On what he loves about SalesPOP and sales itself, why salespeople should be different, why benchmarking sucks, the importance of Sales and Marketing alignment, and advice for new salespeople.
Roy is a top contributor to SalesPOP! and seriously enjoys it. “I love working with people who are emotionally committed to their work” he says. “SalesPOP! is an organization that lives their passion for sales every moment of every day. I have written for SalesPOP! for 2 1/2 years and have enjoyed their loyalty and ongoing support. It’s easy to return the favor and be a part of their journey to make sales a vibrant profession and to help those who want to be a part of it.”
Roy Osing is a former President and CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all major business functions, including business strategy, marketing, sales, and customer service. He is a content marketer, educator, coach, adviser, book author, author of the Be Different or Be Dead blog as well as a contributing blogger to a number of other major sites.
Why has Roy been devoted to sales for so long, and what does he really love about it? He says, “The sales function in any organization is critical to achieving amazing long term performance, and salespeople are the linchpins to making it happen. My passion throughout my career has been to ensure that all elements of execution in an organization are aligned to deliver the expected results. A high level of sales performance is essential if corporate targets are to be achieved; I am emotionally invested in affecting the necessary improvements to make this happen.”
It’s also the salespeople themselves and their character that appeals to Roy. “Salespeople are incredible ‘warriors’ who love the competitive fight. I identify with them and the challenges they face, and if there is any ongoing contribution I can make to help them succeed, I’m all in.”
Roy does focus on the importance of a salesperson setting themselves apart from others–just look at the title of his own blog (Be Different or Be Dead). He provides specific direction for salespeople to do exactly that, as he has done in his contributions to SalesPOP! “The essence of standing out from the ‘sales herd’ is to take a long term view of the customer relationship,” he says. “What many other salespeople do is to flog products at customers in order to make their short term quotas.”
For Roy, it is obviously far more than just the product in the hands of the customer. “Remarkable and different salespeople don’t sacrifice the customer relationship because of the need to make their short term numbers,” Roy continues. “They put the customer relationship first and foremost so they can realize long term benefits.”
In addition, that willingness to be different must remain forefront in their minds. Roy says, “They keep the question ‘How can I do things differently?’ constantly on their radar. They are always looking for ways to sell that go against accepted norms; their willingness to take risks places them in a category of one.
“Salespeople that are unmatched among their peers have a personal brand position that declares ‘I am the only one that does what I do’ and is backed up with evidence.”
Sales and Marketing Alignment
It is currently Sales and Marketing Alignment month on SalesPOP! so it’s fitting that Roy comment on this all-too-vital subject. As would be expected, he has a lot to say.
“Marketing is critical in achieving revenue goals,” says Roy. “They play a translator role for sales in terms of what they must deliver.
“The process for developing revenue goals should look like this (I say ‘should’ because in many organizations revenue goals are developed from the bottom up which causes many problems):
- CFO, or the executive financial leader, determines the revenue required for the organization to meet its strategic game plan objectives;
- Marketing takes these macro targets and allocates them to market segments and customer groups according to the emphasis and priorities expressed by executive leadership.
- Sales then takes the marketing numbers and assigns them to sales channels and to specific customers based on their growth potential.”
Roy believes that Marketing should set the revenue targets. He says, “Marketing is key in directing sales where to allocate their resources and generate revenue. Sales should never set revenue targets and they should never decide on where to assign their people; their role is to execute the appropriate tactics at the channel level to fulfil the targets given to them by marketing.”
Their roles can be concisely defined, and Roy does so. “Marketing sets strategy and assigns revenue targets; sales executes the strategy and is held accountable to deliver them.”
A fair number of sales consultants will say that best practices should be shared between salespeople to maximize results. Roy heartily disagrees with this methodology. “If every salesperson follows a best practice, all it does is increase the size of the sales herd who all look the same,” he says. “Sure, best practices may increase sales efficiency, but they will never make a salesperson special in any way. They will never help a salesperson separate themselves from others and have a strategic advantage.”
Roy goes so far to say that a salesperson should reject the whole idea. “Salespeople who stand out from the crowd reject the practice of copying ‘best practices’,” he says. “The whole point of being remarkable at anything is to find a way to be unique.”
That is why Roy equates “best practices” with simply copying. “Copying others relegates the individual to the common crowd,” he says. “Copying best practices will make you competent, but it won’t make you great. To great salespeople, benchmarking sucks!”
Advice to the Up-And-Coming Salesperson
Lastly, Roy has some words of advice and encouragement for the new salespeople out there. Of course he starts with his advice on building relationships–and he’s pretty direct about it. “If a sales ‘newbie’ isn’t willing to invest the time and emotional energy to build meaningful relationships with another human being, forget sales as a profession,” he asserts.
In the end, Roy advises a simple, powerful path. “Focus on taking care of people and satisfying their wants and desires. Superlative performance will take care of itself.”
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