Seems I hit a nerve with my post over at the Sales Bloggers Union (SBU) earlier this week. For those of you not familiar with the SBU, it is a collective of a dozen sales bloggers from around the world, who blog on a given topic every month. This allows readers to get diverse views on the same topic from various and different perspectives; with everyone contributing their own perspective, readers benefit from bloggers expanding or conflicting on a given topic, and get a unique 360 degree view.
So the topic this month is “Different Perspectives”, and that is what I did, in my post “And Now For Something Completely Different (for sales)”, I mused about the possibility of companies outsourcing sales. The piece was posted to a number of LinkedIn groups news page, and man did it get some feedback, well, little did I know that sales is a sacred cow, I guess I missed that memo.
To be fair some got it, others pointed out that it is already happening, pointing to distribution models, agents, trade or manufacturer’s representatives, not to mention a growing “industry of outsourced sales management” as one comment pointed out.
What surprised me was the complacency of some of the people who responded, bringing up a whole bunch of reasons why sales is different than other functions and therefore cannot be sourced out, please. This blind arrogance is the same denial that many extinct species in business clung to just before they became extinct.
In case you missed it, call centres are springing up in India, and they are not just taking inbound calls, they are selling to you, your neighbour, and that guy around the corner who used to sell for ACME before they moved off shore. It is not just blue collar jobs that are going off shore, white collar is right there with them. But my comments were about outsourcing off shore, but how companies will not only continue but will accelerate the shedding of non-core functions/competencies. And for those who want to preach that Sales is too central to the success of the company, well what about branding, PR, or advertising? Looking at the results many sales groups are delivering, it is clear that sales may not be a core competency for many either.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not promoting this, I do not wish this on these people, rather, this should be a wake up call for those who are failing to show up, or show up but don’t play with heart. They are in control of their future, they can either sit idly by, or they can act. The fact remains that in most years less than half of B2B sales people make goal, last year it was even less. The complacency among some in sales needs to be replaced by with innovative and energetic approach to sales. I know it is not easy, but if they don’t start upping up their game, they may just find they are the next, just as soon as the company finish with the current project of outsourcing their supply chain.
What’s in Your (outsourced) Pipeline?