The need for a significant shift in sales practices are based upon the changes in buying behavior, primarily brought by market conditions and new technology.
Here are some of the key drivers behind the need for sales transformation.
Internet and new technology has fundamentally changed the way people buy, as it has created knowledgeable and autonomous customers. In the past, customers were much more dependent upon sales people to conduct their purchases.
Today, businesses and end-consumers alike both move forward in the buying process alone. This is possible due to extensive information and increasingly user-friendly and transparent ways of comparing prize and quality of a product or service. A request for a proposal today often means the potential customer already has a very clear idea of what he or she wants and needs. In most studies conducted, its clear that the buying process is already around 60% complete by the time a sales rep reaches the costumer for the first time!
The Internet of Things
For service providers, the rise of the recommendation economy is not limited to travels and dentists – all industries are affected by social media and the way our brand is perceived among customers and their peers. Selling is something that is constantly happening on all platforms, and traditional sales practices become more and more outdated.
As example: BMW states that in 2006 it took 6 visits to their showrooms for a vehicle to be sold, and now only 1.3 visits. WHY? People do their homework, research and know their facts and what they want. These days, buyers (and this is the same in most indusries) know what you sell, we know our competitors products and they know ours. Buyers don’t need “sales people” but need to be challenged with new insights, taught some new and need a partner in business.
Increased competition and price pressure
Most companies are well aware of the ever-increasing market competition. Promoting uniqueness is difficult, yet more crucial than ever. There are more offers available, while buyers typically have tighter budgets and less spending authority. This calls for a new approach for sales organizations, who will need to make use of assertive and persuasive selling techniques while simultaneously building strong, long-term relationships.
Most importantly, the sales person needs to address the customer with exactly the right solutions at exactly the right time. We need to challenge, offer new insights, teach and collaborate with customers in order to be successful. The most capable salesperson in the world is no longer useful if he or she doesn’t meet the customers on their buying journey.
Many large corporations, government-owned companies and municipalities have increasingly strict procurement policies. For example, environment and sustainability issues have fast become important factors of the buying process, which puts pressure on any seller to analyze the buyer’s needs and restrictions. Salespeople must be much more educated and well-researched. In a study, The numbers clearly indicated that the buying processes are becoming more complex, involving more people and putting higher demands on sales people.
In demanding market conditions lie many opportunities for those who manage to perform a sales transformation successfully. As a seller, selling is not enough – the objective is to make the customer perform better and thus increase ROI by using our product or service.
Knowledgeable salespeople with industry insight and a focus on creating value for their customers can succeed in making their competitors irrelevant.
In a world where time and money is precious, it becomes more crucial than ever to build strong relationships, offering fast feedback, accessible customer service, education and professional follow-up routines. Remember: the most capable salesperson in the world is no longer useful if he or she doesn’t meet the customers on their buying journey.
SALES TRAINING DESIGNED FOR LEARNING AND CHANGE
Sales training is often approached with a car wash mentality. Pull in when needed and come out the other side shiny, new, and ready to be a top seller. This kind of training might be fine for learning basic tasks.
Selling is not a basic task.
Not only is there a large body of sophisticated skills and knowledge to master, but sales training is often about changing the behaviour of adults who are set in their ways. Leading organisations don’t see sales training as an event, they view it as an ongoing process.