How to help your sales team fight off a zombie attack


If there is just one thing pop culture teaches us today, it’s the Zombie Apocalypse is coming. You can bank on that. The signs are there. It’s not a question of if, but when.

So … are you ready?

Have you resourced appropriately?

Are you aligned with the right partners?

Have you fortified your position?

Are you armed for the attack?

And … how long can you hold out?

Because we know, when the Zombies come, there will be a lot of them. A never-ending sea of destruction with no remorse for the wake of death left behind.

Such is the life of legacy media.

Forgive the gruesome symbolism. I am a bit jaded by my love for the TV series “The Walking Dead,” but the threat is real. Digital startups and pure plays (the zombies) are popping up everywhere. They are faster than us, willing to take risks, and are focused on today more so than tomorrow.

Meanwhile, we continue to try new things, but haven’t quite figured out the plan. And the things we try are not very bold, nor do we give them enough time to bear fruit.

We are, however, really good at falling back on old reliable print — as if that’s the saviour to fend off the coming attack. How long do you think you will last waving a newspaper at a zombie? I mean, really?

I have written many a blog on the different approaches to take when facing the daunting challenge of digital transition. But today I want to take a step back. I want to focus on the one true commodity that we seem to exhaust without any real priority given to correction and improvement.

That would be time.

The time your salespeople have to conduct business in today’s landscape is being taxed. Monopolised by the powers that be that seem to think salespeople can pick up the slack on any task that for years was done by others.

On top of that, they are in a constant state of training on the new stuff, trying to figure out what to sell and what the priorities are, all the while facing changing compensation plans.

Our salespeople are the front-line defense against the would-be zombie attack. Sure, we give them tools, but only enough to make them dangerous. Bandwidth is taxed.

Sounds fun, right?

Fixing it will not be easy. It will likely require re-investment into the organisation and alignment with partners that can provide depth of skill in areas you are weak. Technology can and will be your friend.

Recently, I have seen a number of new technology and software providers that are focused on providing salespeople with more time to sell. More time to understand the needs of their customers and deliver true solutions. Streamlining systems with outputs in minutes that previously took days.

Sales enablement … that is where your focus should be.

Success will be limited by the time your salespeople have to close business. So give them more time. In fact, I challenge you to find an hour a day for each and every one of them. Five hours a week, 20 hours a month, 260 hours a year.

Take a deep dive into your pre- and post-sales process to understand how salespeople are filling gaps and taking time out from truly selling. You will realise that digital fulfillment takes a lot more time than print. Which can also explain sales reluctance.

Look at non-core sales activities and invest in systems and resources to take those tasks on, so salespeople can sell. Or look to outsource these functions to experts in that field.

Do the math, folks. If the average sales person in your organisation generates US$300,000 a year in revenue, that equates to US$144.23 of sales per hour. Giving that rep an hour a day back could deliver US$37,500 of revenue per year.

Doubtful you would duplicate that hourly sales rate, but surely you could produce a portion of that. In a time when we are scrambling for revenue, look no further than your own group. Time is critical. I can think of no better way to stimulate growth quickly in an organisation.

Give time to get time. The time it will take to truly make the digital transition. Be smart and provide tactical ways to execute your plans.

There is only one way to kill a zombie, but you can still stop the attack with the right approach.

So, again, I ask: The zombies are coming — are you ready?

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