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David Meerman-Scott, Sales VPs and the “Communication Revolution” [Video]

Posted by Cliff Pollan on 05, Sep, 2014 Communication Revolution


In my recent interview with David Meerman Scott, around his just published book, “The New Rules of Selling and Service”, he shared how foundational a change we are experiencing in selling and service .  Also, the  challenges felt by Sales VP’s (and the executive team) in accepting the change and implementing new strategies reflecting this change.

Here, David shares that the strategies are easy, it is accepting the change that is hard:



Cliff:  Are we talking about an incremental shift in mind-set here or complete foundational change?

David:  “This is huge. And this is a big shift that parallels the shift that we’ve seen over the last 10 years in marketing and public relations.

“I used to tell people “it’s no longer going to be about press releases; it’s no longer going to be about traditional advertising and how big your wallet is; it’s going to be: the best content wins”, and I had traditional advertising people crossing their shoulders and saying “what are you talking about? You’re crazy! We’re an ad agency. We’re not a web marketing agency”.

“Now every single ad agency you see on the planet would never call themselves one. They’re ‘digital agencies’, or they’re a ‘content agency’ because they’re all doing content and public relations – sure they still do press releases, but there’s a lot better ways to reach people – your audience, than the traditional tools of public relations. Back in the day that was a really hard slog to get through. It was a huge communication revolution and that same revolution is happening again now. I see it. I smell it. I taste it, as do a lot of other people – it’s not like there’s only a couple of people talking about it. It is as big a sea change as we saw over the last 10 years.”


Cliff:  We both worked at Thomson where you saw this and it wasn’t accepted.

David:  “I got fired! The best day of my life.

“Companies have a hard time with change. With individuals it’s easier to change, although it’s still tough, but companies have a hard time to make a change, and there’s so many institutional barriers to this change. I’ll give you a great example of an institutional barrier: most companies have expensive Salesforce automation platforms that they use to run their sales departments and some of these things are really expensive – it can be millions of dollars for large companies. These systems are all built using the old rules. The algorhithms that make them run, the data they deliver, the metrics they deliver, the ways that the executive manages the individual sales people are all built on the ways we sold in the past. Can you imagine going to a sales VP and saying you’ve got to kick out your sales system because it doesn’t work.”

Do you think the buyer/seller relationship has changed?  If so, what changes have you made?