Sales Enablement Thought Leaders – Interview with Ian Altman


Each week The Sales Way will be interviewing a thought leader from The Sales Enablement industry on how they recommend organisations deliver more effective sales and business development results.  This week, The Sales Way speaks to Ian Altman from GrowMyRevenue.com on his views and predictions for the Sales Enablement industry.

 

As part of The Sales Way’s interview series with influential thought leaders in the Sales Enablement space, this week we will be interviewing Ian Altman, from GrowMyRevenue.com.

Ian Altman is the CEO of Grow My Revenue, LLC. CEOs and weekly contributor to Forbes.com.  He is the Bestselling author of Upside Down Selling and Same Side Selling.

Ian kindly agreed to share his perspectives on the sales enablement industry with us, the full interview is below.

 

Please can you tell us a little bit about how you came to work in the world of sales enablement, and what makes sales enablement such a special sector to work in?

I spent two decades as CEO of companies I started from nothing and grew to value in excess of $1 billion. I always enjoyed helping other people grow their companies. After exiting my businesses, several friends suggested I teach others how we achieved our success. Business growth can fix many problems, and often takes executives from a state of concern to jubilation.
How do you think sales enablement (and industry approaches to sales enablement, training and techniques) has changed over the past twenty years?

Nothing new has been invented in sales in 5000 years. But, buyers have changed, and so has customer access to information. Customers have higher expectations about the value they expect from sales professionals. If you want to earn customer attention, you must be able to articulate WHY customers might need what you sell instead of focusing on WHAT you do. Nobody cares if you have a better mousetrap, unless they have a mouse problem.

 

With so many apps and software tools being created to aid sales people in their selling efforts, what real impact do you think these tools and apps will have on how sales people sell?

Newer tools will enable professionals to research customer data, integrate internal and external information, and capture meaningful customer information all via the professional’s mobile device of choice. These tools will enable professionals to be better prepared for client interactions, and be in a position to share industry trends with clients. Better tools will simplify rather than complicate the interfaces to allow users to focus on the most important elements while not confusing the user with extraneous information.

 

Many industry analysts are talking about the ‘decline of the salesperson’.  What role do you think sales people will have in the future, in order to stay relevant?

Customers don’t need traditional salespeople as a source of information, anymore. Customers value those who bring industry or solution expertise.  The notion of salespeople as peddlers has a short-term future. However, sales professionals who demonstrate expertise, or experts who develop fundamental sales skills have a strong, long future.

 

What key piece of advice would you give to sales managers who are looking to improve their team’s sales results or set up a sales enablement program.  Where should they start?

Executives agree that rehearsing or practicing regularly will improve results. However, most businesses average roughly ZERO hours per week performing practical role-play. Where do you begin?

 

Simple steps:

1) Develop a structured process that defines what makes a good meeting;

2) Establish a repeatable method to practice real-life customer conversations;

3) Schedule time and require practice at least one hour per week.  Same Side Improv provides one example. The most important tool is the one you’ll use to practice.

 

Note from The Sales Way

We think Ian’s recommendations about regular practice for sales teams is so important – his recommendation to encourage consistent role play practice is great for ensuring skills taught in classrooms can be entrenched in sales team’s behaviours over the long term.

 

We also think Ian’s point about how newer sales technologies will enable sales teams to integrate internal and external information is crucial; a salesperson’s ability to take external customer information and industry trend data and combine it with the deluge of information being created internally (sales figures, research, product information) will ultimately decide how successful that salesperson is in effectively responding to their customers’ real needs.

 

Find out more about Ian Altman and his work at http://www.growmyrevenue.com/