We seem to have an obsession with putting words before the word Selling.

Now we have guided selling. However, a quick check on the internet would suggest that this term as been around since 2004, based on how Wikipedia describes it and the research referenced.

Transpires this is term used in the world of E-commerce. Think about how Amazon "guides" you through your buying process, and makes suggestions along the way.

The reminder email you receive when you leave something in your shopping basket, but do not complete the transaction. The retailer sends you a little nudge, encouraging you to complete the transaction. 

"Our customers don't buy that way!"

I hear this. A lot. 

No one is saying that is how B2B sales will evolve. However, what B2B sales can do is learn from what E- commerce is doing and take some of their process, and even technology into their own Sales Operating Models.

As Seth Marrs, who authored the attached blog writes :

"Sales tools have traditionally been used to enable administrative efficiencies for sales leaders who can drive adoption. Tools can identify top prospects, reduce admin and provide improved visibility to pipeline reporting. These things all sit at the periphery of what salespeople value most — winning the deal."

We have all seen it and experienced it. CRM and supporting technoloy are seen as administive task, designed to generate KPI reports.  You are not doing enough of this, crank the handle more!

These tools should be about supporting the sales teams to do what they are employed to do - sell. Historical research show that sales people are only spending around 30% of their time selling, with the rest spent on administrative tasks. How much more pipline and revenue could your sales team generate if it where flipped to 70% of their time spent selling?

This move to guided selling, which is driven by both using internal customer data (CRM data, website data, marketing data) and external data (intent data, relastionship data, social networks), supported and augmented by "AI", will take the sales role into a new purpose. 

The sales person will understand how and when to act upon the data that is being served to them. They may even have a "Virtual Assitant" to give them guidance, or scenario planning, based on the outcomes they are looking to achieve. 

This in turn, I believe, will create better customer journey's and experiences, which will feel tailored to them. 

This will no doubt require a change in how effort or input is measured against required outcomes. Improved and better integrated sales technology stacks supported by better data and "AI". This is where Sales Enablement / Operations and Rev Ops will play a big role. 

Business will definitivley be able to but their client at the centre of all that they do.

In a world where sales has been forced into a remote / virtual world, organisations who see the opportunity a guided selling approach can offer for them, will win. And win big.

Welcome to Sales Transformation 4.0.