Changes in the Sales Environment You Need to be Aware of

Changes in the Sales Environment You Need to be Aware of

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Evolution and innovation are an inevitable part of any environment. This is true for any business settings. The components involved in a sales process are changing. These changes are changing dynamics between a customer and seller and even the way a company views its competition, product and service.  An ideal sales representative will understand and monitor these changes and develop an appropriate sales strategy. 

Given below are the major changes in the sales environment: 

1. Unlimited access to information 

Before the advent of internet, only the sales representatives had information regarding their products. They kept the data sheets, reference information and price list. Now, the unrivalled power of the Web has quickly turned the table for the consumers. Buyers can easily get the required information online not only from the seller but from other buyers and third parties. The power of negotiation has shifted and consumers are armed with the needed information even before they meet the sales representative.  

2. Influence of  Social Media 

Many businessmen quickly dismiss social media as a medium of entertainment. This is a far cry from reality. It is a tool for communication, information and collaboration. It can also be easily assimilated into the sales process.  Online platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and various blogs are used for marketing purposes. It serves as a link between the company and the consumer. Many consumers often review the products and rate them which can ultimately affect your customer base. 

3. Influence of  Technology 

Technology has not only improved the socializing platforms but has even affected business. There are various tools and applications available to a sales representative to improve the sales process. Cloud Computing, Internet, CRM applications and other mobile applications has shortened the sales cycle, improved connection with customers and simplified data storage and accessibility. Technology is touching every facet of the sales process and making the process more competent and operative than ever before.  

4. Different decision makers 

Another trend noticed in the present era is the way how buyers make their decisions. It has been long believed that an “economic decision maker”, that is, a single individual holds the ultimate responsibility for the decision to buy.  But in the current age there are various committees where multiple layers of approval are needed to finally close the deal. This has significantly increased the average length of sales cycle in the last decade. An efficient sales representative will take this process into consideration and build a strategy is has the support of all the major stakeholders. 

5. Current Lifestyle 

Technology has made man’s life fast and busy. Therefore, a simple solution or regular means of communication will not grab the attention of the customer. Sales representatives must be creative and hardworking to survive in a fast environment. There is also a shift from personal relationships to a more objective and formal relationship between the buyer and seller. Consecutively, sales process has become more complex.  

As said by William Pollard, “Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement.” To remain constant in an ever-changing world will put an end to the development of your business. Age old methods and tools are no longer efficient is a technologically driven world.  

The human factor in a digital sales world

The human factor in a digital sales world

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The Human vs. Digital debate has been an ongoing one for years now.  Traditional sales folk vouch by face-to-face conversations, while e-commerce sales units think that everything needs to be made digital. While it would be just outright vacuous to state that digital is not important for sales, it would be equally mindless to dismiss the importance of the human touch in sales.

B2B Sales Scenario

In fact, B2B sales leaders employing effective digital achieve a several fold growth compared to their peers who do not employ the same level of digital in their operations. However, various surveys have highlighted a very interesting fact – Customers love the human touch backed by great digital interactions. It is however a very tricky balance, because the one thing that annoys customers is too much interaction. There are no tried and tested recipes to get the human-digital ratio right in the business. Businesses need to create the right human-digital proportion that works for their customers and operations. Research shows that B2B customers want both human and digital interactions on their buying journey, preferring one over the other at various stages.

Finding the right balance

When researching a new product or service the majority of customers who enjoy digital, still want human interaction. In the evaluation and consideration stages, customers mainly prefer digital tools that provide factual information, like a comparison tool and reviews. Again, post purchase, during renewal, cross-selling and upselling, digital tools remain much preferred. The trick is to identify where human interaction is most wanted and ensure it is provided – either as expertise available via a web chat or simply having a person pick up the phone when a potential customer rings.

Invest wisely

Companies also need to invest in digital where it is most valued and where digital can enable humans to do a better job of interacting with customers when the human touch is required. Digitally enabled tools can help enormously to reduce slow turnaround times, for example by connecting customers with experts via a web chat. By taking stock and analysing the sales performance of the recent past, it will be possible to identify areas of improvement. Sales leaders must then focus on whether they can implement the change digitally or by introducing some human interaction there. Either way, the optimal digital-human balance is a proven factor in boosting sales performance.
Ways to Conquer the Changing Sales Environment

Ways to Conquer the Changing Sales Environment

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Adapting to change is necessary for surviving in a business environment. The advent of technology has shifted the very dynamics of a typical sales process. Sales executives are forced to step up their sales strategies due to changing consumer behaviour.  

Here are few methods you can adapt to conquer the current sales environment. 

Right Sales Representative 

Hiring the right sales representative is a game changer. A well informed and able salesperson can dramatically change the buying process. But successful companies hire sales representatives who are not only willing to be process oriented but also open to the notion of continuous improvement. Also make sure that the sales representative acts as a facilitator between the company and the buyers.  

Retaining Employees 

Companies are forming policies that help in retaining the best talent. Retaining the best sales representatives by providing aid for their self-development and growth will benefit the firm in the long run. A survey conducted by Harvard in the year 2006 showed that firms that retained the best sales representatives had greater than average tenure of sales staff, higher percentage of reps meeting the quota, higher average deal size and shorter than average sale cycle.  

Following Sales process 

Every company has a standardized and defined sales procedure. But very few sales executive follow the prescribed procedure. Successful firms monitor and provide feedback on salesperson’s use of the standard process. These organizations amend the process when they identify even minor changes in market conditions. These companies also have higher performance rating and are a formidable competition.   

Understanding Buyers 

Though some companies formalize the selling process, very few try to understand the buying process. Keep a track on buyer’s process by understanding the opportunity, the budget allocation and by identifying key buying influences. A proper sales representative should be able to forecast the buyer’s actions and adapt this strategy accordingly.  

Marketing 

Nowadays consumers are well informed about the product even before the meeting with the salesperson. A customer’s first impression of the product is gathered from the internet and other online reviews.  Hence, a firm should focus on the marketing aspect of the product. Sales department needs to focus more on how the product reaches the consumer to increase the possibility of a sale.  

Technology 

The gadgets and gizmos available today are focused on making sales transaction both efficient and effective. Firms use data analysis to monitor the sales process and collect data which benefit in understanding the market change. Having data-mining tools built into the CRM application and categorizing and storing the collected data in an accessible manner will benefit all businesses.  

Transparency 

Salesmen who are transparent to the buyers from the beginning are often more successful at closing a deal. Such representatives have constantly explained what they wanted and tried to reach the top decision maker. These clear and on-going efforts to get to the decision maker can produce a positive pressure on the outcome of the deals. Being open to the buyers and explaining your reasons to them can have a progressive effect on the sales process. 

It’s important to remember that the process of selling is both an art and science. It can be highly automated and process oriented but has scope for improvement and development.



Significance of a Quality Management Plan

Significance of a Quality Management Plan

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A management plan is a blueprint which specifies the way an organization is run, both day-to-day and over the long term.  It is an integral part of an organization allowing one to formalize its structure and operations. Alongside, it ensures that everyone working are on the same page which helps to accomplish goals.  Meanwhile, the content of management plan varies depending on the organization, program, project and the circumstances.  

Some of the common categories that need to be addressed in a proposal are: 

Program Organisation

This includes an organization chart which shows reporting relationships and describes functions of the proposed program. 

Program Management

This describes the direction of the overall program which is managed by the program management group.

Project Management

This describes the techniques used to plan, schedule, track and direct project activities within the program.

Problem management / escalation

This provides a systematic method for identifying and handling problems in a reliable, repeatable and timely manner.

Personnel management

This contains a description of management of personnel-related affairs such as recruiting, retention, time keeping and benefits.

Financial management

This describes the fundamentals of financial systems, processes, and safeguards. 

Quality management

This provides a systematic QA/QC approach which is capable to ensure products and services consistently meet quality goals.

Risk management

This demonstrates a clear understanding of program risks, providing a description of plans and capabilities developed handle risk.

Schedule management

This provides an overview of the systems and processes that assures consistent maintenance of schedule.

Executive management

This describes methods for leadership to execute control which successfully meets challenges and delivers quality performance.

Interface between customer and contractor at all levels

The bidder utilizes this form to describe his interface at various levels including the executive, program, project, financial, contractual, and other levels.

Contract management

This describes the processes, procedures, and systems that ensures the delivery of services / products consistently in accordance with both the letter and spirit of the contract.

Subcontract management

This describes the processes, procedures, systems, and contractual terms which ensures the subcontractors are managed to support requirements and goals.

Emphasising on the steps taken to achieve success in previous projects will enhance relatability and trust of the client.  

Tip: The management plan must ensure it is relatable, reliable and client-situation is well studied! 

Emerging Sales Trends

Emerging Sales Trends

Are you a bidding professional looking for up-to-date bidding tactics and strategies? Try Padi+ free for a month and get access to Baachu APMP certification courses, technical resources and tools, monthly webinars plus get exclusive access to our private community, Baachu Engage in Facebook. Join Scribble and become the smartest bidder in your sector.
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Evolution and innovation are an inevitable part of any environment. This is true for any business settings. The components involved in a sales process are changing. These changes are changing dynamics between a customer and seller and even the way a company views its competition, product and service.  An ideal sales representative will understand and monitor these changes and develop an appropriate sales strategy. 

Given below are the major changes in the sales environment: 

1. Unlimited access to information 

Before the advent of internet, only the sales representatives had information regarding their products. They kept the data sheets, reference information and price list. Now, the unrivalled power of the Web has quickly turned the table for the consumers. Buyers can easily get the required information online not only from the seller but from other buyers and third parties. The power of negotiation has shifted and consumers are armed with the needed information even before they meet the sales representative.  

2. Influence of  Social Media 

Many businessmen quickly dismiss social media as a medium of entertainment. This is a far cry from reality. It is a tool for communication, information and collaboration. It can also be easily assimilated into the sales process.  Online platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and various blogs are used for marketing purposes. It serves as a link between the company and the consumer. Many consumers often review the products and rate them which can ultimately affect your customer base. 

3. Influence of  Technology 

Technology has not only improved the socializing platforms but has even affected business. There are various tools and applications available to a sales representative to improve the sales process. Cloud Computing, Internet, CRM applications and other mobile applications has shortened the sales cycle, improved connection with customers and simplified data storage and accessibility. Technology is touching every facet of the sales process and making the process more competent and operative than ever before.  

4. Different decision makers 

Another trend noticed in the present era is the way how buyers make their decisions. It has been long believed that an “economic decision maker”, that is, a single individual holds the ultimate responsibility for the decision to buy.  But in the current age there are various committees where multiple layers of approval are needed to finally close the deal. This has significantly increased the average length of sales cycle in the last decade. An efficient sales representative will take this process into consideration and build a strategy is has the support of all the major stakeholders. 

5. Current Lifestyle 

Technology has made man’s life fast and busy. Therefore, a simple solution or regular means of communication will not grab the attention of the customer. Sales representatives must be creative and hardworking to survive in a fast environment. There is also a shift from personal relationships to a more objective and formal relationship between the buyer and seller. Consecutively, sales process has become more complex.  

As said by William Pollard, “Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement.” To remain constant in an ever-changing world will put an end to the development of your business. Age old methods and tools are no longer efficient is a technologically driven world.  

Customer service, ideal response times

Customer service, ideal response times

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The average company responds to an email in about 12 hours and 10 minutes according to a study conducted. But is this quick enough is the question! 

Research Findings 

With numerous avenues to contact a company including Twitter, email, and Facebook how fast does the average customer expect a response and does their age affect their expectations? A study conducted in 2017 showed that under 45% of customers were very satisfied with their email correspondence. Customers that were satisfied noted down speed being the top factor affecting their interaction. A typical business takes about 12 hours to respond to an email. This is definitely an upgrade from the previous one-business-day standard response time but it may still not be up to par. A previous study done showed that the ideal response time expected even then was just one hour. A follow-up study was done in 2018 to see if this expectation has changed. According to the results the ideal standard for response times through email was still one hour with a response within fifteen minutes remarkable service. This was based on what would satisfy at least 80% of the individuals surveyed.  

Email Response Time Expectations 

If an email was responded to within a couple of hours a company could capitalize on 70% of customers. A one hour response time is the expectation that would satisfy 89% of customers. When categorized by age the findings showed that Baby Boomers within the ages of 55-73 actually expected the fastest response. Expectations were similar among coworkers expecting responses within the hour. At work, this may be very hard to fulfill and may lead to emails being glanced over quickly and not getting detailed responses back. The average email thread amongst coworkers was reported to be 4.5 emails. The age group that expected the fastest response was GenX, who are 39-54 years old.  

Managing Twitter & Facebook Response Times 

On Twitter the stakes are even higher with the standard expectation being just fifteen minutes. This can be especially challenging to fulfill as Twitter is decreasing in popularity and is usually not the preferred method of contact. Phone calls, and email are still used more, thus allotting staff members to focus on Twitter may not be the best allocation of company staff. Again, Baby Boomers expected the fastest response.  Expectations on Facebook were similar to email with one hour being ideal and fifteen minutes being remarkable. Millennials, ages 23-38 expected the fastest responses on Facebook. Although more people use Facebook to contact companies than Twitter, a rise from 40% to 50%, only 55% of Millennials reported using Facebook to contact a company.  

In conclusion, the ideal response time for a company to  reach a majority of their customers would be to respond within the hour.