“Selling is a dying craft. This is nothing to mourn. Half of the people who are in sales today should get out of the profession to pursue other opportunities. Every time technology does the work of humans, we see that as progress. We’ve created amazing tools. Computer systems can fake real conversations, but many times this leads to a self-perpetuating cycle of nonsense. People send out mass emails and customers opt out. Social media is the next generation of conversation. Take a look at the tweets that are sent. Ask yourself, are you really having a conversation, or are you perpetuating nonsense?”
I’ll agree that sales as a profession is dying, but that may be due to the lack of training funds. Back in the day, all of the Big Corps – like IBM, Xerox, DEC, Bell – had extensive training for its sales teams. Today, not so much. Couple the lack of sales training with a total lack of training (and knowledge) in how to hire and manage salespeople leads to the mess we have today. So, yeah, many of them should pursue other careers, especially if you can be replaced by an inbound tele-marketer or an online application. (*Cough*Cough*Order taker*Cough)
Where Dave is wrong is in social media. Most people have zero idea how to utilize social media for conversations. Most tweets are just links to the tweeter’s blog (or other content), so he can track his influence and increase traffic.
Sales in essence is the art of the conversation. Open ended questions being the key to consultative selling. Translating that to an app is challenging, but learning that social media is just a new communication tool like IM/chat and email is simpler. Salespeople will need to integrate that into their toolbox in 2011. But be cautioned that most people using Twitter and other social tools are not the example you want to follow. Broadcasting all day will not engage anyone. Listening and Learning are the essential. It’s back to basics.