You’ve probably heard a lot of people say that sales has changed in the last 15 years. If you’re in sales, you probably have experienced it firsthand.
Maybe you have trouble articulating what has changed. So let me give you an analogy.
A few weekends ago, I was at the pool with my kids. I decided that I would play little trick on my son, so I asked him to grab a towel and play tug-of-war. I carefully positioned him with his back to the pool and we started to play. He thought he had the upper hand… until I let go of the towel and he went flailing backwards into the pool, towel and all.
The Sales “Tug of War”
15 to 20 years ago, your sales rep played tug of war with the prospect because the prospect had no choice. Your sales rep had a lot of power in that tug of war battle. There wasn’t much information freely available to the prospect. Your sales person was in control and the gatekeeper in the relationship. Sales might’ve been more reliable and predictable back then, because your organization was in control.
In the last 10 years, your customer “let go of the towel,” sending your sales person falling backwards uncontrollably.
Sadly, most organizations still haven’t figured this out and are using the same old techniques to try to sell. It’s why so many sales reps miss their targets. Sales activity just isn’t good enough anymore.
Did you know that just recently, millennials became the largest generation in the workforce? Do you think they buy like the baby boomer generation?
Millennials grew up with technology and know that they can find information almost anywhere. They expect to find product spec sheets, detailed information and pricing online, and are frustrated when they don’t. They want to research online and skip the salesperson’s pushy tactics.
Don’t believe me?
- Millennials are turning primarily to digital channels in the initial phases of researching new products and services (search engines, vendor websites and social media).
- Millennials’ leading choices of social channels to research B2B products and services are Facebook and YouTube.
- More than one-third of millennials use Glassdoor to assess company reviews and decide whether or not to engage vendors.
- Millennials rate video content as their most preferred channel to research B2B products and services.
This cultural shift (from working with a sales rep as a first point of contact to researching independently) is forcing companies to lead with technological solutions to bring the sales and prospect relationship back into equilibrium.
Do you know the technology that is available to your sales team today?
If you’ve seen sales slump and sales reps underperform, you’ve likely been searching for a solution. But you might not be aware of technological solutions that connect to your website to give you intelligence that you’ve never had before.
Rather than trying to force the conversation through a sales person, companies are starting to meet customers and prospects where they are… on your company website.
This does not bode well for many B2B companies (especially manufacturing companies) that haven’t updated their websites in a half-decade or more. Your company website is more important than ever, and here’s why. Your company website can collect information that you never knew existed about your sales prospects and can bring the prospect/sales person relationship into equilibrium again.
Take a look at the kinds of “digital body language” that your sales team can collect when using your website as an intelligence gathering platform:
- A complete timeline of an named individual’s journey from first awareness of your company to the sale and beyond.
- How a contact found your company.
- What web pages named individuals are visiting, including alerts to your sales rep when they visit pages they deem important to the sale.
- Lead scores based on web activity like email opens, email clicks, website visits, website page views, etc.
- Real-time notifications when a prospect opens an email a rep sends them
- Real-time notifications when a prospect browses a document your sales rep attaches to an email (and even see how long the document was open and how far the prospect read through the document).
If you look at the technology landscape today, you will see that dozens of software companies are creating applications to link up your website and a CRM like Salesforce. Sales is headed in that direction, like it or not.
At Whittington Consulting, we strongly believe that your company website should be linked up with a CRM via marketing automation software. It’s only then that you are able to make a new sales channel available for your company. This shift has revolutionized corporate sales because it makes a new business channel available — a channel that most companies previously did not have in their arsenal. You can open up a whole new revenue stream for your company.
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