Skip to Content Top
This site uses cookies. By navigating the site, you consent to our use of cookies. Accept

The Changing Face of Business Development


Written for The Burnside News

I'm on an airplane fairly often to work with clients in Alberta and Toronto and during those trips I attack my reading file to stay current. Some of the recent 'genius attacks' told me some things I knew and forgot and others reinforced things I instinctively knew.

For example, everything changes and our reaction and adaptation is critical for continued success. Whether its technology, generational, communication or technique, you can be assured that in a minimum five-year span it will change.

One interesting study came from the Harvard Business Review (HBR). It notes that 39 per cent of business-to-business (B2B) buyers select a vendor according to the skills of the salesperson rather than price, quality or service features.

This falls somewhat into the belief I've been teaching for many years that buyers can get the product features and benefits and services you provide from many suppliers. If this weren't true you wouldn't have competition. While it may be true that the 'apples to apples' comparison may not be exact, the fact remains there are choices. The major choice is WHO they want to work with. Many salespeople believe the only thing that matters is price. They've given up or don't have the skills to combat this.

Companies continually offer new products and improvements to their existing services. Given the HBR stat, how are you working to improve the sales efforts? Sales managers often get themselves stuck in the role of supervisor and while it's an important role, it still needs to be balanced with the roles of being a trainer, coach and mentor. What is being done in these areas to ensure the constant improvement of your business people in sales?

The great Miami Dolphins' coach once said, "I want our players to be so familiar with their assignments that when the game starts, they don't have to worry about what they're supposed to be doing. They can simply turn themselves loose physically to do whatever it takes to win the game."

I believe every professional must be in continual learning mode. Actors rehearse, musicians practice, doctors take update courses to upgrade their skills and sales professionals should as well.

What are you doing to increase the skills, attitudes and behaviours of your revenue producers? Is there a magazine article, web page, book, or seminar you can have them involved in? Is part of your regular sales meeting dedicated to learning something new? Are you working on the right end of the problem?

©2012 Sandler Training Inc. ( is an international sales and management training/consulting firm. For a free copy of Why Salespeople Fail And What To Do About It, call Sandler Training at 902-468-0787 or email

Eric Fry

Sandler trainer