Leading a sales team is evolving for many reasons – not least due to new technology and social media. Some believe that there is no future for traditional salespeople as the value they bring is being limited. Customers can discover answers and compare prices easily online without the advice of a salesperson. Insight specialists CEB point out that, “B2B buyers are 57% of the way through the purchase decision before even talking to a supplier”.
There is a place for sales teams, but they need to be led to engage differently with customers. Customers are no longer targets to aim for but partners in business. The hard sell and scripted charade are no longer optimal tactics. Some say that there is a convergence of sales and marketing- ‘smarketing’. Sales teams need to create visions and scenarios that entice and engage. Helping customers solve problems, which can be done via content marketing. Selling in the future will be about co-creating value and working together to develop and design the tool that will solve the problem. Sales will move from persuasion to collaboration. One of the big paradigm shifts Uspire covers in their 2050 leadership programme is ‘Parochial Mindset’ to ‘Global Ecosystem’. We are all interconnected – you need to be aware of the wider picture, not just you and your organisation’s needs. You can read more here.
In the past salespeople have been encouraged to promise –a lifestyle, a solution and more customers to the client. In the future, the focus will be on delivery. Promises don’t solve problems – when comparisons are so easy to find it is essential that your service delivers. Customers of the future have less time and patience. Imperative to business success will be the relationships built through the delivery of promises. Sales will be more personalised and consultative. Another paradigm shift we discuss is the move from ‘mass consumer’ to disruptive consumer, in the B2C and B2B sectors. Mass communication is no longer viable. Bespoke marketing campaigns, using bespoke compelling content must be aimed at specific consumers.
Leaders of sales teams need to consider new approaches made available due to the rise of social selling. Clients will be brought together in social eco-systems to bring competencies and ideas that can be leveraged by your network – you and your products will be the common denominator and the theme. By building solutions with your customers, sales will be based on deepening relationships through trust and understanding. ‘Social selling’ is key, across all the channels that use to communicate with customers, including your personal profile.