When I first started selling things were so simple. You called people up, created desire and pushed for a meeting, at which you pushed for a demo at which you pushed for some sort of closing action. Straight and linear sales process.
The only place buyers could get their information from was you, the salesperson. And it was all push.
Now things are complicated, if somebody wants to buy, they can avoid salespeople and go on-line and research for your product and service. If your business is not active on-line or you are dull and boring, you won't get shorted listed. All without you knowing.
Buyers can do research on their mobiles phones on the way to work, through the internet. They can also check you out as a seller. Just from looking at your LinkedIn profile, they can get an idea about if they trust you. As sales changed? You bet it has!
Technology has played major part in the changes in the buying process. Not just the internet and mobile, but the fact we can now block cold callers. If you cold call me I just use standard iPhone functionality to block you. The days of you calling and calling are well gone. The same with email blasts, I have rules set up that if you actually get through once, you never get through again.
Legislation is also against you as GDPR means you cannot hold people's data. Well you can, but as you are responsible and accountable for the data you could be up for 4% turnover fines. This covers even data on a salesperson's laptop.
We are already seeing companies that social sell are breaking away from the pack. These are not people that play with social selling, a bit here and a cold call there. This is people that fully take on a programmatic process for sales. Once these companies have broken away, every day that goes by means it is more and more difficult
Social selling is used as part of the demand generation process as well as accelerating the pipeline to close.
The sales process has died. It never should have been born. In a previous B2B sales role I was "taught" to follow a specific sales process. My manager and peers encouraged it because this was the way it was always done. As a team player, I followed what they said. I was getting initial meetings but no follow-ups. Maybe I was making mistakes? It had to be my fault. I was doing everything on the checklist and in the right order. Then I looked closer at what was happening. Since I was coming from outside the industry with a different perspective, I could see that the buyers I was working with didn't respond the way they should have, like they do when they are actually being helped.