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Sales Myths Shattered: Separating Fact from Fiction with GenAI"

In the world of B2B sales, the difference between myth and reality sometimes looks like another chasm to cross. We must confront some outdated beliefs and the cognitive biases that cause them. We continue to be victims of well-known but regularly ignored psychological biases. It’s this behavior that continues to dog sales leaders and sales teams.  Here we debunk several prevalent myths in sales, examining the real dynamics of team performance and provoke thought around how you can deploy Generative AI to attack these sales challenges differently.

  1. The 90/10 Rule: Often cited as the 80/20 rule, in sales, this ratio is frequently more extreme, with approximately 90% of sales often generated by just 10% of the team. This stark imbalance highlights the need for a more nuanced approach to managing and supporting sales teams, rather than accepting that “this is the way it is” and continuing to rely on a few high performers to carry the load.

  2. The "A Player" Fallacy: The belief that you want, or have, a team composed solely of top-tier salespeople and that this is the strategy that will yield the best results. Leadership always claims, “we’ve only got A players.”  This is the worst kind of nonsense, but we live in the era where we cannot admit publicly or tell people the truth for fear of hurting their feelings. Everyone’s an “A” player, everyone gets a prize, and everyone’s a rockstar. This is a huge fallacy that is both unrealistic and impractical. “A players” are rare, and even if you could find and recruit them, you’d never (and wouldn’t want to) manage them. Too many big egos.

  3. Neglecting B & C Players: “B" and "C" players represent the most potential. These generally ignored individuals represent the most significant opportunity for growth through targeted coaching and support. According to Ethan Mollick in his book: “Co-intelligence: Living & Working with AI” - “In study after study, the people who get the biggest boost from AI are those with the lowest initial ability—it turns poor performers into good performers. In writing tasks, bad writers become solid. In creativity tests, it boosts the least creative the most…And in a study of early generative AI at a call center, the lowest-performing workers became 35 percent more productive…In our study in BCG, we found similar effects. Those who had the weakest skills benefited the most from AI, but even the highest performers gained.” This is why we call it the “equalizer” and explains why a good proportion of the millennials & Gen Zer’s are, at best, indifferent to AI as it blunts the tip of their intellectual spears.

  4. Coaching Capabilities of Sales Leaders: There's a common assumption that all sales leaders are effective coaches, but the reality is that most lack the skills necessary and/or fail to dedicate adequate time. Sales coaching efforts are falling flat. The outside consultants love this. It’s a way for them to justify their protracted (and expensive) continued involvement.

  5. Overreliance on Coaching and Training: Organizations devote less time and money to training and development. There’s not much mentoring going on since everyone vacated the office. anyway, leaving people to figure it out for themselves.” Old school training hasn’t worked for years, but none of this is a justification for letting people sink or swim – your customers won’t thank you and your prospects will pass you by.

As we debunk the tall tales of B2B sales, it's clear that the old myths are as outdated as flip phones.  Enter Generative AI, not just a shiny new gadget but a transformative force ready to rewrite the sales playbook. This technology boosts the underdogs and offers a fresh perspective to the veterans.  It’s the equalizer, capable of preparing teams better and faster by providing the strategies, personalized insights and advice that were once the exclusive purview of high-dollar consultants.

So, let's embrace Generative AI to bridge the chasm between sales fact and fiction. It's time to turn up the volume and tune into the new era of sales, where maybe you can truly claim that “hey, you’re all winners!”

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