Challenge or Opportunity?

How to make salespeople less expendable

Barry Hilton considers the changing challanges of a career in sales.

Some time ago I wrote an article in the Training Journal about why a career in sales is challenging and how to make sure salespeople become less expendable. All of that still holds true however, the nature of the challenge has fundamentally changed since March 2020. Maintaining motivation and productivity is in itself hard work.

Covid 19, like a freak storm at a sporting event, forced a break in the game. When the players finally returned to the field, not only did they discover the pitch was marked out in a different way, someone had changed all the rules without telling them!

Selling in October 2020 is fundamentally different from anything experienced before March 2020. The old ways are gone forever. They are not coming back even when the world adjusts and resumes normal functionality. Too many sacred cows have been killed. New behaviours have emerged and for many salespeople these are not natural or easy to adopt. They must be learned and practiced.

Some teams have run back onto the park and into this new game, full of good intentions but without a plan and, without any understanding of the new rules. They are playing blind and when they mess up, they don’t even know it. A career in sales got a lot more challenging over the last six months. The smart teams are helping write the new rules not just learning to play by them. Recently a CEO said to me:

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got twenty years in our business or you joined six months ago, the success chances in sales are now the same. There is a new game in town.”

Now is the time to learn and practice those new behaviours and skills.