If you have been a professional salesperson for at least a decade, congratulations you’ve been a witness to history in the making! The sales profession is experiencing the biggest shift since the invention of the phone. The sales model that we used to rely and trust is changing before our very eyes. Sales is arguably the oldest profession in the world and although a lot of things have changed since the birth of sales other aspects of selling have not. For example, salespeople still need to:
- Create interest
- Communicate effectively
- Tell a story
- Overcome objections
- Ask for the sale
These timeless fundamentals of selling for the most part have remained constant since the beginning of history and in my opinion will continue to be pillars of modern day selling as well.
There are several others things that HAVE changed in the sales profession that we must adapt to and embrace if we wish to continue a successful and profitable career in sales:
- Communication methods have changed
- Our circle of influence has changed
- The availability of intelligence and data has changed
- The competitive landscape has changed
- and most importantly…BUYING BEHAVIOR has changed.
Today, buyers are more empowered than any other time in the history. Most any information that a client wants to see about your product or service is readily available online. They can access testimonials, product sheets, press releases, competitive info, pricing, and pretty much anything else that they want to get their hands on…and if they don’t find what they are looking for about your offering they won’t hesitate moving on to another option. In the past a salesperson had control of the conversation because they controlled the flow of information. That control has now shifted to the buyer, in fact studies show that on average decision makers consume five pieces of content before being ready to speak to a sales rep.
Additionally, prospecting tactics like cold calling have dwindled in effectiveness and are increasingly being seen as an interruption and annoyance by prospects. The latest reports show that inside sales professional average an appointment rate of a measly 2.5% with cold calling. Using cold calls to reach prospects takes twice as much work as it did just a few years ago.
It is plain as day: A Sales Model Evolution is Upon Us!
Let’s compare Sales 1.0 with Sales 2.0:
Cold Calling vs Technology
In the traditional model, the phone was the main method of prospecting. Outbound calls were placed at a high volume to hopefully generate conversations with a few qualified prospects that would be willing to take a look at a demo. Although Cold Calling hasn’t vanished completely from a modern day salesperson prospecting tactics, there are more effective ways to prospect that should be given priority over cold calling. Emphasizing prospecting through LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networks can provide better quality leads as well as help warm up cold calls. Leveraging intelligence, technology, and Sales 2.0 tools can also be be very helpful in becoming more targeted, organized, efficient, and effective from prospecting to close…all without having to resort to the dreaded cold call.
Canned Pitches vs Engagement
Canned pitches used to be a must in order to maintain efficiencies with high volume work. Canned pitching is easy to teach and easy to follow, but prospects can sniff a canned pitch from a mile away and have become more resistant to this type of approach. The modern day salesperson instead relies on real engagement with their prospects. Engagement can be done through a variety of channels. Retweeting, liking posts, endorsing, asking questions, and birthday messages are just a handful of ways that a modern salesperson could engage with a prospect. The personalized, consultative approach provides a better experience for the prospect and is more likely to result in a sale than a generic canned pitch.
Content vs Advertising
In the old days television ads, billboards, and magazine ads were very convincing and helped persuade millions of prospects into becoming customers. Today, advertising has lost a lot of that effectiveness and credibility. Buyers have a mistrust for advertising and today are more likely to believe third party reviews, testimonials and authoritative news sources. Content is the new advertising. The modern salesperson is curating and distributing content from third parties and their own company-generated content. They use this content to provide value to the prospect throughout their buyer journey. Salespeople that are able to provide relevant and valuable content will be able to better nurture relationships, increase their awareness, their inbound lead generation, and eventually will become an authority themselves.
Sales is still evolving and most organizations have not reached a point where they can wholly depend on Sales 2.0. However, the sales organizations that will be the most successful in the future are the ones that quickly learn to adapt to their buyer and become aware and prepared to execute the Sales 2.0 Model.
Are you ready for the sales evolution that is upon us?
- Evolution in Progress: How the Entrepreneur Is Changing the World
- The Emergence of Salesperson 2.0
- Salespeople as Entrepreneurs