How Technology is Disrupting our Sales Process
Once upon a time, there were order takers, business development/sales people and subject matter experts....
Today, Order Takers are the fastest growing segment as companies like Zappos and Amazon continue to automate. It's critical to have well-trained
people in these roles to review & fulfill the orders and manage customer service.
Years ago, sales people were taught specific skills including closing techniques, and it almost didn't matter what you were selling as long as you had mastered those skills.
Sales people were supported by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs); product managers, engineers and brand specialists.Today, Subject Matter Experts are the new rainmakers.
Would it surprise you to know that, given a choice, buyers would rather speak to an SME than a "salesperson"?
predicts that by 2020, 20% of B2B sales jobs (over 1 million jobs) will disappear, and be replaced by Subject Matter Experts.
Are we selling or advising?
Because we are researching what we need on line first, it's estimated that the customer is 70% through the buying process before they ever talk to a sales person. Salespeople are no longer educating the consumer; we're helping them sift through information they've already gathered. In the B2B world, content marketing and your online presence is more important than ever. A purchasing agent or sales/marketing manager is likely to have researched their issue on line and what they find may influence the decision as to which firms to invite to meet. You had better be positioned where your customer is likely to look when they're ready to research a solution.
Millennials are confident that they can gather all of the information and make a decision on their own; Baby Boomers don't like to be "sold to". Are we even selling anymore? Experts believe that successful firms are visiting with their customers to help them sort through the information, compare options and come to their own decision. Customers want to feel that you're collaborating with them, not selling to them.This means that you must now know your competitor's business as well as your own.
What to do?
- Make sure your content appears on the social channels that your prospects and customers use
- Have the right search terms in place (not your industry jargon and acronyms, but words that customers are likely to use when searching for a solution)
- Re-purpose your content over multiple channels, change up the headline and post again
- Customize your message to your audience. You may need to change some copy and the headline to attract a younger or older audience.
- Use storytelling as a way to get your message across. A spec sheet with features & benefits doesn't cut it anymore. Use stories to connect emotionally with prospects and customers.
In more and more social channels and scheduling platforms, artificial intelligence is already built in and can help you determine when to post, how often to post and how to increase your viewing/open rate. Take advantage of all of the tools that technology provides to help you increase sales!