technology in businessGrab your Blackberry’s and Motorola Razor’s, check your rolodex and grab your appointment notebook because we’re going old school. While new sales reps spend their days seeing if any clients have posted anything worthwhile on LinkedIn, tweet their new prospects, and incessantly check e-mail for any new appointment requests  – they are losing sight that technology in business to business sales is a tool, not the solution. With more and more sales professionals relying on technology to drive sales and increase market share; that is the first step to staying mediocre.

Getting sales professionals to find vertical markets and make outbound prospecting calls as well as setting sales appointments with prospective buyers (in person!) is still the best way to increase sales – period.   All of the technology in the world cannot close more deals than getting in front of the decision maker, so put away those e-mail marketing techniques, powerpoint sales pitches and automatic voicemail calling systems.  It is no more difficult today than it was 20 years ago; we just have new excuses.

The Gatekeeper Now is Voicemail

Precious few calls are answered by a live person with a delete button the new gatekeeper versus a receptionist and a pink message pad.  The great handwritten letter to the decision maker and the trashcan has been replaced with e-mail systems that have auto junk mail programs.  Your prospective customers have always been too busy or happy with their current product or service to meet.  Principles and disciplines of getting new sales are the same today as 20 years ago; the tools and skills needed to get the appointment are new.

Make the Call!

What do nice letters, great e-mails, logo gifts, catchy tag lines and marketing campaigns all have in common?  Every salesperson hopes that it will be the “new thing” that gets their phones to start ringing by prospective customers, but in short they are all just a “another reason for a salesperson not to make a prospecting call.”  No matter what marketing idea or event you use to attract prospective customers, the sales professionals still must make the follow-up call. If you are going to use technology-based tools like email and social media, use it as a tool for you to follow up with the prospective customer, not as an excuse for you to wait for customers to call you.

Social Media is Not a Sales Plan

Social media is powerful and there are many experts that have shown and believe that social media can really help a company become better known, or take the “word-of-mouth” to another level. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are some of the great social media forums, but they alone will not increase a company’s b2b sales.  It is a nice added media outlet (and highly encouraged!), but if social media is the primary source for a business-to-business company to attract new customers or to sell their product and services then they are sure to fail. Social media should work in conjunction with a marketing and prospecting plan.

The Technology in Business 90-10 Rule

Prospecting is still the most difficult part of any company’s sales process, but it is not complicated.  Prospecting is 90% discipline and 10% skill set.  Sales professionals should take the time to learn how to maximize their social media, establish networking pipelines and other key prospecting activities, but they should not rely on it to make their sales.  In the old days sales, professionals were taught to follow their dollar.  This means where a sales professional spends money, they should look there for future prospects; the “old” social network.   Just like then, as it is now, social networking is not the only way to grow business and should not be relied upon exclusively.

If increasing sales was only about coming up with some creative way for prospects to call then companies would not need professional salespeople and especially the added expense of their high salaries.  If you want to increase sales in today’s economy, then use the technology of today with the disciplines and principles of yesterday.   It has been said a million times and it is still true; increasing sales is simple, but not easy.   People are still buying; the question is whom are they going to buy from?  Make the call!


Nathan Jamail, president of the Jamail Development Group and author of “The Sales Leaders Playbook,” is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and corporate coach. As a former Executive Director for Sprint, and business owner of several small businesses, Nathan travels the country helping individuals and organizations achieve maximum success. His clients include US Army Reserves, Nationwide Insurance, Metro PCS, State Farm Insurance, Century 21, Jackson National Insurance Company and ThyssenKrupp Elevators. To book Nathan, visit or contact 972-377-0030.