All that helps today is that we have a better idea, and the better idea is a fight against the bad idea. The weapons that we have are not armored. We have no hymns, we have no flags, we have no rifles. The only thing we have is our idea, and we bring that idea into the light. And when people understand it, the better idea will one day succeed.
– Ludwig von Mises
Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow
Here at Pipeliner, we have taken what von Mises says totally to heart. We believe that education with ideas is the most important activity in which we are engaged. We believe that if we keep pushing out a great idea, one day people will say, “That makes sense! 2 plus 2 is 4!”
Once more, you can see that we’re not just about the Pipeliner CRM solution only.
Education and Sales
Why would the developer of a sales tool believe so much in education? And why do we believe education is so closely tied to sales?
The original purpose of sales—though it may not be so obvious today—was education. The salesperson educated the potential buyer about a product or service. Once that education was complete, the buyer would either say, “You’ve educated me for nothing! I see no value!” or “You have educated me on something that will help me, and that is why I will buy your product.” Education clearly showed the buyer the inherent value of the product or service.
Education in Sales Still Needed?
Today there is an enormous amount being written about the changes in buyer behavior. The gist of it is, buyers are educating themselves online about products, and by the time they contact a salesperson they’ve already made 70- 80% of their decision. Therefore a salesperson is no longer in the business of educating prospects.
As someone engaged in the business of sales, as well as being engaged in the business of providing a software product for salespeople, I politely beg to differ.
For one thing, as products move up the scale of complexity, there is much that cannot be quickly or adequately described in web pages or online materials. Where are prospects going to turn for information on these? Sales reps, who are today’s product experts.
But even with products that aren’t so complex, for a full understanding of how they might be applied within that prospect’s business or with their particular application, it would still be very beneficial for a prospect to be educated by a salesperson.
A noteworthy point is that, whenever a salesperson is educating a prospect, the salesperson should remain at “eye level” with the prospect. In other words, not “looking down” at the prospect or being condescending.
This is where empathy comes into the sales process. In order to really empathize with a prospect and fully understand what they are going through, a salesperson must do everything they can to put themselves in the place of the prospect—that’s what empathy actually is.
Interestingly, that is also where empathy comes into education itself.
Pipeliner and Education
If you look through our web site, you’ll see we have created a tremendous number of educational materials. These include blog articles, tips and tricks, ebooks and ebooklets, videos, white papers, infographics and much more. We have even built education into the Pipeliner CRM product itself.
To say the least, we are big believers in education—not just about our product, but about sales, leadership and anything else relevant to the world of business in which we can help. Most of our materials are provided free of charge—we really want to help educate and change the business world for the better.
Education and Application
In looking through our educational materials, you’ll see that they are totally geared toward application. If you read or learn something, we believe you should be able to turn around and apply it. Otherwise, why learn it?
I personally believe that this is the future of education in general—it will move away from being so theory-oriented and will be completely structured around applicability.
At Pipeliner we believe in having data arranged around a goal, just as we have done in our product. The goal is that you do something that brings you a benefit, and you learn because the data is proven on principles. And it’s not theoretical, it’s practical.
That is where the Pipeliner Knowledge Factory enters in.
Pipeliner Knowledge Factory
This issue of theoretical versus practical instruction might be best expressed in this humorous quote attributed to Mark Twain: “Never let schooling interfere with your education.”
In keeping with our commitment to practically applicable education, we have begun the Pipeliner Knowledge Factory. We have given our educational division this name because sales—the main subject of our works—is a production activity, not a theoretical one.
Why didn’t we call it a school? Because when people speak of school, you find that many didn’t like it. Many had bad experiences there—most weren’t returning home from school every day and saying, “Wow! That’s fantastic!” For them it was boring and even sometimes tragic. This attitude has certainly been expressed in music throughout the years, a classic example being 1979’s The Logical Song by Supertramp:
When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, well they’d be singing so happily,
Joyfully, playfully watching me.
But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible,
Logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
Clinical, intellectual, cynical.
We also didn’t call our educational effort a university, because the university in the real world has a different agenda—one that is more theoretical and reflective. And while we feel it is important that people receive a university education, most of what is taught there is not immediately applicable. For similar reasons, we didn’t use the word academy.
In a factory, you can learn a craft, which has specific steps and can be precisely taught, as opposed to an art, which is far more instinctive and nebulous. Sales, as we’ve said many times, is a craft.
The focus of the Pipeliner Knowledge Factory is to produce information that can be instantly used. While the knowledge we are imparting comes out of business principles, it is practical in its application. It assists in business success by helping minimize risk and leverage opportunities.
Pipeliner is the only CRM solution based in such sound principles—not simply and only on a list of features we think salespeople and sales managers need.