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.



Emerging Sales Trends

Emerging Sales Trends

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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.  

Sales strategies to boost business growth

Sales strategies to boost business growth

Sales are everything to a business. Without sales, any business will be certain to fail. There are many strategies to increase sales that can lead to proper business growth. The way to generate sales will ultimately depend on many factors, such as business, industry, and location. Here are some creative ways to increase sales.
Customer Relationship
Building customer relationship is a traditional method that has withstood the test of time. Focus on building a long term relationship with customers.
Give them opportunities to provide feedback and listen to their problems.
Conduct surveys that provide further insight into their shopping habits.
Communicate with customers regularly on new deals and offers.
Ultimately providing good customer service will lead to building a loyal relationship that increases the customer base.
Power of Web
Take advantage of the modern day technologies and use online resources.
Social media is a good way to promote products and reach customers on a large scale.
Build customer base by creating an easy-to-use website, presenting clear contact information, and providing excellent customer service.
Selling through a website is cheaper and can reach millions of customers.
Online services remove the constrain of physically going to a shop and can vastly boost sales.
Sales Resources
Sales mechanics involves heavy planning and managing. Improving the process of creating a product, marketing it and ultimately selling it will lead to better sales.
Create the effective channel for sales. Whether it is a retail chain or an online business, invest in schemes that will improve the transaction between the company and customer.
Develop a sales playbook structure that includes prospecting, cost and training for sales support.
Add value to the products in the form of customer service and product quality. Aim to provide a long lasting impression in customer’s mind regarding the product and the service.

Building Credibility
Having credibility or a good name will lead to customers finding the company’s products. This is also called ‘discovery based selling’ and is the easiest form of procuring a sale.
Make the company known to the customers through a carefully managed social media and PR strategy.
Get rid of all negative thoughts that create gossips and negative behaviour from the company.
Know your company and the products you sell. Understand the set goals and the very purpose your enterprise. Only then can you make your products become irresistible and gain attention from the target audience.

Sales are the lifeblood of every business. Knowing how to generate and track sales is vital for growing a company. Companies can grow exponentially from creating a good sales strategy and implementing it.

Sales Pipelining

Sales Pipelining

A sales pipeline is an organized, visual way of tracking multiple potential buyers as they progress through different stages in the purchasing process.

When building a sales pipeline from scratch, there are three prerequisites to be kept in mind:

A product worth buying

This is the most important prerequisite in any sales professional’s agenda. No matter how skilled a sales person is, if they sell a product that lacks in quality, the organization’s business growth will be at best fraught with difficulty and at worst, an abysmal failure. It will be difficult to build customer loyalty, earn referrals or recommendations and garner any level of trust if the product fails to meet the customer’s standard.

  • An audience of buyers

Knowing which group of people will buy a particular product or service and having an active buyer list is the second prerequisite. Also, a sales professional needs to make sure the products they sell are viable, at least by product category, if not by brand.

  • The way people buy

The third prerequisite for a successful sales career is a basic understanding of the customer journey, how people buy today. The conventional wisdom of “grab them by the tie and choke them till they buy” no longer works in an era when customers can choose from a nearly infinite product selection on their smartphones.

Given that the three prerequisites are met, building a sales pipeline from scratch will not be too hard. If a sales process has multiple stages — “Call client,” “Meet with client,” “Send proposal,” “Final meeting,” “Deal signed” and “Deal declined” — the transition to a pipeline-centric sales management tool will be easy and logical.

A sales pipeline gives a visual overview of business at any one time, can be used to forecast revenue and reduces stress in general.

Ensure your sales process includes the following steps to build and maintain a healthy sales pipeline.

  1. Identify ideal customer avatar and target market

Characteristics of ideal target customers will render the total number of customers a business is able to sell to. This number will most likely be fluid and will change over time.

  1. Find internal contacts and do research

Build a list of internal contacts to target based on the company’s buyer personal. Using certain criteria defined by buyer personas, build a list with “x” number of contacts/leads per company who will be targeted.

  1. Reach out to internal contacts

This is the crucial step is any sales process. It has the potential to make or break deals. This should be an ongoing effort by outbound sales reps. A general rule of thumb is to reach out to a company (at least 3 contacts in a company at once) every 90 days.

  1. Book demos

Once the initial ice-breaker is complete and the contact has shown some level of interest, setting up meetings is the next step.

  1. Close the deal

After formalizing the conversation into a proposal to purchase the product, finalize the commitment.

While a healthy sales pipeline is a big boost to the morale of the organisation, systematically working to build it and converting leads is the only way an organisation can grow its customer base and ensure revenue growth.