Before the holiday break I had a chance to catch Ryan Estis and Don MacPherson from Modern Survey deliver a fantastic webinar on employee engagement for sales teams.


One fascinating insight I took away from the research was the answer to a key question asked of sales people.  The question; “If you could make as much money as you currently do now in a non sales producer role, would you make a move outside of the sales organization?”

The results: 28% said they would be out and 50% would consider the move.

That means almost ¾ of sales people would rather be doing something other than sales. Translation, deep down they really don’t want to be pounding the pavement.

75%. That’s an alarming number if you’re managing a sales team today.

This got me thinking. What’s causing sales people to want out?

Sales has always been a tough job. Facing rejection every day is no easy task but is it possible that something larger is causing this new level of angst.

The fact is, sales today is more complex than ever before and part of what’s adding to that complexity is the different states of disruption each industry and vertical is facing.

We spend a lot of time talking about the shifts happening inside organizations from a culture standpoint. How despite the fact that we’re charging head long into this new digitally charged world of work, the structures and more importantly the culture of the hierarchy still exist. In every single industry and in every single company we can see these two worlds battling it out. We're living in a half changed world.

Individuals that have grown up in the hierarchy or the network not only operate differently inside organizations, they operate differently in the marketplace as well. As a result sales organizations are facing different states of disruption amongst their customers. Sometimes even feeling the differences across business units.

This past week I worked with the animal health division of one the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. With verticals in cattle, swine, poultry, equine, and companion animal, each of their 400 sales reps and territory managers are selling into a very different environment and to very different customers.

Some are dealing with traditional patriarchal buyers in rural settings that still expect face time and lots of data. In the words of the client, "they want to see the science".

On the flip side, sales reps on the companion animal side of the business are calling on Millennial veterinarians in progressive cites. These empowered buyers are showing up busier and more informed with more choices and higher expectations.

They aren’t looking for face time. They want relevant, relatable, fast facts that will help them make decisions quickly.

Now every producer has to decide not only do I text or call this customer but do I show up with mountains of data and stacks of research or simply text the highlights and key points most relevant for their business?

The fact is, that decision can make or break the relationship. Show up with the same strategy to reach these different buyers at your peril.

So what are you seeing within your own client mix?  Do your clients operate in the hierarchy or in the network? What sort of expectations are they showing up with and how are you adapting and tracking your go to market strategy with each?