. They like to shop on their own, and they’re telling us to stay away.” As more customers deem sales calls intrusive and interruptive, companies will shrink their sales teams to better fit the market demand.
Josiane cites one controversial assessment that the nationwide market for sales professionals will shrink from 20 million to just 8 million over the coming years. Inside sales superheroes may seem relatively rare now, but sales leaders will look for more consistent displays of superhero skills as they winnow their teams based on sales performance.
Say Goodbye to “Smile and Dial”
Click to start video at this point—“No one wants to answer their phone,” Josiane says. “No one wants to check their e-mail anymore.” Because prospects and customers see meaningless cold calls as wasteful interruptions, successful sales professionals must use social media research to find reasons to connect with their leads. When prospects post about their passions and their activities on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, savvy sales people can learn how to shape compelling conversations that don’t resemble traditional sales calls.
As Josiane asks sales leaders to say “bye, bye to meaningless cold calls,” she notes that succeeding in this new environment requires a different approach to measuring productivity. Managers may bristle at the idea of paying sales people to surf the web, Josiane says. Promoting flexibility and coaching with compassion have replaced outdated tactics like the “wall of shame” in top performing sales operations, allowing sales professionals to focus on their customers.
Josiane noted that the groundwork that many business laid out over the past few years will set organizations up for success in a “strong and steady” 2013. Her upcoming book, “Smart Sales Manager,” outlines a game plan for veteran managers who want to learn how to navigate the new world of inside sales success.
You can connect with Josiane and learn more about her work by visiting TeleSmart's website:
The next PowerViews will be with Bob Perkins of American Association of Inside Sales Professionals.
By Dan McDade