The landscape of sales has changed significantly over the last decade and, as a result, the nature of sales has evolved too. The rise of technology has altered the way we do business and it’s also changed the way we communicate with one another.
Selling The Old Way
The telephone used to be a sales person’s best-friend so to speak. Sales people needed to have the gift of the gab, and the instaneousness of the sales call required sales people to think on their feet, be articulate, eloquent and know how to get the verbal commitment before following up in writing.
Once upon a time, there were also targets for the number of cold calls made daily and all communication essentially was via the phone, so when the phone rang we all jumped to pick it up quickly, but not anymore.
No-one answers their phone, and now there’s instant text-based communication, but it is only allowed if the recipient gives permission to the sender, so this is not going to happen on the first contact.
Plus, there are spam and junk filters, adept at identifying and discarding anything they view as marketing material.
Technology has really disrupted the sales process in so many ways, and it’s going to continue so hang onto your seats, literally.
Artificial intelligence is here, and very much part of the marketing process with algorithms for crunching big data so relevant information is feed to targeted audiences.
AI is changing the customer experience and this is just the start of a new revolution in how we interact and collect information for selling our products and services.
How you selling stuff via your website, email, text messaging, etc. has even been legislated in some form or another, by most countries with marketing laws, costly fines, unwanted sanctions and GDPR laws to adhere to. It’s no surprise that the sales and marketing industry is almost unrecognizable from its earlier form.
Despite the new challenges facing sales personnel, marketing and sales must continue for the business to succeed, so working with new technology including AI, and understanding that you can no longer do your own thing, that collaboration with your peers in marketing and account management is more critical than ever before.
Sales and Marketing Collaboration
The marketing and sales teams that work hand-in-hand in order to garner revenue lessen the challenge of customer acquisition and retention so both the consumer and the company can benefit. Here’s how…
1. Identify Your Objectives
Set identifiable and achievable targets. Yes, some would say: ‘aim big’, and this is more for psychological reasons, to overcome inherent complacency. Therefore your targets need to stretch you, i.e. they should be challenging but also realistic.
Once you know your sales targets, you can work out a clear, step-by-step sales process.
Ultimately, you want a customer to make repeated purchases or become a business advocate so articulate a selling strategy by answering these questions:
- How will they become aware of your product or service?
- How will you engage with them?
- How will they be drawn to your site or your physical location?
- How can the user be persuaded to make an initial purchase?
Before you know it, you’ll have quantifiable marketing and sales targets to work with, as well as an overall sales and marketing strategy.
2. Create Your Team
Selling a product or service isn’t easy and there are a number of sales person attributes which can come in handy.
In a digital environment, the right attributes may be focused on social media presence, online engagement, copywriting and online customer service, whereas a face-to-face sale may require different sales person attributes, such as confidence, trustworthiness, friendliness and in-depth product knowledge.
If you trade in more than one environment, don’t ignore the difference in the sales landscapes.
By understanding the difference in types of sales, you can ensure your team members are perfectly suited to their roles and that they have the appropriate sales person attributes to hit targets.
3. Understand Your Buyer
Whether you’re involved in B2C or B2B sales, understanding your buyer’s needs is crucial to successful sales and marketing.
Whilst it might be tempting to try and secure a sale, examining whether a product or service really meets your buyer’s needs could be more beneficial in the long run.
If you use sales tips and techniques to persuade a buyer to purchase something that isn’t right for them, they’re unlikely to come back in the future.
Being honest with a potential buyer and steering them in the right direction, even when it means less profit for you, increases trust and loyalty. In turn, a buyer is more likely to engage with the business in the future and this could lead to repeated sales, positive reviews and personal recommendations.
Although the sales industry has changed in recent years, sales people can still meet the needs of their buyers and fulfil the legal obligations which govern their role.
With the right in-house support and a number of sales tips in hand, your sales team can bring in revenue and convert potential buyers into repeat customers and company advocates.