Lets face it unless you are an outsourcing company selling a 10 year contract, the visibility of sales is tough.

The software world has tried to address this visibility issue with the development of the SaaS (paying for software on a monthly basis often through a cloud service) model but attrition rates are never 0% and contracts are rarely more than 12 months. And you still need a strong stream of new customers.

So what tools can we deploy today to reduce the mystery of sales? The publishing industry is going through perhaps the most radical transformation on sales visibility. 10 years ago a new author got a book deal, the experts positioned it for the marketplace, marketing pumped up the story, the book was published and everyone waited to see – success or failure. Sales were a mystery. Roll forward 10 years and the picture has changed. A potential author could have 20,000, 200,000 Twitter followers, FB friends, Klout influence, Blog subscribers, volume of fans……….. There are no absolute guarantees but the publisher and the author understand their audience. They’ve built up trust perhaps over many years, perhaps over 10 years. The book is not being published into a vacuum. It’s reaching out to people who trust you. Much less mystery around sales.

It’s not lack of money that hinders growth it’s lack of customers. But you can’t ask for a customer just like you can’t ask for the job. You need the interview first. In sales you need the trust before you ask for the PO. You need to build an engaging dialogue with prospects that explains how you improve their performance using your unique set of skills. You don’t want the customer you want the relationship first then the customer.

That’s the new Agenda – How to establish trusting relationships. That’s the objective of all your collateral, your blogs, your messaging. Your’re going have to write damn well, be generous with thoughts, be patient. Your writing needs to look down the lens of the customer, see the world the way they see it and explain how your technology can improve their lives. This is often a personal improvement of a prospect’s life. That’s why audience identification is so important.

But the prize is huge – Reducing the mystery of sales.