Sales in all industries has changed rather dramatically over the course of time. What was once a rather simple transaction has now been complicated and cluttered to an almost unimaginable degree. Buyers are now bombarded with ads and pitches in virtually every form possible. It’s overwhelming to most and phenomenons such as banner blindness have now spread to almost every other marketing or sales outreach that’s done without thought of the buyer first and foremost. Tables have also turned, with buyers now being the ones prospecting. The wide range of information available across all channels provides potential business prospects with more choice and knowledge of the industry and competition. All of this makes selling a much more complex, yet delicate process.
How can any sales team keep up with the times and what do they need to be successful?
1. Be Open
Without the ability to be versatile and adapt to changes quickly, a seller will soon lose their effectiveness and relevance. Staying open to new ideas, changes, and experiments is absolutely necessary to ensure long-term success. Learning new technology is a crucial part of one's adaptability, but not the only piece. Since the lines between marketing and sales have been blurred conspicuously, a seller must be open to learning about strategies the marketing team employs and applying those to their own everyday outreach. Testing, tweaking, and refining are some of the most important practices a salesperson can take away from marketing.
2. Appreciate the Power of Social Selling
The strength and efficiency of social networks in sales has become undeniable. Cold calling is an increasingly antiquated practice. The modern version and precursor to actually effective calls is social selling. Networking and providing value to potential clients is incredibly important. Knowing how to present yourself as a brand on social media is key to coming across as credible. Sharing information that’s useful and helpful is essential - being salesy is the quickest way to lose any clout on social channels.
3. Understand that Copy Matters
Embracing social selling means that most sellers are now spending the majority of their time behind a screen - writing. Whether that’s through email, LinkedIn updates, or messages, salespeople need to recognize that the way they write is critical to their sales. Knowing how to formulate helpful, not pushy messaging is a skill that’s acquired over time. Being able and willing to devote time to trying new ideas and testing how well prospects react is necessary to be successful. Salespeople can take ideas from the marketing team and begin to develop their own voice.
4. Make Connections
Building relationships has always been a big part of how sales is done. Not many people will choose to buy from someone they have a negative reaction towards. Although relationships have always been a key part of sales, they are more important than ever. In an always connected world, it would seem that we’d all be closer, but the truth is we’re complete strangers more often than not. Some emails, messages, and phone calls can completely take the personal aspect out of sales. It’s important that salespeople know how to add a personal flavor to the mix and build a trusting, authentic relationship with their prospects. Whether that’s making the additional effort of having an in-person call or truly listening to what the prospect has to say, these little things will make a difference.
5. Track Data
Data should be important to every seller. Knowing your numbers is not optional anymore. With CRMs practically tracking your every move, being able to leverage your statistics and adjust your behavior accordingly is necessary. Understanding the why behind a good month or a bad one is something every seller should know how to do, beyond assuming or having a gut feeling. Salespeople should have a deep comprehension of how their activity affects their sales and be ready to make changes.
Staying on top in the new age of sales can be a challenge. Only those who embrace change, social selling, making connections, tracking data, and writing well will continue to be successful.