Experts, scholars and academics of all sorts have been writing countless of articles and publications about the importance of strong corporate cultures over the last few decades. Today,companies – big and small- have been using its corporate culture as a tool to not only seduce new talents into signing with them (admit it, we’ve all been at least tempted by the endless supply of free food in their cafeteria!), but also make their employees so comfortable at the office that leaving the company would almost feel like leaving their own home (talking about that high retention rate!). The focus of a strong corporate culture has always been about keeping their employees happy and satisfied. However, that clearly isn’t enough !
Incenteev sits down with Prof. Dr. Peter Gentsch, data scientist, management consultant and entrepreneur of diva-e Digital Value Excellence and DATAlovers AG, to discuss the current state and the future role of humans in sales business.
Incenteev: Mr. Gentsch, how can I imagine the salesperson of the future? To what extent do the current tasks differ from the activities of the future?
Peter Gentsch: Tomorrow’s sales representative should see AI not just as a threat, but as support. I can save time by delegating to AI to find out what my target group is, etc. Consequently, I will have more time to conduct the really important things, namely personal and empathic dialogue. On the negative side, I could theoretically digitize and automate the entire sales process. In my opinion, the sales representative of tomorrow should be supported by AI so that he can concentrate on what matters in customer dialogue in a much more intensive and sustainable manner.
Do you think that employees’ fears of losing their jobs are justified?
Absolutely. Sometimes this discussion is a bit romantic and naive because they say that they simply have to develop and train their employees in other areas. I believe
that everything that can be digitized will be digitized. Everything that can be networked will be networked, and everything that can be automated...
The sales world has gone digital. But AI and every other tech acronym has only made emotional intelligence and the human connection more imperative.
Your role as an executive—whether CEO, CTO, or CMO—is to navigate your organization through these uncharted waters. The digital transformation is forcing everyone, from the C-Suite to middle management to reps themselves, to master the new tools at their disposal. It is blurring the lines between previously distinct roles. And, perhaps most importantly, it is empowering sellers to adapt to the demands of consumers at record pace.
"KPI" is hurled around so often that it has become a bit of a buzzword. Not all metrics matter to everyone, and some matter a great deal more than most. The real question you should be asking is: Which KPIs matter to my organization? Let's sift through the mountain of recommendations and look at the tried-and-true top performance trackers you can start implementing today.
1. Bite-Sized Actions
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” isn’t just a cliché on a graduation mug. Slices make the pie, and daily actions yield yearly achievements. For sales reps, the big three are:
How do you motivate a demographic in which 3 out of 4 people have no idea what they are doing? While there may be disagreement over the cause of these shortcomings, what can be agreed upon is that doubling down on the same system will not generate different results. Rather than focus on the controversy of failure, let us examine the catalysts for success.
Meat and potatoes, quotas and commissions. Staples of a healthy home and workplace diet, so we're told. Feel free to replace meat with an organic, GMO-free soy alternative. And while you're at it, reconsider those quotas and commissions, too.
You feel the bzzzz of your phone and your heart jumps. Who is it this time? You thrust your hand into your pocket, your mind racing to think of everyone and everything that could be trying to reach you. How many times does this happen to you on a daily basis? The fact that you’re anticipating what the notification might be before you even see it suggests there is some other factor at play here—one that means you may end up engaging your phone much more than you do your work. Today it’s common practice for sales managers to utilize social media techniques to engage their sales teams on internal platforms, and it's time your business did the same. Let's walk through the 4 key elements of social media that will boost engagement amongst your sales reps:
- Why you want microlearning
- Why your sales teams will embrace it
Have you noticed stagnation in your teams' engagement and motivation? Are you worried that your sales teams are not using their knowledge and skills to their full potential? Feeling uninspired at work can invite unwanted lingering effects on productivity and overall performance.
Sales managers are a dying breed, but sales management is not. The reality is that automation isn’t just here to stay—it’s booming. That’s a bit disconcerting to anyone not building our digital replacements. Then again, that’s the superficial perspective. Digging deeper reveals another: automation frees us from one-dimensional management.
Are you aware of the 2 digital transformations happening in the banking and insurance sectors?
The threat of technology replacing human labor has been around as long as labor itself: during the Industrial Revolution, mechanized looms replaced the need for artisan weavers, and in World War II, Alan Turing invented the first computer that could process data millions of times faster than a human ever could. Self-improvement is no longer an option to outpace the rapid increase in artificial intelligence, as we carry the burden of being restricted by organic matter. Instead, we can expand and improve computers by infinite degrees to perform tasks we could only dream of our own brains performing.
What a strange practice it is… that a man should sit down to his breakfast table and, instead of conversing with his wife, and children, hold before his face a sort of screen on which is inscribed a world-wide gossip.
Sociologist Charles Cooley on the rise of newspapers, 1909
Although the increasing presence of technology in our lives may conjure up dystopian images of our future selves wired into virtual reality simulators, the reality of the exponential development of mobile technology is not something to fear, but to anticipate with excitement at the coming of each new innovation.
We have grown more intertwined with technology in the past 5 years alone, than in the past 50. We are the pioneers of understanding what it means to be human in the digital age. Constant progress and innovation push humanity to coexist in challenging new ways. Over the past few years, we have learned to incorporate technology into nearly every aspect of everyday life.
"What can I do to make my employees feel a sense of importance in their work?"
A company's values and corporate mission statements are fundamental to any organization. But how relevant are they for your salesteam, day in and day out? Inspiring as they may be, do these values and statements contribute to your team's inner sense of purpose?
Quotes mean more coming from people who’ve lived them. From Google’s cofounder to Apple’s CEO, age-old wisdom is empowering cutting-edge leaders. Read, post, and build goals around them to inspire your team week by week. By the end, you’ll be writing your own.
“Have a healthy disregard for the impossible.” —Larry Page
We drive to the office in a 2017 sedan, whip out an iPhone 7, and settle into work like our grandfathers. While tools and technologies have come a long way since the 20th century, the mindset to maximize them has not. For the most part, companies are going about business as usual. The biggest contrast you’ll find is often the color palette on the break room 4K TV.
These additions are useful, but without a greater transformation for context, they remain just that—useful. Pair them with cutting-edge management, however, and your employees thrive. Most unproductivity can be traced back to a lack of motivation, which in turn traces back to mismanagement. That’s a good thing: the path to record sales starts with you.
1. Save time
You don’t have enough daylight to get through this entire list. What better way to launch your summer ambitions than learning to maximize what little time you do have? From family to work, efficiency is a skill applicable to any pursuit. You only have two turns of the clock per day. Make them count.
1. Ownership is overrated.
Nice people share their toys. So do businesspeople. The sharing economy is in full swing, but it’s still in its infancy by market standards. That leaves the future wide open to new business ventures and a generation that values access over ownership.
While a few purchases have grown in necessity (re: 98% of millennials own a smartphone), the rent-stream-share trend plows on. Don’t think it’s limited to homes or cars, either. Just because the money going into your pocket is permanent doesn’t mean your product should be. Remember: millennials want to borrow. Don’t burden them.
Top sales reps get praise and bottom dwellers get help. Where does that leave your middle? You know, the other 80%. Management tends to nurture stars and clean up after laggards. It’s our gut reaction to fix what’s broken and massage the golden goose. But let’s look at the facts. Here are three ways to increase revenue with your organization’s biggest asset: its middle.
Jordan Belfort was sentenced to the slammer with a $110 million fine. Not exactly a shining example of best practices. But that doesn’t mean his story is short on lessons. You just have to read between the lines… and securities fraud… and money laundering. Here are 5 sales leadership principles, as told through Wolf of Wall Street gifs:
Sales force turnover is the dark matter of your annual report. Despite being everywhere and touching everything, it’s tough to measure the extent of its impact—or who’s measuring it. HR refers you to Sales, Sales to HR, an exasperated HR to C-Suite. While that cycle repeats, let’s look at some hard numbers:
North and South Korea are teaming up to combat climate change and Samsung is building iPhone screens for Apple. Hell has frozen over. So why are your sales reps still fighting each other?
We haven’t seen the last of throwing colleagues under the bus, but companies are reevaluating that dog-eat-dog culture. With some sales forces ditching commissions altogether, management is discouraging cannibalism in the ranks.
But stripping employees of an industry staple is not the same as incentivizing them. You’ll need the right tools and a new mindset to empower your team. Ready to transform your sales force? Here are 4 killer tactics: