How has the role of sales changed? Is the salesman dead?
There is no doubt about it. Business, and the way it is done, has changed significantly.
With this, the role of the sales person has changed as well. In the past, buyers were forced to deal with sales people face to face. The only reason is because the Salesman had all the information.
This has all changed! Information is freely available right now because of the internet. People can bypass the sales function altogether. As a result, business models have changed significantly. People can buy online using e-commerce stores. Even services are now available in online portals, servicing both B2C and B2B customers.
So how does this affect marketing and sales?
By the time a prospect gets to a business, they already know:
- exactly what they want,
- how the business’ products compare to its competitors,
- the prices, everything!
And… they do NOT want to be sold to. They want to buy. Right now!
As a matter of fact, people have never liked to be sold to…but in the past they were forced to endure the sales person that tried to up-sell them something they did not need.
What does this mean for you? Is the salesman dead?
Well… yes and no. The good news is that organizations can cut out unnecessary customer contact, saving significant costs. However, this is only possible when selling and delivering services that are well defined and easy to understand.
What about more complex products, solutions and services, where there are more options and complicated applications?
In these situations the sales professional becomes a consultant. They need to build a relationship with the prospect, provide the right information at the right time, educate the prospect, and help them with their decision until they are ready to buy.
Let’s break that statement down into the following elements:
- Build a relationship
People only buy from people they know like and trust. The key is to build a relationship of trust.
- Educate the prospect
Understand the prospect’s situation by talking less and listening more. Then shape a solution that would suit the prospect. Educate them on the benefits of the solution, rather than emphasizing the features.
- Provide the right information at the right time
At any time only 2 to 3% of people are ready to buy. Until then, they are gathering information and researching their options. The sales professional needs to understand the customer journey and provide information timeously through this journey.
Marketing and sales automation can play a very important role in ensuring the customer does not forget about you during this journey. This includes automating lead generation, lead nurturing, sales follow ups and more.
Stay tuned for more!