July 31, 2017

#526. Rethinking Sales for the 21st Century. With Chris Ortolano.

Chris Ortolano, Sales Productivity Partner at Outbound Edge, and Chapter President of the AA-ISP in Portland, Oregon, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[1:52] Chris thinks the biggest challenge facing sales reps is being overwhelmed with information, with no opportunity to classify it into knowledge. Chris suggests contexts for learning and memorizing.

[2:51] Chris describes a sales rep today: one part politician, one part tango dancer, and one part air traffic controller.

[4:23] Chris started Sales Stack, a free forum for practitioners and leaders to create a learning community. Topics are sales technology, metrics, and outcomes.

[6:51] Many threads in sales forums are on technology and technique more than the buyer. Chris has interviewed customers to collect stories about the digital buyer journey.

[9:25] Chris discusses trends of building relationships and discovery skills in SaaS, with examples of companies creating academy models of training.

[11:14] Sales requires a person talking to another person. Technology should make that moment as effective as possible. Chris introduces a five-part framework for thinking about how to talk to buyers. Sales is a craft to practice.

[16:24] Middle performers have potential to improve, and it would help for management to invest in their development. Chris calls the current ‘hire-to-fire’ model archaic.

[17:33] Many VPs moved up the ranks that way, and they make the decisions. A few companies realize that knowledge is a powerful fulcrum, and they can ‘train to retain.’

[19:13] Chris details his beliefs about sales productivity. There is still no scientific metric for it. Balance sheets ignore talent. Salespeople are knowledge workers.

[26:24] Data always has a story. If we allow cognitive bias to interpret it, we miss the point. Silos limit the modern organization. Knowledge needs to be shared in companies.

[27:28] Chris explores how sales could be reimagined within the company. Onboarding needs to include business knowledge from all departments, on top of domain expertise.

[31:08] Chris’ five-part framework for rethinking sales is: Curiosity, Collaboration, Commitment, Communication skills, and Change.