When asked to think of an individual making a living off the sales profession, many people still imagine a man in a suit hitting the streets, demoing products and charming customers. But this is no longer the case–the modern salesperson isn’t pounding the pavement or flipping through their Rolodexes for specific contacts. They are instead people with diverse backgrounds sitting in front of a computer screen, more responsive and able to make efficient lead conversions faster than ever before. From prospecting to closing deals, the introduction of technology has influenced many different aspects of the sales process.
With this shift to technology, what are some of the ways that sales has changed and what does it mean for businesses?
With an average of eight cold call attempts to reach a prospect, marketing teams must build highly targeted prospecting lists for the salespeople in their company. Either through highly targeted database marketing, content management solutions or via tools that helps track who visits the brand’s website, such as Leadforensic, Leadfeeder, and Netfactor. These highly-qualified leads have left a digital trail of their interest, thus increasing the sales teams productivity and efficiency. At the end of the day, sales professionals are able spend more of their time doing what they are good at – closing deals.
It’s All About Efficiency
With the continued improvement of technology, salespeople are able to minimize time spent in the field, as moving from one meeting to another can be highly inefficient. The use of video conference tools, such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype, and Blue Jeans, is ideal for raising the number of prospects sales teams can manage. With these conferencing programs, prospecting meetings and product demos can be done from the office with little to no time used moving between meetings.
That being said, if spending time in the field is unavoidable, salespeople can use mobile apps to let them research new leads and manage existing ones through preparing quotes, sending contracts, scheduling meetings, managing opportunities and handling other job responsibilities while they are spending time waiting for their current prospect.
With customer data, prospect notes, research, contact information and email addresses available anywhere, being on the move doesn’t have to hinder progress. Software turns what used to be wasted travel time into productive working hours!
The internet has not only changed the way companies sell but also the way consumers purchase. They now have access to a great deal of information and undoubtedly research different solutions before deciding whether to buy. This means that consumers already have a good knowledge base when they come into contact with a sales representative, which in turn requires salespeople to be an expert on the industry while also deeply understanding how their product (and their competitors products) solve business problems.
In fact, today’s consumers are so averse to salespeople that the salesperson has to be knowledgeable enough to be considered a business strategist while tactful enough to apply the right amount of urgency. It’s a delicate balance that successful sales professionals need to navigate on a daily basis. If the solution doesn’t correspond to the prospect’s needs, selling will fail as the consumer will likely discover a better solution on their own.
Additionally, with 92% buyers reading reviews online before buying something, salespeople need to pay great attention to the consumer mindset. If consumers are unsatisfied there is a huge probability that they will share their displeasure online by write bad reviews compromising the next sale. Because of this, salespeople need to build trust on a longer scale rather than just closing a deal.
The days of the stereotypical boisterous sales shark pressuring uninformed people to buy are done. Technology has enabled sales teams to be more efficient and knowledgeable – a requirement with today’s consumers. As these technologies become more advanced, sales will continue to evolve and find additional ways to find and convert leads.