4 trends: The future of sales
Are you comfortable with paradox, ambiguity, change management and unlearning things you hold dear?
The future of sales is both on us today and will continue to evolve at warp speed. Hyper-competition is squeezing flexibility and demanding a new sales approach. The future will emphasize holistic business management. It will require sales leaders to embrace a blend of entrepreneurism, social selling, higher-level financial disciplines and skills in moderating customer innovation meeting, and thinking about design. Tomorrow’s sales leaders must possess the holistic business skills of a general manager, including:
- A co-creation mentality that is skilled at uncovering and marshaling all enterprise assets;
- A balance of entrepreneurism and disciplined strategic management;
- Leading an enterprise relationship and social-selling with the customer; and
- Facilitating higher-level customer meetings focusing on purpose; sales and marketing will show up as “one.”
Let’s review each of these attributes in detail.
No longer will organizations just hire great presenters and relationship builders. The future sales organization will comprise leaders who are skilled at the art form of moderating high-value, co-creation meetings with their customers, including marketing, operations and third-party creative teams.
Tomorrow’s leaders will be adept at managing an ecosystem of assets, alliances, insights and emerging new businesses. They will be skilled at facilitating higher-level collaborative meetings with the customer and all functional internal teams. They will become vital parts of the innovation process.
Entrepreneurship and discipline
Customers demand extreme value and will squeeze more profit out of every item, making it essential that tomorrow’s sales leaders be skilled at financial productivity analysis, organizational profit-and-loss assessments, ideas on transforming current products and helping to design fully integrated brand experiences supported by services. Sales leaders must think as entrepreneurs do, yet ruthlessly maximize all investments as if they own the company.
The future of sales will embody holistic customer thinking and a general management approach to stewarding a portfolio of brands, services and assets in support of the retailer’s core customer needs. In the next generation, every customer and resource is variable and open to reassignment.
Enterprise social selling
Tomorrow’s sales leaders will harness the full intellect of an organization. They will be skilled at uncovering an even deeper understanding of the strategic, competitive, interpersonal, political and financial goals of the customer. The competency of the future is linking the special assets of your organization to the boardroom agenda of your customer. This level of alignment only occurs through “enterprise to enterprise” relationship management with a skill in social selling.
The top organizations — and sales leaders — will continue to use social media content to engage the customer, providing ideas and insight until the customer is ready to buy. More and more buyer-seller relationships will become strategic or the relationship will not exist. The future is higher-level, business-to-business engagements.
Tomorrow’s most competitive sales organizations will structure their relationships around “customer immersion,” not just customer engagement. The manufacturer — and brand — will become “one” with their top partners. Ongoing curation of new ideas, seamless customer discussions, deep listening and creative discovery meetings will be the hallmark of the best future sales organizations. Companies will discuss mutual purpose — not products.
Tomorrow’s sales leaders will be better listeners, critical thinkers and creators of new business solutions, not just great presenters. Trust and fast learning, not persuasion, is the future of sales.
The future is here. It is hiring general managers for every customer. The future sales leader owns his or her customer base, critically assesses all new investments and embraces the very best of entrepreneurism and strategic business management.
Of course, accepting the future isn’t easy though. As author Chuck Palahniuk wrote: “You realize that our mistrust of the future makes it hard to give up the past.”
Dan Mack is the founder and managing director of Mack Elevation Forum, and author of the book “Dark Horse: How Challenger Companies Rise to Prominence.”
Industry praises Congressional support behind TRICARE pilot program in NDAA
ARLINGTON, Va. — In the past week Congressional leaders passed the final National Defense Authorization Act that includes the industry-supported “Pilot Program for Prescription Drug Acquisition Cost Parity in the TRICARE Pharmacy Benefits Program.”
The pilot will provide military families and veterans with the choice of how they get their medications and will also lower program costs. Importantly, the final bill also includes no new copayment increases, which also is in the interest of pharmacy choice and access for beneficiaries – which leads to enhanced health and well-being.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the final NDAA this past Friday — as negotiated between the House and Senate. The Senate followed through on that action on Dec. 8. The bill now awaits President Obama's signature.
“This is a great day for the TRICARE program and for the military families and veterans who rely on their local pharmacies," stated Steven Anderson, president and CEO. "This pilot program will allow the Department of Defense to access lower pricing for prescriptions dispensed at community pharmacies. Simply put, it will improve beneficiary access to medications and reduce costs.”
“NCPA and its pharmacy allies worked diligently to support choice for military families and veterans as to where to have their prescriptions filled," added Douglas Hoey, CEO National Community Pharmacists Association. "The pilot program in the military reauthorization bill approved in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion could allow any participating retail pharmacy, including small business pharmacies, to purchase medications for their TRICARE patients that are not Medicare eligible at rates currently available only via the mail order program and at military treatment facilities," he said. "We are confident the end result will be increased pharmacy choice and cost savings for TRICARE.”
There were 37 House members who elevated this issue of the pilot program when the House and Senate negotiators were finalizing the NDAA, NACDS noted. Rep. Earl L. ‘Buddy’ Carter, R-Ga., Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, and Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., led the effort to send a letter to the negotiators at that pivotal time.
Regarding the issue of copayments, NACDS consistently has advocated against copay increases that unfairly penalize TRICARE beneficiaries who prefer to use local pharmacies. Such copay increases, NACDS has maintained, carry unintended consequences which occur when patients do not adhere to their medication regimens. Decreased medication adherence can have negative effects on health outcomes and cause an increase in more expensive medical options, such as emergency room visits and trips to the doctor’s office.
In reviewing a prior version of the copay provision, the Congressional Budget Office found that it “would double, and in some cases nearly triple, the amount of money a TRICARE beneficiary would be required to pay out-of-pocket to get their prescriptions filled.”
Target celebrates 20-year St. Jude’s partnership with Bullseye Bash
MINNEAPOLIS — Target is celebrating 20 years of partnership efforts with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which helps save the lives of children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
The sponsorship celebration culminated last week with Target’s holiday Bullseye Bash, which was attended by Target’s chairman and CEO, Brian Cornell, and other Target leaders. Hundreds of patients and their families had a chance to enjoy a variety of holiday-themed activities, including Nutcracker-inspired performances featuring a cast of characters. They also had an opportunity to meet Target’s dog mascot, Bullseye. Click here for more on Target’s Bullseye Bash.
Target’s relationship with St. Jude began in 1996 with a commitment to design and build Target House, the hospital’s long-term housing facility that gives patients and families a home-away-from-home while undergoing treatment. Since opening in 1999, Target House has hosted more than 4,500 families from 45 states and 47 countries and territories. While accommodating up to 98 families at a time, each apartment is fully furnished with products donated by Target and vendor partners. Staying true to the mission of St. Jude, none of these families ever receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
Beyond Target House, Target has donated millions of dollars throughout the years to help fuel research at St. Jude. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since it opened more than 50 years ago.
“We’re proud of Target’s longtime partnership with St. Jude and are honored to have helped the incredible patients and families at St. Jude over the past 20 years,” said Laysha Ward, chief corporate social responsibility officer, Target. “I visit Target House every year – the families that I’ve met and the hope and resilience I see in these children is awe-inspiring. On behalf of Target, I want to extend a huge thank you to the St. Jude team and all of the Target partners and volunteers across the country who have dedicated countless hours and financial resources to help St. Jude achieve their mission of saving lives and finding cures.”