The traditional model of Marketing controlling the early stages of a sale (generally electronically), and then a handover to a salesperson who conducts a face to face “sale” feels a bit like Betamax days!
Millennials are sceptical of “Salespeople”. They look for data backed evidence and then have the confidence to trust their own research. Buying patterns do not cover the traditional linear sales cycle flows. In the B2B space prospects loop between various “jobs”. They ascertain their problems. They review solutions.
They put together their requirements. Then select suppliers and validate them They then look at consensus creation and get everyone on board that need to agree with the decision. Hence if prospects are doing this, suppliers should focus on providing the information that specifically helps prospects work through their “job” reviews. Helping prospects to buy as opposed to selling. Bearing in mind that that the buyer will loop between these “jobs”. Control of the sale information then becomes key, knowing what information to provide at the right time.
With the abundance of information available to buyers and the multiple channels to buy from, buying is not easy. Information overload. Fake news. Fake reviews. Mixed messages. Omni Channels. When is it necessary to speak to someone? Is e-trading the answer? Does Artificial Intelligence mean I never need to involve an actual person? Most Millennials I talk to always show me “an easier, quicker way to buy”. They have access to Apps and sites that amaze me. They are confident to use and trust this technology. I am only just getting used to “Contactless” payments!
So, at 1st Choice, my “Sales” training needs to be geared around educating the team to really listen to our clients and understanding what process they are using to buy. Have we provided enough information for them to do a proper “job” review? If we can position ourselves as the trusted glue in this process, we will add value. Adding value is key. We are not trying to “sell” we are helping the buying process.
Being a sales trainer for many years I can see that if correctly used traditional sales skills are still so important. Information with empathy. Understanding the process. Listening. Closing. Great questions. Objection handling and so much more in the sales kit bag.
It’s an exciting changing world and if businesses don’t adapt their growth strategy may not be an easy one. Respect the past, but embrace the future.