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The Evolving Sales Path Leads to Digitization

Quartz Editorial Team

Quartz Editorial Team

Sales Digitization

When Marcus Jewell set out on his sales career, 25 years ago, it was a much different landscape. 

As a newly minted Xerox rep, they slapped a training book in his hands, hooked him up with a three-month course, and released him into the wild. 

“You didn’t really know what you were doing and now you’ve got so much information, it’s more about sifting through that information to help you,” said Jewell.

Today, Jewell is Chief Revenue Officer at Juniper Networks, leading all sales and go-to market operations for the $5 billion organization. Juniper Networks provides network infrastructure solutions to enterprise service providers and cloud. 

He’s come a long way since those early days, and currently has sights set on sales digitization. Although he’s a proponent of keeping the human element in sales, he understands the need for digital tools to help evolve the sales process. Having greater access to people and data, via digital software, does just that.

Changing Tides

Factoring in generational preferences can help or hinder the evolution of sales. The way Jewell breaks it down, different generations want to communicate differently.

  • Baby Boomers – most want a personal contact. Someone they can see in person and speak to for a sale
  • Gen X/Millenials/Gen Z – they’re happy closing million dollar deals via chat and even prefer instant message conversations without the need to interact over webcam.

“It’s about understanding your buying cohort and then digitizing where you need to,” Jewell explained.

Secret Sauce

Success in his early days at Xerox was based on building rapport in his community, fostering relationships, and driving social interactions.  

“Those skills were predominant,” he said. “You had people that were outgoing, gregarious, fun loving. They were very important attributes in sales. Not saying you don’t need those anymore, but now you need to be incredibly analytical.”

You need to be digitally minded to stay afloat in the current sales landscape. Salespeople must learn how to leverage social media and understand its algorithms.

“You need to be a bit of a chameleon. You need to be able to adapt very quickly,” Jewell said.

Letting Go of the Past

Key factors to modern-day success include:

  1. Engaging in the right platforms, such as LinkedIn, to showcase yourself and add commentary
  2. Constantly checking in on your team to enable them through coaching, rather than training

But more than anything, Jewell stresses the disdain he has for people his age who wish the world would go back to the way it was. 

“A message for you guys and girls out there, it’s not going to go back to the way that it was. It just is not, so you’ve got to get with it and modernize yourself, as painful as it will be. You have to get over that embarrassment.”

Look to the Future

Sometimes senior leaders need to unlearn the past in order to embrace new learning opportunities. 

In his recent Quartz Network presentation, Jewell shares creative ways you can motivate reluctant sellers to adopt digital tools. A rewards system is a great way to encourage your sales team to jump on board. 

Jewell also places great value on taking calculated risks. He encourages his team to take chances by rewarding them, regardless of the results.

For more forward-thinking ideas, and ways to build success in the current sales climate, watch the presentation.