Radio Sales Today

RAB Sales Tips

Is Your Sales Model Obsolete?

It always gets a laugh in our management training when we talk about recruiting and hiring. We always talk about the candidate who claims to have 20 years of selling experience, but on further inspection and questioning, you find that they only have one year of experience that they have repeated 20 times. The not-so-funny truth is that a failure to evolve, adapt and change with the times leads to irrelevance.

If there is one thing we've always known, which was punctuated by the pandemic, is that change is constant. To stay relevant and effective, we too must change. What we learned just five years ago conceptually may still be true, but it is tactically out of date.

Frank V. Cespedes is a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and the author of many books. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Cespedes says today's coherent sales model has three core components: Customer selection criteria. In short, are you calling on the right clients? Time spent with the wrong targets increases cost of sale, prolongs the process and is built around quantity, not quality.

Clarity about your customers and their buying process. Customers differ dramatically in what they want from a product and how they respond to marketing initiatives. Knowing the differences is crucial because it’s your responsibility to adapt to the market; it’s not the market’s responsibility to adapt to your sales model.

The go-to-market economics and metrics. As we shared in a sales tip earlier this week, salespeople spend less than a third of their time selling. Cespedes posits that this presents a tremendous opportunity to adjust the sales model to put the reps where they have the most impact.

In his book, Sales Management That Works – How to sell in a world that never stops changing, Cespedes likens the sales model to perishable goods:

Like perishable goods in grocery stores, sales models have a sell-by date. As product standards evolve and new entrants emerge, buyers have more choices and demand more in terms of quality and performance across vendors. Firms that fail to adjust to changing customer expectations lose an advantage.

When was the last time you took a serious look at the way you are doing things? What's working and what's not working? As a manager, what are the obstacles to even greater team performance? Chances are, it's in one of those three areas.

It's something to ponder as you begin a new week. Happy Monday!

Jeff Schmidt is SVP-Professional Development at the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach Jeff at or follow him on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP of Professional Development, RAB