Tom Schaff, Managing Partner of Big Swift Kick, is a member of one of the sales awards final judging committees for the 2012 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Final judging is now underway; sales excellence and customer service awards winners will be announced on February 27 at the 6th annual awards banquet in Las Vegas. Get your tickets here.
We asked Tom for some insights on what has influenced sales people the most over the past ten years.
What in your opinion has been the top business story of the past 10 years for sales people?
If you ask me, the biggest impact on salespeople and companies that sell over the last ten years is definitely the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
Companies buy differently now. Superstar salespeople need to sell to a whole different buying team. What used to work doesn't anymore—especially if you are the little guy selling to a big company.
Smart companies understand that, given the changes in buying, big companies are more afraid than ever of the small guy—but at the same time, they need their creativity and responsiveness. The exceptionally bright company has adjusted its sales processes away from the superstar rugged individual and instead doubled down on strategic processes that involve the selling team's executive management, supply chain, clients, and subject-matter experts. This adjustment to Sarbanes-Oxley has actually helped over 200 of our clients win their biggest deals in the history of their companies. Change can mean opportunity: Sarbanes Oxley, while difficult to implement, has been an incredible opportunity for those who have adjusted. Have you?
We had to ask: Why Big Swift Kick?
After 17 years of performance consulting and training, my partner Andy Miller and I wanted to make a distinctive brand. We audited what made us different with clients and the answer that came up most often was: Candor.
Further investigated, clients told us that our candor and straightforwardness, truth without apology, and real-world approach helped impact to happen faster. We quickly recognized that our favorite clients were the ones who needed us the least but wanted feedback the most. The least impacted clients were the ones who needed us the most—but couldn't handle the feedback.
Big Swift Kick is for the CEO, VP, or HR executive who wants that "Big Swift Kick in the Acronym." Organizations that want to challenge the way things have always been done can count on us to honor what works, uncover what doesn't, and take massive action on areas of opportunity.
About Tom Schaff:
Tom Schaff is a managing partner of Big Swift Kick. He is also interim Chief Strategy Officer of Tony Robbins’ and Chet Holmes' consulting company, Business Breakthroughs International. He has worked with 62 of the Fortune 500 companies, a handful of the Inc 500, hundreds of privately held businesses, and a dozen private equity firms. A writer and thought leader on sales, Tom has assessed 30,000 sales people and organizational leaders. He is the official licensee of Tom "Whale Hunting" Searcy's compelling "big deal" selling system that has helped over 200 small companies win their largest-ever sales deals. Earlier in his career he co-founded Solution People, an innovation, creativity, training, and consulting firm, working with companies like Kraft, Unilever, McDonald's, AT&T, Quaker, and Kodak. Tom lives with his wife and two children in St Louis.