You may have read a few of my recent posts (or perhaps taken my webinar on Sales Prospecting in the New Normal) where I posted the following image:
I was specifically talking about customers who are looking at you on LinkedIn, but I got some great responses and comments - here's a great one from Gerry Domingo:
Good read as always! I actually had a similar scenario at a dealership I once worked at, where the salesman's office was flanked with sales awards. This individual made it a point to mention this at one point during every client conversation he had. He only stopped when one customer told him "That's good and all but telling me you're the top sales guy here makes me not wanna do business with you". I had to stop outside of his office to eavesdrop. "why is that?" he asked the customer. "Well, that just tells me that you are good at making money off people, and I'd rather support the guy who needs my business (aka my money) more than you do". I was like "Damn, dude has a point."
Great story! I truly believe that treating LinkedIn like a resume will not serve you well in the New Normal we find ourselves in. As our orgnaizations concetrate more on Demand Generation, our prospects will be researching us more and more - before they're even on our sales radar. The old adage is you never get a second chance to make a first impression - so if you're selling AR Software, why do you think an AR Manager cares that you made quota the last 4 quarters and spent April in Mazatlán on your P-Club trip? HINT - THEY DONT!
So now that we all agree (ZING!) let's actually talk about someone else who doesn't care about your sales quota. Or your sales awards. Or your years of quota-busting performance.
Who is that?
There's a harsh truth about modern B2B sales that we rarely talk about - we tiptoe past it like children do when passing an ominously dark doorway.
The Truth? Well, let me personalize it: My years at or above quota will not save my job. Not anymore.
You may have read about what happened at a rather large company this week. Thousands of people let go in a massive restructuring - a lot of them salespeople & sales managers that were at or above quota!
My LinkedIn feed was full of posts from sales pros that were at or above quota, year after year. Many of them said this had been their BEST YEAR EVER!
And they got the pink slip along with everyone else.
My heart goes out to them. It's devastating to be let go from a job - I know, it's happened to me.
And it's downright insulting to be let go from a job when you're EXCELLING at it! To be let go, after you've done everything you've been asked to do, over and over, year after year - because someone with a spreadsheet in an office you've never seen has "an idea" to save money.
The honest to goodness truth is that we live in a world where corporate decisions are made far up the food chain and for reasons that have little or nothing to do with us - but if we're honest with ourselves, this much we all know is true.
The reality is, that simply bringing in the number we're asked to is no longer enough to save our jobs. There, I said it.
And with AI getting better and better, we can be sure that if our employers can find a cheaper way to get our jobs done, they will.
This is not meant to disparage good companies, or good employers - there are a bunch of them out there. Hopefully, ZynBit is one of them.
But there has been a perception in B2B sales for years, that Top Performers were "safe" from the regular "goings on" at a company. I literally had a division VP tell me once "Derek, we don't care if you ever come into the office, just keep doing what you're doing."
That "doing" was "selling a crap-ton of stuff."
But in the New Normal, Top Performers are not safe from bad product rollouts, bad pricing models, bad customer service, bad product reviews or bad whatever that eventually causes a company to re-shift and refocus them out of a job.
Well, now that I've given you a reason to be super motivated on a Friday, what should Top Performers do about it?
Well, there's not a lot we can do if some person you never met thinks you're no longer "part of the glorious future" of Widget Inc.
But there is one thing I do, personally, to try to ensure I have a place in this new normal we find ourselves in:
My Brand Is My Own - I AM NOT Derek Wyszynski, ZynBit Salesperson. I am Derek Wyszynski, Sales Professional who works at ZynBit. In 2017 I have to put MY BRAND first.
I talk a lot (maybe TOO MUCH) about how sales people have to think of the CUSTOMER first. Well, this is the one time I support salespeople thinking about Themselves First. My Social Media Presence is first and foremost a message to my customers, but it's also a message to potential business partners and employers - I have my own, personal, value-prop, and when you having me selling your stuff and things, you get all of that. This type of branding isn't just for people who are selling sales training anymore.
It's for all salespeople.
Look, if you've been selling pharmaceuticals (legally - looking at YOU Dave) for 10 years, your social media presence should be chock full of pharmaceutical insights - trends, impacts of legislation, the ageing workforce...whatever. Because if the wonder drug you're crushing your numbers with ends up growing hair on the soles of people's feet, you're gonna end up working someone else - no matter how many quarters you were at quota.
How important is this? Earlier I told you my feed was full of posts from quota-busters who spent years at a company doing what was asked of them. I went and then looked at their LinkedIn Profiles - here is what I found:
- Average # of Connections - 102
- Average # of Followers - 32
- Average # of Articles - 2
- Average # of Posts - 5
And who can really blame them? For years they concentrated on building the brand of their employer - doing what was asked of them. They didn't have time for personal brand building. They were too busy making P-Club year after year.
Now, I'm not saying busting out your LinkedIn is going to have recruiters banging down your door. And of course a future employer is going to be interested in whether or not you can meet a sales quota.
What I'm saying is this: your employer pays you to attain quota. If don't make quota, you can be let go. But you must realize in this new normal even if you DO make quota you can be let go.
It's up to you to make yourself VALUABLE outside of the sales attainment number you've been assigned.
Valuable to customers and valuable to potential employers.
Because in today's world, making quota is not enough.