Iron (Sales)Man

September 4, 2015

It’s not the armor that makes the hero, but the person inside!

After my family’s Iron Man movie marathon this weekend, I recognized that there are undeniable parallels between Tony Stark and salespeople.

Part I: Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor, is forced by his captors to build a devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence and ingenuity, Tony builds a high-tech suit of armor, enabling his escape.

As a sales guy, I know I can relate to Tony…partially because of my superior intelligence, ingenuity, and dashingly good looks…but more so because I too have to build a technology that can evade a backlog of activity (an all-encompassing CRM integrated with sales acceleration technologies, telephony systems, and business intelligence tools).

Though Tony’s materials were limited, as salespeople, ours are practically limitless. We have countless tools within our reach and can test upcoming models at Dreamforce (#DF15), but the question we must ask ourselves, and undoubtedly the question Tony asked himself is:
Will the tools and materials we choose empower us or implode on us?

Part II: Because Tony’s suit enabled him to escape his captors, save the world, and become a recognized superhero, everyone is now eager to get their hands of his hot technology.

Take a look at this encounter between Senator Stern and Tony:

Though thousands of vendors may vie for our CRM or our sales acceleration technology budgets, we must all recognize that the true asset is the salesperson behind it. We too must embrace our value. Technologies can provide insight, but the real power comes from the operator – just as the suit’s power came from Tony.

Part III: In the final installation of the series, Tony world is torn apart, and he is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his intrinsic characteristics to protect those closest to him.

Similarly, in sales, there are times that feel like an endless uphill battle with 1000s of activities to accomplish. In these times specifically, it is imperative to allow our environment to support us, as it is designed to do just that. However, we cannot lose sight of our worth, the unique components of our personalities that allow us to reach peak performance. Had Tony lost sight of his significance, there would be no hero, no Iron Man. Just a metal cocoon with no operator.

So, do you make the technology or does the technology make you?