In a way, the legacy sales methodologies and old ways have been instrumental in creating the modern salesperson, who understands the importance of data analytics and the social factor in selling
Legacy sales methodologies such as gathering information, buying a list, marketing campaigns via direct calls or e-mails have been in practice for a long time. While it has its benefits, sales data and technology today have changed the way sales leaders and their teams think – no longer is intuition the driving force.
In the current scenario - businesses need to make sales decisions swiftly in response to market changes, competitor activity, customer preferences, and company-wide campaigns. Plus, as the cost of acquiring new customers continues to rise, sales teams need to focus on targeted efforts to preserve resources.
The salesman, script, and the large push
Legacy sales methodologies were built on conviction, persistence, and the hard work of a sales professional. Today, there are many sales veterans, if questioned, who will reply - “I’ve been in sales for nearly 40 years and know friends who have been doing this for nearly 30-40 years.” The gatekeepers and limited personal rolodexes have always been their major roadblocks in traditional selling. The salesforce had to look at multiple entry points, rely on cold calling, and push the products and services further to seal the deal.
But, to say to them that sales techniques have evolved will be an understatement. In a way, the legacy sales methodologies and old ways have been instrumental in creating the modern salesperson, who understands the importance of data analytics and the social factor in selling.
Instead of approaching the prospects through old sales methodologies and hoping the product or service resonates with them; sales leaders can navigate their organization with the help of new-age technologies. This is to better understand the shift to a digital mindset among consumers and transition the sales models to deliver a better sales experience, encourage loyalty and have higher success rates.
Unlocking the power of data in sales begins with designing and deploying analytics with available internal and external data sources. The intelligence tools help to understand the sales workflows and the sales environment better. And drive actions – either human or automated, and measure outcomes.
For example, a company can harness the advantages of data-analytics using machine learning and artificial intelligence to mine the behavioral data of its potential customers. This helps the sales team to identify the current requirement, quantify the recent actions of customers, evaluate preferences, and deliver the products and services effectively to the marketplace.
As business data becomes intelligent, it is critical to understand what is being data-driven means then and how it affects the revenue.
Study shows 95% of companies who opted for a data-driven approach even just for lead generation have seen a remarkable jump in the closure of deals. Data-driven sales mean marketing and sales are no more separate non-interacting business functions. The actions of sales and marketing now must align for getting a specific outcome.
Unlocking the power of social selling
Modern buyers’ decision process is different from previous generation buyers, they research, test and explore the products & solutions that solve their business problems. They engage with the salesperson at the time they are ready to make a decision. To engage early with the buyers, sales teams should work on social selling.
When social selling – a sales discussion can be made directly with prospects or decision makers on social media and other new-age platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter Spaces, and the newer Clubhouse at ease. Joint thought leadership, round tables, webinars, fireside chats, social networking based on voice are some of the multi-faceted engagements that are currently trending and gaining momentum.
Here, constantly sharing engaging content, insights on various customer requirements and addressing pain points establishes much relevant and meaningful connection. Therefore, gliding the prospect through buying process becomes much easier.
Key Investments to improve sales technologies
According to a McKinsey study, the shift to digital is growing significantly in B2B sales space as seen in the B2C segment. Before the pandemic, traditional sales interactions were considered more important. However, now many companies – nearly 2X believe digitally-enabled sales interactions are vital.
Thus, to have a bigger impact, socializing the organization and the sales touchpoints by investing in data analytics solutions and social selling is critical for business success.
ABM is one such technology that has evolved as the boundary between sales & marketing is getting thinner and thinner. It helps focus on a select list of accounts rather than traditional spraying & praying. ABM tools helps create customer personas and reach out to them with appropriate content across multiple mediums.
ABM allows you to interact with prospects over events, fireside chats and more. The lead time in ABM programs is a bit longer to acquire a customer, however, the ticket size and stickiness of customers are bigger and longer too. Today ABM is a must-have sales strategy in the growth story of any organization.
When remote selling higher-end products and services, it’s vital for both the businesses and the prospects to work and make decisions in synchronization. Use data to find new micro markets and prospects, create hybrid sales plays (online + offline) for larger reach and support the salesforce with all the tools when executing the strategy. Remember, Smart Analytics and social selling works and drives growth in the long term and as well as in the short term.
The author is Venkat Srinivasan, SVP - US Sales, Indium Software
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