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How Has Sales Evolved?

Business |

A general shift in consumer behaviour and technological advancement has changed the process of sales in the past few decades. As the customer base becomes more dynamic, the buying and selling process has been completely transformed. Today’s customer journey is more complex and involves more touch points than it did in the past. 

The modern sales professional is equipped with modern tools to meet the changing motivation of shoppers. The marketing shift from outbound to inbound has significantly impacted how consumers interact with businesses today. The growing consumer awareness combined with stiff competition has made sales more challenging. 

Here are some examples of how sales have changed and how this will impact your sales team in 2020-

More difficulty reaching prospects

Reaching prospects have become more difficult over the course of the last decade. Due to caller id and spam blocking apps, it’s tougher to reach prospects by phone for a direct conversation. Since everything is available on the internet, buyers are unwilling to spend their time on the phone with a salesperson. Today the average ratio of dialling attempts to a conversation is 22:1. The biggest challenge for a sales agent is setting up appointments with prospects. There are multiple reasons for this, including a buyer’s perception of a slowing economy and difficulty in managing schedules of different stakeholders involved in the buying process. 

Consumers are doing their own research

Thanks to the internet, consumers are doing their own product research before coming to a buying decision. Today’s consumers are well informed about you and your competitors. The only reason they are going to respond to your call is that they need more information, which was not available online, or because they have made a decision and require assistance for purchase. Research shows that 75% of buyers who make an online inquiry expect a response from the company within six hours. Consumers expect their interactions with the company to be dynamic and personalized. Hence sales personnel must be equipped with sales automation tools that provide instant notification about the buyer’s interest as well as the ability to craft an effective presentation on the go.

Sales representatives will need to become domain experts

As consumer awareness continues to grow, sales representatives will have to become domain experts to be able to offer true value to their customers. The goal must be to become a trusted advisor to the customer by providing valuable recommendations and insights. As automation continues to be augmented into the sales process, the sales representatives must hone their pitching and consultative skills to avoid being redundant in an increasingly competitive space. A report by Forrester estimated that nearly 1 million sales representatives will be replaced by automation by 2020. This is part of the trend that shows that 68% of B2B buyers would prefer to conduct business online rather than interacting with a salesperson face to face or via telephone. Sales representatives must become product experts by developing expertise in a particular product category. They must be aware of the latest trends in product development to remain competitive. 

CRM will be a necessity

In 2020, CRM is a necessity for competitive business. Today’s sales teams require technology and tools to perform their task effectively. Sales is no longer about guesswork and hunches, it is driven by concrete data. CRM software has the ability to help companies manage their customer base, stay organized, develop strong long term relationships meanwhile developing an effective sales funnel design. Companies are adopting technology to enable their sales team to be more organised, specialised and agile. CRM and other analytical tools are designed to help sales teams with prospecting, predictive analysis, social selling, email marketing, sales content, demos, and deal management. Efficiency in every component of the sales stack will help companies to chase better leads and create more opportunities for revenue.

There will be more customer touch points

Today’s customer journey is much different than that of the past. With the advent of new technology, there are more touch points across multiple channels than ever before. Every touch point, from phone calls, emails, social media to real-world touchpoints, is an opportunity for businesses to capitalize by converting a prospect into a lead. All these touch points must be backed with authentic, compelling and relevant conservation to ensure conversion. Evidence shows that there is a correlation between response rates and the number of subsequent outreach attempts initiated by sales teams. On average, it takes five to seven touchpoints to close a sale. Hence perseverance is a key element to sales success. 

Content marketing will become more important

Content marketing has increasingly become pivotal for businesses in this digital age. Consumers are well educated and like to do their own research before buying something. With quality content marketing, you can provide buyers with useful and relevant information, which would help them make their buying decision. Quality content has the power to create positive brand experiences, by capturing your audience’s attention and reinforcing positive brand impression. Content marketing is not a direct sales pitch, but it helps to place your company as a helpful resource for vital information. It encourages customer engagement and establishes trust among customers.

Final Thoughts

The process of selling and buying will continue to evolve with time, to meet the changing needs of the customer and the market.  An agile sales team that adopts new technology will always be a boon to a company. At Alkye, we help our clients with quality lead generation and cold calling to drive sales and the growth of the company.