Do You Know “That Guy?”: Why Your Sales Team Needs to Evolve

Sure he can make you laugh and is well-liked, but is your salesperson evolved enough to provide your clients with the best services and grow your business?

Tom LeBlanc

Does that guy I’m about to describe ring familiar to you?

He works on your sales team.

He’s a long-time veteran that helped build the company up to where it is now.

He’s a sharp dresser, but his clothes seem to be from another era.

He describes himself as a “phone guy” and eschews email when possible.

He appears to dismiss the Internet as something that’s abstract, counterproductive and some sort of hipster fad.

He’s funny; during tense points in meetings he’s the guy who breaks the silence with a witty remark.

He knows everybody’s name within the company and is extremely well-liked.

If I worked with you, this guy would be one of my favorite co-workers. So I take no pleasure in writing that I think he’s holding back your company.

It’s overwhelmingly evident that the way integration firms must approach sales has changed. The adage that sales associates ought to “always be closing” has evolved to “always be demonstrating return on investment.”

The integration industry, which is extremely progressive in terms of system design, often lags behind when it comes to elevating the sales process. Those two factors aren’t mutually exclusive. Sales associates within integration firms are, understandably, enamored with their company’s solutions. They lead with the “wow,” which was probably the right approach a few years ago.

Now their clients can easily see the “sizzle” via YouTube with a quick Google search. What they want, primarily, from their integration firm is to understand how those sensational solutions can translate to a positive impact on their company’s bottom line.

Related: More ways to improve your business from Commercial Integrator

Will it increase productivity? Will it save on overhead? Will it drive additional business? When and from where?

The problem, however, is that most integrators — AV-centric integrators, in particular — aren’t very good at conveying clear ROI in the form of metrics.

Finding the right formula for providing clients valuable ongoing information and conveying it isn’t easy, “but it’s absolutely important for companies to maximize their profitability. That’s where they’ve got to go,” says NSCA executive director Chuck Wilson.

“I think of AV as kind of in a juvenile stage,” says integration firm member group USAV president K.C Schwartz. “It’s time we grew up into young adulthood as an industry and start thinking about our role in demonstrating business value, not just running around talking about projectors.”

Integrators must evolve beyond selling boxes, says InfoComm executive director David Labuskes. “Years ago we used to say [to clients], ‘You need this display because it has all these great features.’ Now we’re saying these great features will result in this type of performance. What you need to be saying now is, ‘This performance will impact the quality of your meetings, and the quality of your meetings will result in better decisions, which will make you a more competitive organization.'”

The mission is critical. That’s why I welcomed Commercial Integrator columnist Daniel L. Newman’s idea to write an e-book on the “New Rules of Customer Engagement.” It will be available for download on Commercialintegrator.com. Since it’s an e-book, I highly recommend that you print it out and encourage that sales guy we both know and love to read it.