Marc Miller’s book A Seat at the Table is about the changing role of sales, and how the sluggish economy has forced salespeople to become more important to their customers.
“You know, there was never a search engine where customers, you know, five years ago or ten years ago, could go an Google your competition and procurement is standardized and organizations understand how to play salespeople off against each other to drive the spend in the wallet down. We really didn’t have a global economy per se ten years ago. Now we have these three billion capitalists today who, you know, are willing to a lot more for a lot less. Product lifecycles are shrinking every day because technology is very disruptive to product lifecycles.”
Miller says salespeople need to be viewed as a caring consultant and not just a seller, adding value to a prospect’s current strategy instead of using tactical selling to sell something the prospect may not even need.
“Assuming you have the ‘helping, not selling’ attitude–because that’s what customers want–you know, what customers are saying today, and this is research after research is, you know, they want salespeople, especially from a business to business standpoint, who understand their business, understand their competition, can help them drive the growth of their business. So not just sell me products, but drive the bigger issues around my business. You know, drive some major productivity gains in my business, take costs out of structure, and then secondly help me innovate, help me create new kinds of value for my customers.”
Miller says the goal is to evolve from being a ‘salesperson’ to becoming ‘businessperson who sells’ and that can lead to a seat at the table, helping guide the strategic direction of an enterprise.
Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.