We Need To Put "The Sales Closer" to Bed and Recognize Today's Real Heroes: The Sales Scientists -- By Uzi Shmilovici, Founder and CEO of Base CRM
It is time to stop talking about sales as an art form once and for all. Sales is art just like flying a plane is magic. That is to say, when executed well it seems to achieve the improbable, but cooler minds understand that it is a meticulously calculated feat of science.
So let us put to bed the myth of "The Closer," a herculean character in sales lore, enshrined in our public imagination as the pinnacle of American business heroism. Because we know The Closer is an agent placed within the perfect triangle of sales operations, data, and opportunity. These top performers still thrive today within the sales organization, but the organization has developed tools that demand more of our attention than any mystical qualities of salesmanship.
The present business climate demands a new hero. We need an archetype that our youngest professionals can aspire to that prepares them for success and that our senior executives can work to perfect. There is only one suitable option: The Sales Scientist.
Over the last decade, sales has changed because consumers have changed. The infusion of technology into the economy, particularly via the Internet and smartphones, has radically altered how we sell, what we sell, and the strategy of selling.
Following up with a web lead within ten minutes increases the chance of closing by a factor of ten. Emailing a prospect is most effective at 8 am or 3 pm. Referred customers spend more and are more loyal than non-referred customers. These are not just interesting observations we learned because we started tracking data; they are the bedrock of a sales scientist’s growth strategy.
In 2006, Harvard Business Review published an article titled "The New Science of Sales Force Productivity." This early discussion of the changing sales climate talked about new and novel concepts like "profitability predictors" and "digital cockpits" that allowed sales managers to visualize deal pipelines. The early promise of CRM technology has come a long way since then. Today, many of the essential functions of identifying and scoring leads, forecasting, and even predicting pipelines are completely automated. Highly sophisticated artificial intelligence (A.I.) partners with sales professionals to boost productivity and outcomes.
Sales scientists understand that while some deals will be closed on the golf course and require a touch of bravado, the vast majority of sales in the future will begin with a well-worded email template. This email will be orchestrated to go out at a specific time and be the first of a dozen touch points that have been meticulously planned in the digital world we all live and breathe. This is science.
Accordingly, our aim should be to go to the moon. Sales scientists should be recognized for their visionary applications of new tools and strategies that engage more and better prospects. We should hire, promote, and extol those sales professionals who leverage A.I. to enhance productivity and close deals with the predictability and reliability that we expect from science. Because sales is science, and it is time we embrace our future. This is the era of the Sales Scientist. And it is just beginning.
Author Uzi Shmilovici is the founder and CEO of Base CRM, a sales technology company based in Silicon Valley. He is a thought leader in applying A.I. to sales operations and regularly writes and speaks on the subject. Base CRM is an all-in-one, next-generation sales platform for leading sales teams.