Pre-Book Launch Review by Dr. Cindy Gordon, CEO SalesChoice – November 2nd, 2017
I was thrilled to receive a pre-launch copy of Donal Daly’s new Book, Digital Sales Transformation in a Customer First World. As I dug in to read Donal’s seventeen thought-provoking chapters, it was very obvious that he had successfully painted a clear picture of the digital sales transformation market dynamics, and the impact this is having on sales transformation. Speed of information and big data is simply our new reality. The Rise of the Digital Transformation is put in context with his opening chapter’s words:
“In the two minutes, it has taken you to read to this point in this introduction, the world sent 300 million emails, watched 15 million videos on YouTube, and searched 8 million times on Google. Salesforce customers processed 6 million transactions in that time, and together we managed to send 10 million emoji’s! The world is truly moving at Internet speed and it is only getting faster.”
New Customer Engagement Model to Cope in Speed Driven World
To cope in this new world where speed is the new electricity, Donal introduces a new customer engagement model and stresses the business imperative to develop new sales capabilities. He defines a new relationship architecture to achieve value at scale, but also reinforces the depth of knowledge of the shifts in account based marketing and sales business practices that are needed to create the linkages for operational excellence.
Customers are more informed and less tolerant of Sales Professionals
Donal’s extensive research reminds us that we all must recognize that customers are far more informed, and wired to their needs than they have been in the past. With customer sales knowledge relevance depleting in accuracy often in days vs. months, keeping in tune in real time has never been more acute for customer and seller partner relationships. Donal highlights the productivity gaps in B2B sales professionals reinforcing that change is needed or further confidence in sales professionals will erode, as the customer tolerance zone for sales diminishes. Here are a few “wake up points” from Donal’s research:
- Only 25 percent of executives want to meet a sales person (Forrester Research),
- Salespeople in the US spend $574B per year in meetings with customers that never progress (Inside The Buyer’s Mind, Altify Value Index, 2016),
- 41 percent of buyers say they do not prefer incumbent suppliers (Inside Buyer’s Mind, 2016),
- 53 percent of sales people make quota (CSO Insights, 2017), and
- Only one third of buyers think meeting a salesperson is valuable (Inside the Buyer’s Mind, Altify Value Index, 2016).
Ideal Customer Buying Profile
What I particularly like about Dona’s book is his practical execution excellence orientation in his writing. He clearly defines the imperative to create an Ideal customer buyer profile to ensure that all sale’s professionals select optimal fit for optimal value. He outlines three questions to make sure that sales professionals select companies for whom they can best deliver value:
- Is the company in your sweet-spot (industry, size, region, etc.)?
- Are they likely to have problems that you can solve?
- Will they be successful with your product / solution?
This is the focus imperative zone for sales leaders. Time is a sales professional’s scarcest resource, so playing on a field where you can deliver value and win is what productive and high performing sales professionals do.
Human Capacity to Absorb Change
Donal throughout his new book interweaves core messages that our new world order is one of constant change and as much as technology is a driving force for these changes, he places the right focus on the right area – human capacity to absorb new change is messy and people are at the epicenter. Without human capabilities pointed in the right direction, productivity at scale is not realized.
We live in a world where technology is moving far great than human’s ability to ingest and make sense of the world around us. With attention spans dropping less than 50% over the past ten years, since the advent of mobile, making sense of the new world that sales professionals work in is an underlying rich current of thought provoking insights in Donal’s new book.
Customer Impact Architecture
Today’s sales professional must know the customer better than the customer knows him or her self. The Challenger Sales Model is not enough. The Customer Impact Architecture is particularly relevant as Donal puts the customer first, in every touch point to inform the sales engagement process. Donal clearly explains how customers want to buy, and provides a thoughtful and highly relevant experience framework integrating people, process, and technology methods to achieve success for both the buyers, and the sellers.
In Donal’s words: “There is extra-ordinary opportunity for the Customer First sales person who seeks above all to solve the customer’s problem, understanding that the impact on a customer of a poor buying decision is usually greater than the impact on a sales person of a lost deal. Winning sellers who adopt this approach rise to the top in the ever-growing SaaS economy. But this time SaaS means ‘Salesperson as a Service’ – always on, always connected, on demand, in service of the customer, reliable and secure. That’s the path to recurring business.”
AI Augmented Intelligence
As a founder of an AI company, I also appreciated Donal’s chapter and points of view on Augmented Intelligence, balanced with human judgement to achieve success. We are now entering a world where guided selling will increasingly become mainstream. With productivity levels of B2B Sales professionals dropping to all time lows, and customer dynamics changing often daily, keeping informed requires relevant sales insight engine(s) guiding sales professionals to be alert and to always “know their customers.” We have certainly learned at SalesChoice that AI can be incredibly accurate with large data sets, and quality data, to predict future outcomes, often hitting ranges of 95% or more. With AI mining sales patterns inside the CRM and outside the CRM customer patterns, and putting the patterns together with neura analytics for smarter sense making, there is no question that AI and Augmented Intelligence is going to be a game changer over the next five years. This is in Donal’s mind one of the biggest sales transformations in the history of sales. I have to agree with him.
Donal’s new book is a must read for C level executives that need to transform their organization’s to become more digitally relevant or channel omni-present. Convergence in managing diverse dimensions of customer threaded conversations, or insights to create an accurate picture of your customer can no longer be achieved without augmented intelligence and AI, this next era of sales transformation will be unprecedented.
At the same time, Donal reminds us of T. S. Eliot, poet and playwright’s quote in 1934:
Where is the life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
Without insight(s) of value to customers, and solutions relevant to customer(s), Sales professionals will simply become increasingly undervalued and lost.
Hopefully life for sales professionals is not foreshadowed by T.S. Eliot’s, The Hollow Men poem:
Life is. For Thine is the. This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.
Donal has been brilliant in helping prepare us for the future of selling as he reflects on the tapestry of the Digital Transformation World we live in and the continual customer dynamics shifts. The underlying energy current can simply be summed in four words: The Customer Always Counts.
Donal is launching the book at Dreamforce at a public book launch party (registration required http://bit.ly/2y8pjtL) on November 6 at 7pm. If you’re going to be at Dreamforce you should definitely attend.
The Book is now available on Amazon here.
Who is Donal Daly?
In 1986 Donal Daly started his quest to improve human performance with his first Artificial Intelligence software company. In 2005, he founded Altify, his fifth company, to improve sales performance through software and he is regarded as the catalyst for global advancement in sales transformation. Donal is author of multiple Amazon bestsellers including Tomorrow | Today: How AI Impacts How We Work, Live and Think, and the seminal publication Account Planning in Salesforce. His ideas, books, and speeches have inspired people around the world to perform better. He can be found at donaldaly.com.
Who is Dr. Cindy Gordon?
Dr. Cindy Gordon is the Founder and CEO of SalesChoice, a Cognitive Sciences AI-Based Sales Analytics Platform and Data Sciences company specializing in Guided Selling. SalesChoice is an award-winning company, and recently won the National Innovation Award from Start Up Canada. Prior she has held senior leadership roles at Accenture, Xerox and Citicorp. She also has been a partner in venture capital firm, XDLI Intervest. Internationally, she is recognized for her innovation thought leadership with over 14 books in the market. She is currently working on her 15th book called THE AI SPLIT. Cindy is also a Board Director/Advisor with: Corent Technology, TouchTV, Kula and CoursePeer. She is also a recipient of the Governor’s General Award for Innovation. Her community track record is extensive, highlights include: CATA (National Media Women in STEM and Innovation Leadership, Spokesperson), Advisor to Enterprise Sales Forum (ESF Toronto), to attract and develop more women into sales careers, Invest CrowdFund (ICC) Canada (Former National Chair), Former National Chair at Women in Technology (CATA: CANWIT), Founding Member of the Toronto MapleLeaf Angels, Former Co-Chair, iCanada (Smart Cities), Former Director, Nightwood Theatre, Former Director, St. Lawrence Theatre, Former President, Xerox Canada Women in Technology (WIT). Cindy is actively involved in helping to mentor women across Canada in the STEM sector, to close the diversity gaps of attracting, developing and sustaining women’s growth in the STEM technology sector(s).
About SalesChoice Inc.
SalesChoice a Cognitive Sciences AI-based sales analytics platform and Data Sciences company that helps accelerate B2B organizations to increase top-line revenue by 15-20%, improve sales forecasting accuracy by 20-50%, and improve sales productivity by 20-30%. The company has four solution offerings in the market: Predictive Analytics (prioritizes all sales opportunities and predicts outcomes up to 95% predictive accuracy), Prescriptive Analytics (7×24 sales guided selling coaching insights), Propensity to Purchase (customer purchasing intention signals outside the CRM), and Data Science as a Service (DSaaS) to help clients solve difficult CRM data science challenges using Advanced AI Methods, including predictive churn.
SalesChoice is a certified ISV partner of SalesForce, with an open API, and is also a certified Einstein Analytics solution provider. The company has won numerous awards recently including: Innovation National and Regional Award Winner – Start Up Canada, 2017, 30 Most Innovative Companies 2017, The Silicon100 List 2017 and Top 25 Most Empowering Big Data Company Award 2016.