Skyfall Selling

This isn’t a movie review, but the recent excellent 007 movie Skyfall made me think about really good enterprise sales people.  And what they do.  At one point in the movie the new Q character answers this way when explaining the need for a deadly super agent like 007, “sometimes a trigger has to be pulled 

The same is true in enterprise sales.  Sometimes a deal needs to be driven.  There is much being made of the simultaneous “movements” of Sales 2.0, Social Selling, High Velocity Sales, and their relatives.  And rightly so.  Without question there is real value.  LinkedIn does make it easier for me to truly connect with someone – around meaningful context - at the early stage of a conversation or “deal” in a way I never could 10 years ago.  The metrics of an inside sales driven SaaS based business give me real time data about what’s working and allow me to quickly course correct in ways that were literally unimaginable just a few years ago.  But sometimes, especially in the larger deals, those new advantages simply are not enough.  In fact, more often than not, in complex big deals we need to apply the talent and approach of a “super agent.”

Skyfall is in many ways a meditation on aging and old vs new – the reflexes and innovation of youth vs the wisdom of experience.   And there is an obvious analogy for sales people.  But the more interesting question this comparison prompts is do companies that sell complex, expensive stuff, still need the talents that superstar sales people bring to the table?  The answer is an unmitigated yes.  In fact I would argue these companies need those talents and approaches more than ever.  As the skills built around product knowledge and customer relationships continue to be marginalized, the only ways to really differentiate are built around the sales approach.  

What are these rare talents and approaches?  Well, there’s no real surprise here.  Great deals are defined by basically two characteristics: they’re driven, and have a focus on value.  Good sales people (and the rare organization) know how to drive deals.  And the only way a deal gets driven is if the buying organization essentially let’s itself be driven.  That is no small feat.  Indeed, a prospect can simultaneously be driving towards their own goals while being driven with regards to a deal.  This is exactly where the value piece comes in.  Prospects will be much more eager to be driven when your solution is aligned with the important business drivers, initiatives, and KPIs they already know are important.  In other words you need to drive an understanding of what really matters, and then drive alignment to your unique quantified value.

Do you have super agents?  Are you arming them with tools to sell value?

Go get your 007s.  And make sure all your agents have the right gadgets.

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