[Peter Gilbert] Belatedly, sales - long the corporate stepchild - is emerging not only as a topic worthy of academic and executive attention but also as the business function where substantive improvement is not only doable but also capable of delivering extremely attractive improvements in shareholder returns.
[Peter Gilbert] Many businesses are primarily sales organisations - nothing more and nothing less. They generally do not bring huge intellectual capital to the equation, they do not make anything, they have no factories to distract them, they generally have no complex supply chain to manage, they buy something or acquire the mandate to sell something, and then they sell it.
[Peter Gilbert] What's the most influential factor in business-to-business sales? Surprisingly, it's you - the sales professional.
[Peter Gilbert] The new sales professional has a new focus: demand creation, philosophical alignment, in-depth understanding of the customer's business, positioning, executive credibility and the ability to create business solutions that deliver demonstrable financial value to a customer's business.
[Peter Gilbert] In an increasingly commoditised and transparent global environment, it is becoming harder and harder for companies to maintain their profit margins selling traditional products and services. Well-established businesses are finding that product/service-based differentiation is more costly and difficult to maintain than ever before, and the resulting product differences are increasingly less meaningful.
[Peter Gilbert] Given the importance of "rainmakers" to the financial wellbeing of a bank, you could be excused for assuming that banks would be highly focused on recruiting and retaining the best sales talent available. But, you would be wrong!
[Peter Gilbert] It is now a business truism that products and services are becoming commoditised more rapidly than ever before, and margins of most industrial businesses are under increasing pressure. Winning companies are, however, discovering that if you cannot differentiate yourself by what you sell, and you cannot differentiate yourself by how you sell, you will, by default, have to differentiate yourself by how much you sell it for.
[Peter Gilbert] In the 1980s, America wrested the America's Cup from New Zealand by resorting to radical change, and competing with a catamaran which comprehensively outperformed New Zealand's conventional monohull in the prevailing light winds off California. Much the same situation prevails in selling in recessionary markets.
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