The Human Factor in Sales Excellence

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Sales excellence depends on more than technology, data, and even great sales skills. People — sellers and buyers — must remain at the heart of every sales strategy.  Several writers made this point clear as they recapped their key learnings from Dreamforce 16, the recent installment of Salesforce’s annual conference (#DF16).  Here are a few of the best bits on the human factor in sales excellence.

It’s widely known that some companies have erected inherent barriers to sales excellence in their organizational structure.  Graham Curme, CEO of LiveHive, Inc., threw down the gauntlet on the disconnect between sales and marketing departments in his post, Recurring Themes from the Sales Summit at #DF16, saying, “Organizations must be aligned to meet new customer expectations. Disconnected teams cannot deliver the desired experience.  Because interactions with customers are more powerful when they’re driven by data, customer data needs to be made available and integrated throughout the organization.”

In Forbes, John Rampton  also conveyed this point in his recap, Top Dreamforce Takeaways for Your Online Sales and Marketing Team. “Put simply: To be a customer-centric organization, marketing and sales must be better aligned. If there’s one thing you do before the end of the year, it should be analyzing the connectivity of various internal teams – specifically marketing and sales.”

Trisha Winter, CMO at Amplifinity, observed that creating communities — whether focused on customers, partners, or employees — is a way to bring sales and marketing people together.  In her post, A CMO’s Insight into Dreamforce 2016, she wrote, “Building a community is a unifying project across department silos. It forces your company to work together across departments. And we all know good things come from this type of alignment.”

Peter Mollins, VP Marketing at KnowledgeTree, offered helpful advice about breaking down organizational silos and bringing out the humanity of sales in his Dreamforce recap.  “A better way to think of it (whether Salesforce was turning into a marketing software company.) is less about silos and functional territories. Instead, think of It from the customer experience perspective.”  He encouraged people to think about:

    What are the tools, processes, and steps you can take to

  •         Identify customer pain and who’s in market
  •         Understand who is the buyer in the organization and what their political angle is
  •         Build a consensus to move forward
  •         Generate enough internal value with customers that renewal and upsell is a given

    Those aren’t exclusively sales, marketing, or success functions. They’re good business because they focus on the customer first.

Among the Most Inspirational Quotes from Dreamforce 2016 listed by Nicola Brookes, Corporate Communications Director at NewVoice Media, were a couple emphasizing the human factor in sales excellence:

    “Behind all smart devices and other technology is the need to get closer to the customer” – Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.
    “Social media without social connection is social stupidity” – Mark Hunter, ‘The Sales Hunter’.

In The Stakes Are Increasing for FinTech Innovation, a post about Dreamforce’s coverage of the topic of technological disruption within the financial services industry, Tom Krajan, Solutions Consultant at Hearsay Social, made a very astute observation: “Getting to know your customer can’t just be on a data level, it needs to be on a human level too.”

You can check out more takeaways from Dreamforce 16 in my slideshare, Notes & Quotes from Salesforce Conference.

Read the original post here.