The Modern Sales Professional does not look much like he did 10 or even 5 years ago. The world of sales has changed forever. It had its first revolution in recent times when the Internet gave buyers access to precious information. Information that was previously in the custody of salespeople. The next revolution was the advent of Social Media. Buyers no longer need to even access the source of the information they are after. In most cases, the source of influential information is often a highly regarded 3rd party expert or influencer. As a sales professional, you may never get the opportunity to present your value proposition!
This development has been picked up by the world of marketing. They have integrated content and influencer marketing strategies to stay effective. At the same time, marketers have figured out that to best communicate their message, they have to measure and analyse. In the on-line world, marketers have become data scientists, counting and comparing clicks, links and rankings, to figure out what adjustments to make, to increase their target customer with the budget they have.
But what about you out in there the world of sales? This market transformation has had an enormous impact on the role of modern sales professionals. Information-rich buyers can be 60% -80% through the purchasing process before you get to speak to them. They come to you with the balance of power tipped in their favour and able to buy on their own terms.
As a modern sales professional, you know that it’s imperative to get a dialogue started. Apart from direct referrals, traditional outbound sales strategies, such as cold calling, are becoming less and less effective as sales targets make themselves less contactable.
The Modern Sales Professional
Just as successful marketing has made the transition to modern marketing, the successful sales professionals of tomorrow are making a similar transition. So what does the modern sales professionals look like? What do you have to do to become one?
The fact that buyers have access to lots of information means that the sales professional has access to it too. Conversations are happening across the social web about your product, brand and market. By following these conversations you can find out who’s on the market, what the key topics are, the trends and the players driving the conversation. The insights you can uncover will greatly help you in your conversations with would-be buyers. You may be able to find opportunities within those conversations to add value to the conversation.
2. Join in the Conversation
Old-style communication is largely over. People don’t answer calls from unfamiliar numbers and your emails and voicemails are unlikely to go unanswered. But conversations are happening on the social web. Join in, connect and engage. You will find opportunities to provide value, earning you the right to connect an develop relationships with qualified prospects.
3. Thought Leadership
The holy grail of interacting on the social web is to develop your persona as a thought leader. By following influencers and sharing their content, you will become known as a person of authority. From your vantage point you will have a unique perspective on how your products solve customer problems. By creating content that buyers find useful, not only will you attract more of them to you, but you will naturally become the target of their questions and the gateway to their knowledge. And before you know it, they will ask how you could help them directly.
Does all this sound a bit like marketing? You bet it does. Used to be that sales professionals followed the ABC; Always Be Closing. Perhaps that should now read Always Be Connected?