man smiling dr howard dover headshot sales innovation paradox podcast episode #220

Sales Innovation Paradox with Dr. Howard Dover, #220


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With the sales enablement industry exploding, why is it that B2B and B2C companies still struggle to hit quota?

The answer isn’t at all what we would expect. Because despite all of the sales technologies, improved sales methodologies, advanced sales training – there still seems to be a disconnect between how modern sellers sell and how modern buyers buy.

But, how do sales leaders effectively close this gap is quickly becoming a hot button topic in the sales community. And, addressing what this all means, why there is a widening gap, and how to efficiently turn the sales tide are exactly the areas of expertise of this episode’s guest, Dr. Howard Dover.

Dr. Howard Dover is the Founder and Director of the Center for Professional Sales at the University of Texas at Dallas, renowned speaker, and the Amazon best-selling author of The Sales Innovation Paradox: Harnessing Modern Methods for Optimal Sales Performance.

Over the past decade, he has trained some of the top entry-level sales producers and regularly shares his findings and modern methods via various conferences and publications.

Before working in academia, Dr. Dover founded several companies, including a sales contracting company that he operated for a decade. During his start-up years and government work, he developed the ability to harness technology to increase both the efficiency of business processes and the effectiveness of sales efforts.

Download this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast to hear Dr. Dover’s impactful insights and recommendations to sales leaders to close the gap.

What is the sales innovation paradox?

I wanted to kick off our discussion with a term that many aren’t familiar with. Over the past three years, no one will argue that we have seen a radical shift in how selling is done.

With the pandemic, pushing modern sellers to embrace more virtual selling options, the number of tools at sales professional’s disposal has dramatically increased. Yet, sales haven’t followed the same trend. Which is why I always say, “a fool with a tool is still a fool.”

I wanted to get Dr. Dover’s take and better understand what this sales paradox is, how it started, and the implications it could have on the buying/selling process.

His unique perspective is quite telling, “How is it possible that we live in a day where we have technology that was designed to make us better at sales, and yet somehow we find ourselves in a place where we are decidedly worse at selling. That is the Sales Paradox. When we look at the research, buyers overwhelmingly are saying they want a sales rep free experience. But, we keep pushing for more and more sales reps to sell.”

I’ve seen the same trend in the industry over the past few years. Like The Sales Paradox asserts, the number of SDRs has increased by 1,300%, but their productivity and success rates are dismal at best.

In other words, customers have gotten smarter about buying faster than sellers have gotten smarter at selling. And, this isn’t unique for a particular industry. This is a growing trend that is on pace to continue to worsen, if left unaddressed.

Listen to the full conversation to hear what sales leaders could be doing to make matters worse and what they should be doing instead to drive more sales conversations.

How can sales reps book more sales calls?

If there is a sales paradox at play that isn’t leading to more sales, then how can sales reps truly book more calls with prospects?

Here at Vengreso, we have a very specific method that we follow to personalize all of our outreach messages to increase the chances of building an authentic relationship with potential customers.

Many sales reps take the ‘spray and pray’ approach and bombard prospects with lots of generic messages that don’t speak to their direct pain points or needs.

I wanted to hear Dr. Dover’s insights as they relate to what he believes is the “secret sauce” to move the sales needle.

What he shares was very interesting, “We’re giving the customer a phenomenal opportunity to go find defensive mechanisms to run and hide because the sales messaging they’re receiving is extremely irrelevant to what they need. What sales reps need to be doing is building relevance into their messages. That’s why doing your research before you reach out is so key. Then you’ll know more about your prospect and can add that into your outreach to increase your chances to get a response back.”

Relevance, like Dr. Dover mentions, is a key part that seems to be missing from the sales motion. With prospects receiving thousands of sales and marketing messages, mastering how to stand out is science. And, building in relevance and personalization is critical to landing a sales meeting.

What is a sales disrupter?

When it comes to excelling in sales, it often takes unconventional ways. Dr. Dover coined the term “sales disrupter” and I was curious to know what traits embody that title.

“A sales disrupter is somebody that doesn’t follow the classic Sales Machine. They’re willing to break the mold and try new things to personalize and customize the sales experience for potential customers.”

This innovative thinking is so important, especially in today’s day and age when prospects are leery of getting put into a sales funnel and being aggressively sold to.

Dr. Dover finds that sales disrupters do two things extremely well:

  • They look for new ways to authentically connect with and engage prospects and customers to build lasting relationships.
  • They leverage sales technology to enhance their relationships, after they’ve personally nurtured it.

Be sure to download and listen to the full conversation to learn how you can cultivate sales disrupters in your organization to improve sales.

This episode of the Modern Selling Podcast is brought to you by Korn Ferry. Korn Ferry

transforms sales teams using their world-class Miller Heiman, methodology, employee

assessments, benchmarking and talent advisor capabilities to increase win rates and quota attainment. Korn Ferry offers Korn Ferry Sell, a sales effectiveness app available in App Exchange and app source that helps your sales team develop and replicate powerful sales strategies that help sellers win more deals and crush their quotas. Learn more at kornferry.com/saleseffectiveness

Watch the video version for this podcast episode, here:

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