I was asked recently about how sales had changed and I think the person expected me to talk just about the changes that had taken place with social media, the internet, through mobile. As I knew in advance I was going to be asked this question, like all good salespeople I did some preparation and came up with this list.
Modern selling maturity model
This isn't a complete maturity model, it's a quick brainstorm, but I could soon create one, should you be interested. Direct message (DM) me if you are.
Sales and buyers attitude and skills have changed
Technology has provided with an ability to be more efficient as sales people, and while the buyer has changed, so has their expectations. But rather than treat buyers like idiots (sending them a random piece of content, on the basis this is somehow "adding value") if you treat buyers as partners, they will treat you as a salespeople, like the business person you are.
We can also see how key skills have changed, when I was first in sales the idea of being able to create a short piece of content, on video would have been in the world of flying space suits. Now we can all do it and in fact, being able to do this and post such content on a weekly basis is now expected of a salesperson.
Technology has also enabled us to become more efficient and scale higher and faster. If we take a 10 minute cold call, that gets us to one person in ten minutes. If I take 10 minutes creating a piece of content that gets 18,000 views, see the efficiency saving.
And if your business is all about getting in front of as many people as you can, cold calling is holding you back.
A friend of mine, told me that his company had employed a team of legacy sales people to train them. Bombarding people with valueless cold calls to keep the numbers up, having scripts based on manipulation. The idea is that salespeople and buyers are stupid, so you have to provide scripts, battle cards and cheat sheets.
The mistake we see so many times is that the seller companies decides what adds value to the buyer. Marketing will for example, create a white paper that sales are then told to send to the buyers as this will "add value". It's still based on "push" marketing.
The training was all based on the seller and the sellers company, such as "why us?". Who is the most important person in the world? The buyer is. Legacy companies focus on themselves and not the buyer.
Your provide, presents you as a human being that can help, you are connected with your clients across social and you have conversations with them.
By treating buyers as normal human beings with stresses and strains just like you, you will be rewarded by the buyers treating you like business equals. Working and helping business, will enable you get higher, faster, build longer term relationships.
What's changed in selling?
Modern selling is about being human and the buyer seeing you as an agent of change. Change isn't something you have to manipulate, by being seen as a leader in your field a conversation about change happens naturally. With the salesperson focusing on a strategic business value, the buyer sees you as a partner.
Let's think about sales, you can buy training that will make your salespeople make more and more calls, but social selling will provide a faster sales cycle, greater win rate and more long term customers. This is transformation.
Modern selling approach
We often write that you don't have to close sales with social selling and somehow this is seen as being a "lesser" sales person. With the changes in technology and the attitude to sales people from the buyers, you are now empowering the buyer to buy.
This, of course, requires a social selling methodology, curiosity in business and a hungry to help your clients.
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