Anneke Seley was trained by Oracle’s Larry Ellison, welcomed SalesForce’s Mark Benioff to the business world, and consulted for Steve Jobs. She’s been on the cutting edge of “modern selling’ for her entire career – one that started when she graduated from Stanford and joined Oracle as employee #12. Fast – forward to today, Anneke is Founder and CEO at Reality Works Group and the author of Sales 2.0 and Next Era Selling.
Matt Benelli talks with Anneke on the ACTivation Nation podcast, to uncover what lessons learned from 30 years ago still apply today and what opportunities have presented themselves over the last 12 months during COVID and how can we take action on them.
When we think about the transformation caused by COVID, there are organizations and leaders that didn’t make it because they couldn’t adapt, or they’re not going to make it because they can’t adapt to the new way of doing things.
The fact of the matter is, like it or not, everybody has had to move from an office to working from home. That has forced a shift from meeting in conference rooms to meeting on Zoom or Teams. Anneke points out that this swift transition may have had the biggest impact on enterprise sellers “who were in shock when they couldn’t get on an airplane and walk the halls of their client.” She argues that it’s a fatal error to effectively turn enterprise sellers into an inside sales team. Instead, organizations need to find ways to give their enterprise sellers more tools under their belt, and in some cases, rethink their sales models. That means not only getting sellers comfortable with video but rethinking how much business can flow through a virtual digital sales motion.
COVID has forced an “aha moment” for sales and business leaders who are now seeing how virtual selling can work and saying, “I didn’t realize that we could do this. If I had only known five years ago, 10 years ago or more, I would have done things a lot differently.” These realizations have accelerated today’s conversations about technology strategy and the right roadmap for enabling a virtual digital sales motion. While some may still be waiting until the day to go back to the old way of doing things, many companies are now reconsidering their office policies, work from home strategies, sales models, ability to close larger deals without travel, and so on.
If anything, the pandemic’s impact on sales is that it has cause many of these issues to come into question and opened up a conversation to solutions that wouldn’t have been considered before COVID. Starting 30 years ago with some of our great sales leadership titans, up through today’s pandemic environment, one lesson remains tried and true – the key for leaders and organizations to survive and thrive, is the ability to swiftly adapt to change.