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A customer counts his cash at the register while purchasing an item at a Best Buy store in Flushing, New York. (JESSICA RINALDI/Reuters)
A customer counts his cash at the register while purchasing an item at a Best Buy store in Flushing, New York. (JESSICA RINALDI/Reuters)

Transcript: How technology is changing the world of sales Add to ...

Karl Moore: This is Karl Moore of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, Talking Management for The Globe and Mail. Today I am delighted to speak to Brian Fetherstonhaugh, who is the Chairman and CEO of OgilvyOne Worldwide, which is the online medium, new media part, of Ogilvy & Mathers, one of the great advertising firms in the world.

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Brian, good afternoon!

Brian Fetherstonhaugh: Good afternoon!

KM: When we look at social media it seems, particularly for consumer goods companies, that sales and marketing have got to work together in a way they haven't in the past, perhaps?

BF: You know, a lot of people say that the old relationship between marketing and sales was like a tennis match. You would fire the ball over the net and you would try to score a point on the other guy. In the business-to-business world, the sales people would always say, "The leads suck, the leads are terrible," and the marketing people would say, "No, you suck!" So this was a very antagonistic relationship between marketing and sales. What we are seeing among enlightened companies is a new relationship, a new marriage, between marketing and sales that is less like an adversarial win-lose tennis match and more like a basketball game where marketing and sales are on the same team. They have different skills; some are defenders and some are there to score points, but they work together with one unified goal of scoring points and beating the competition. This new and more collaborating marriage is starting to emerge and I think that's really important because marketing and sales need to work together because the consumer is so elusive they need to work together to make a sale.

KM: Brian, what are some of the sales skills that need to be evolving now?

BF: One of the skills that sales people need to evolve now is the ability to read digital body language. In the old world, a great sales person would be able to see either folded arms or a wink or smile and they could interpret this, between a buyer and a seller, at the moment of truth. The opportunity now - a lot of transactions are not happening nose-to-nose and face-to-face. You are actually seeing the consumer express their intent through their digital body language - which words do you use when you go onto Google and search for a car? Which blogs do you look at? Which software or white papers do you download? Really smart sellers now apply their observation skills in a systematic way to this digital body language. Their consumers are showering them every day with billions of signals - little winks, putting their hands up and expressing interest or dissatisfaction - and great sellers can interpret that digital body language and convert that intent into a sale.

KM: It seems like salespeople have to spend more time online than in the past. Is there still a need for that human touch that salespeople have been famous for and perhaps infamous as well?

BF: There is no question that there is still a dramatic role for the nose-to-nose and face-to-face engagement, but it seems like it's going to be not so much at the information gathering and discovery phases but at the moment of truth as you get closer to making a sale, especially still for big ticket items. A lot of cars and a lot of homes are still bought face-to-face, so as we are seeking reassurance, that emotional reassurance that it's okay to make this sale, there is still a very big role for looking someone squarely in the eyes and saying, "I trust you, I believe you, and I'm going to sign the check."

KM: This has been Karl Moore of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, Talking Management for The Globe and Mail.

 

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