John S. Harrington was quoted as saying, “Once again, this nation has said there are no dreams too large, no innovation unimaginable, and no frontiers beyond our reach.” In this tough economy, many people scale down their budgets, dreams, and ambitions. Yet a few smart companies use this opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons. They innovate.
Watch this six-minute interview with Richardson CEO David DiStefano as he shares the secrets to sales innovation.
What’s your innovation style?
- Apple has created a centralized, sometimes secretive and always elitist style of innovation. Steve Jobs is at the center of the innovation process.
- Google relies on a decentralized style. The company encourages its engineers to take one day a week to create new ideas. As DiStefano says, “They plant a thousand seeds and let them bloom.”
- Richardson, an international sales training company, begins its innovation process by assessing the needs of the marketplace. The company continually analyzes how salespeople perform in a drastically changing marketplace, and their development team determines what tools are needed to help sales forces win more sales
Following this innovation blueprint, Richardson has recently launched a new Sales 2.0 tool called the Sales Call Planner. The objective of this sales innovative technology is to give salespeople a tactical and strategic advantage over their competition. The Sales Call Planner is a real-time sales tool that is embedded in the salesperson’s work stream, and it is compatible with all major CRM solutions. To promote this new tool, Richardson created a video (see below) and posted it on YouTube. The video quickly attracted more than 1,700 viewers.
Empower your salespeople to innovate
Many companies set up processes and rules designed to stimulate high performance. Many times companies overregulate, and in the process they strangle innovation attempts. DiStefano suggests that senior leaders empower their followers to make innovation part of their job. Here is the direction that DiStefano gives his own salespeople when they are with their customers: “Forget what you can do and what you can’t do. Focus on their needs and on solving their problems, and construct a solution.”
It’s all about the quality of the relationship
DiStefano concludes the video by reminding the audience of the fundamentals of selling: In the end, it’s all about the quality of the relationship. This is an area that may not need innovation, but ongoing renovation.
Idea to implement: Make every sales call an innovation call!
Mind-set for your team: Problems are nothing but wake-up calls for creativity.
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