This article is reprinted with the author, Mitchell Levy’s permission from the WittyParrot “Sales Productivity Tips from the Experts” eBook published in February 2014.
Thought leadership is a heavily used term these days, but is it overused?
Some may say so.
For the sales professional, it represents the opportunity to change with the times. With the growing customer empowerment, 60-80% of the buying cycle is now transparent to the sales professional and the seller.
Good for the customer, bad for the sales professional.
How can you stay relevant in these changing times?
It’s no longer the task/privilege of the sales professional to educate the buyer at the beginning of the sales cycle. It’s the sales professionals’ responsibility to be a trusted advisor.
You need to be the expert on your product and its use in the vertical that you sell into (e.g. the thought leader).
Aha #10 from my book #CREATING THOUGHT LEADERS (2013, THiNKaha) says “The thought leader you want to be is one who wants to share knowledge and help people be more successful.”
The buyer needs to feel comfortable that you have their best interest at heart, that you will guide them to the right solution that fits their needs and that you’ll be around when they either need help or have problems using it.
Aha #47 says that “Thought leaders are known; they are recognized. Rightly or wrongly, they are more trusted.”
This is social selling. Two of its key advocates are Jill Rowley @jill_rowley from Oracle and Julio Viskovich @JulioVisko from Hootsuite.
The change in the sales cycle they are advocating is to encourage all sales professionals to be thought leaders. From this sharing of thought leadership, sales professionals essentially become their own micro marketers.
This doesn’t mean they have to come up with the thought leadership content to share.
It’s sales responsibility to look to marketing to supply the thought leadership content they need.
Marketing should be supplying content that sales can curate to make their own.
Check out the THiNKaha App on iTunes to help with this sharing.
To stay relevant in this shift of the buying cycle, you must start deploying social selling (e.g. become a thought leader, a micro marketer).
Who knows, you may even like it.
Aha #140 “Being a thought leader is one of the most rewarding positions in life. Why not work to make it yours?”
About Mitchell Levy
He and his team is brought into corporations to turn their experts into recognized thought leaders. He is also an Amazon bestselling author with nineteen business books, including “Creating Thought Leaders tweet”. Additionally, he has provided strategic consulting to over one hundred companies, has advised over five hundred CEOs on critical business issues through the CEO networking groups he’s run, and has been Chairman of the Board of a NASDAQ-listed company. Read more and connect to him at About.me.
Download the Sales Productivity Tips from the Experts eBook for 24 other ideas like this.