Sales People Sharpen Your Pencils!

Future sales pros are going to need to write – and decently.

Think about your day-to-day already. You send a lot of emails — to prospects.

Over the years I’ve seen lots of sales people that almost couldn’t write English at all (I’m going with English as the language of choice for today please apply to your local needs as suitable). I’ve seen emails with spelling mistakes and tons of grammatical errors — some real howlers too, no need for Strunk & White.

Back in the day sales people could get away with this stuff. After all sales people were hired to talk. They were the loud ones with the stogies who slap you on the back at the bar. Who cared if their English sucked? They were good at golf.
Well times have changed. There’s a lot more tap-tap-tapping on the keyboard these days than yap-yap-yapping on the phone. It’s harder to get in than ever so those tap-tap-taps need to be really well-crafted. They need to concise and precise. Long boring emails don’t survive more than a second in a busy buyer’s Inbox.

And yes, I do think those without English skills will find it harder-and-harder as the sales profession adopts Social Selling and Sales 2.0. I believe that sales people will need to take responsibility for the content that gets to their customer and prospects (OK marketing you can have the 95% of tire kickers and nurture them I guess but not my real prospects).

Think about it. Are you as a sales person going to give over the keys to your quota to your marketing buddies? I mean I love you marketing guys but don’t I need to take responsibility to bring home the bacon? So are you really going to delegate all writing and all content creation to your marketing buds and say “go at it boys and girls, send anything you fancy to my key clients and contacts”

So say you do take responsibility for the content that reaches your key contacts, doesn’t that mean you may need to write something?

Am I saying you need to become a daily blogger? A prolific e-book writer or crazy Twit? Probably not but I am saying you may need to get good at some of this stuff.

There’s a pretty good chance from what I’ve seen that your marketing folks may not give you exactly what you need when you need it to get in front of the people you need when you need to see them. So guess what happens then? You write.

And what happens when prospects and customers Google you (I mean you, personally)? How’s the writing on your Linkedin page? How’s your Twitter bio? What’s your Slideshare look like? Are your marketing buds going to write all that for you? Are they going to edit your Linked profile? Doubt it. But your customer is going to look at it!

You may not need to create your content from scratch but you may well need to gather together content that exists in your company or even outside. In other words you may need to become a content curator or “content integrator” or “content adaptor”. I mean what’s the chance the content you get from other places (including your company) needs some “glue” or “wrapping” to make it perfectly customized for your prospect? Good I wager.

Maybe this won’t come to pass. Maybe we’ll all skip straight ahead to doing everything on video. No more writing. Maybe Google will go completely video. Maybe. Meanwhile sales folks sharpen your pencils – and NOT to give a quote.

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