Marlena was a bit puzzled. “If most of what a salesperson does, can be better done by someone else, then what do we need salespeople for?”
“There is still one small sliver of specialized work that is best done by a person in a sales role,” I replied. “Prior to the customer signing a contract, what does a salesperson do that marketing does not do?”
“They talk to the customer. I mean, marketing talks to the customer through websites, literature and other marketing messages, but it is generally one-way,” Marlena observed.
“So, it is the two-way talking that the salesperson does,” I picked up. “And what does that two-way talk sound like?”
“The salesperson, our salesperson, asks questions,” she answered.
“Asks questions for the purpose of what?” I prodded.
“To find out where the pain is. Like a needs assessment. Where does it hurt?”
“But, marketing could ask that same question?”
“But, our salesperson takes that data, that pain, and connects it to our product or service. If that connection is meaningful, there is high likelihood of a contract.”
“So, what is the work of a salesperson?” I asked again. “What are the problems to be solved and the decisions to be made?”
“It’s the probing and connecting,” Marlena replied.
“Does it matter if the salesperson is an extrovert or an introvert,” I smiled.
“Well, they have to be able to carry a reasonable conversation, but our customers really don’t want a new friend, they have a problem and they want us to solve it.”