The Adapter’s Advantage Podcast: Episode 17 Featuring Frank Cespedes
Welcome to The Adapter’s Advantage: Breakthrough Moments that Lead to Success. In episode 17, sales management authority Frank Cespedes explores how the pandemic has impacted sales training, what sales managers need to know about the new selling environment, and the biggest trends in sales learning.
Cespedes is the MBA Class of 1973 Senior Lecturer of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He has run a business, served on boards for start-ups and corporations, and consulted to many companies around the world. He is the author of six books and many articles in Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, California Management Review, and other publications.
His most recent book (available for pre-order), Sales Management That Works, is a practical and research-based guide for managers, sales people, and investors that offers essential strategies for thriving in markets that never stop changing.
B2B sales—and sales training—have been upended by the pandemic. Listen as Cespedes shares how the buying process and sales training have changed, the pros and cons of a hybrid learning model, what sales leaders need to know about virtual selling, and the importance of just-in-time training.
Episode 17: Sales Training in a Virtual World | Frank Cespedes
“Buyers now are a click away from product and price comparisons. They don’t simply go through a sequential funnel. They go through parallel streams of activity online, offline, back online, offline, et cetera. And that’s a big deal. It has significant impacts on sales management.” — Frank Cespedes
From This Episode
Host Mark Magnacca: “What do our listeners need to know about the new sales realities and the impact on sales management?”
Frank Cespedes: “My book starts from a very solid premise. And that is the most important thing about selling in any business is the buyer and the buying process. You start on the demand side, not the supply side. And that’s the big change.
“Historically, the way most sales organizations think about buying, and the way they therefore configure their selling efforts, is what academics call a hierarchy of effects model. In other words, how do you move a prospect from awareness to interest to desire to action—called the AIDA model. That model is the basis, very often the unconscious basis, for sales efforts in most companies.
“That’s why most talk about sales is dominated by the so-called pipeline funnel metrics that are increasingly not true to buying. The reason is technology. Buyers now are a click away from product and price comparisons. They don’t simply go through a sequential funnel. They go through parallel streams of activity online, offline, back online, offline, et cetera. And that’s a big deal. It has significant impacts on sales management and academics.
“What I think the new buying [process] exposes is the loose screws in many sales models. So how do you construct and then reconstruct a coherent sales model?
“It is an omni-channel buying world that demands a multi-channel selling response. Many organizations are still wasting time and energy in these silly Oxford debates. Should we be online? Should we be personal selling? The answer is yes, all right. The sales management wisdom is how we configure those things.
“What I’m talking about is what senior executives don’t know increasingly about their customer-facing colleagues and why that’s a big deal, and not only for shareholders. If you look at the number of people who make their living in sales, if you look at the importance of economic growth in service economies, getting your sales force to be more productive is not only something you want to do for share price, it is a social responsibility of management.”
About The Adapter’s Advantage
Our podcast features leaders from sales, training, and industry who share their personal journeys of transformation and how they are adapting to an ever-changing environment. As your host, I’ll introduce you to some of the most interesting and inspiring people I’ve met over the last twenty years.
The conversions dive into the ups and downs of their journey. Our guests focus on inflection points—the aha moments that, in retrospect, had a critical impact on their success. These interviews will leave you with practical, real-world advice that you can apply to your life.