The more observant of you will notice that I have taken a liberty with our quote of the month and taken it from a sporting context to that of sales. So to complete the headline let’s just add, “- it’s sales peoples’ attitude that win sales”. The point that Roberto Martinez is putting across is that you can employ a vast array of methods, but if your people don’t have the right mind-set it is a complete waste of time and money.

I have recently read a report commissioned by SAP, the software giant entitled “Putting context at the centre of sales success”. It makes some excellent points about IT systems that are supposed to support sales but are really sales monitoring tools, but as one would reasonably expect it talks about how customers use of technology is making sales peoples’ jobs harder, you therefore need a new more customer centric Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, theirs presumably. This line about technology making it easier for the buyer is true. However, the same technology is available to the seller, and it costs absolutely nothing.

Alongside CRM, we have a whole plethora of sales methodologies all designed to help you sell more but which in reality help you expend more money. What is worse they complicate selling rather than reinforcing the simplicity of it. I picked up this statement from one of the methodologies company’s website. It says “The approach and expanded, best-in-class capabilities of MHI Global support a holistic view of customer-management excellence throughout the customer lifecycle and across the enterprise from one source”. It doesn’t sound very simple to me, but I am just an old (true) cynic.

The key point that methodologies and CRM systems ignore, for their own benefit, is that if your people can’t sell you will waste your money faster. There are two simple drivers of sales success. The first is having a comprehensive knowledge of, and the capability to use the key sales skills effectively. The second is desire, passion, or commitment to do what is best for the customer. i.e. it is the right attitude. It is these two characteristics that define the top salespeople. In those companies where the salespeople are business professionals, like accountants, lawyers or consultants the same characteristics are required.

In last month’s edition of The SalesPulse I talked about mobilising the company (firm) to sell. But before embarking on anything where expense may be incurred ask:

 – What is our sales capacity and capability and how can they be improved?

 – What is the company’s attitude toward selling; is it seen as a necessary evil, or a competitive advantage?

 – How passionate are our customer facing people?

Understanding the answers to these questions and then investing to improve them will pay far greater dividends than investing in systems and methodologies.