Channel markets, IT management, Enterprise, Sales and marketing

What if We Focused on Selling Instead of on Sales?

Author: David Brock, president, Partners in Excellence
Author: David Brock, president, Partners in Excellence

What if we stopped focusing on selling and instead focused on sales?

Some readers will suggest I’m playing with words; I don’t mean to. I’m playing with your mindset, and hoping you'll consider a different perspective.

We use a lot of words to talk about the function of sales. We focus on the organization, the various jobs and things that exist within the sales function. When we focus on sales, we focus on that function and how it works most effectively and efficiently.

But, focusing on sales restricts us from a complete view of selling–how we engage our customers most effectively, when they are buying, etc.

Focus on Selling, Not on Sales

To understand selling, let’s focus on buying. Notice I’m talking about buying–not the buyers. A buyer is a functional role, usually in procurement or supply chain management.

In the past, sales engaged and educated buyers. But as our businesses got more complex, more people got involved in the buying process, and these people sought information and education from a variety of sources.

Today, many people with different priorities and agendas are involved in that buying process. Buyers are just one of functions involved, but the problem owners and others are involved–often from many different functions in the organization.

They no longer relied just on sales, but also the digital channels and other channels in looking at potential suppliers. Marketing engages them, they work with customer service/experience, they understand our business strategies, values, and beliefs. They seek to understand our long term view of the markets and the product/solutions vision. As a result, many different parts of the supplier enterprise are involved directly and indirectly.

It’s easy to see how our functional focus on sales limits our ability to meet our customers where they are at when they are buying. More parts of the customer organization are involved in buying, and they are looking for information from more people than just those in sales.

A Shift in Mindset

When we change our mindset from thinking about sales to thinking about selling, we change our perspective. We realize that sales people become more orchestrators, engaging different parts of the organization in selling–to support the customer, as they buy.

So let’s stop talking about sales and our perspective to selling, it enables us to be more aligned with customers buying.

Author David Brock is president, Partners in Excellence. Read more from David Brock here.