As all products and services go through an accelerated life-cycle, being successful in sales requires continuous innovation. In an era where buyer behaviour continues to evolve rapidly, sales organisations and their people need to adapt to provide customers with the experience that they now expect and demand.
Interruptive push selling no longer works, and salespeople must be equipped with a range of new skills in order to become digitally driven, socially connected, mobile and highly specialised.
Hawkins described how accelerated technological change is eroding the role of salespeople, and he’s absolutely right. Salespeople need to take control of pipeline development and specialise.
You don’t need to look far to see evidence of exactly what Hawkins is saying, according to the Salesforce’s State of Sales Report:
61% of consumers - and 76% of business buyers - say they feel significantly more empowered than they did five years ago
7 out of 10 consumers - and 82% of business buyers - agree that technology has made it easier to take their business elsewhere
High-performing sales teams are 2.8x more likely than underperformers to say their sales organisations have become much more focused on personalising customer interactions over the past 12-18 months
High performers are 2.4x more likely than underperformers to rate their team’s analytics and insights capabilities as outstanding or very good
Hawkins said that salespeople need to rapidly reassess their approach, innovate their thinking and embrace the future. Put simply, it means: adapt or perish. He closed the presentation with key takeaways:
Although bread-and-butter priorities such as customer acquisition and hiring more reps aren’t going away anytime soon, evolving objectives reflect the pivot to a customerfirst mindset. These newly elevated aspirations include increasing retention through deeper relationships (51%), becoming trusted advisors to customers (39%), and providing customers with a more personalised experience (37%).
Successful sales teams understand how rapidly the marketplace is changing and the importance of training is during this critical shift. Eighty-percent of high-performing sales teams rate their sales training process as outstanding or very good.
Sales organisations can no longer exist in silos - they must now connect across different departments, channels, and partners in order to have complete visibility into the customer journey. Seventy-three per cent of consumers say they are likely to switch brands if a company provides inconsistent levels of service
Finally, Graham stated that the future is for ‘specialists’ and as sales professionals, we all have to lift our game now or face irrelevance in the new age of the customer.
For more insights and trends from over 3,100 global sales trailblazers, check out the State of Sales Report to identify what you or your organisation can do to stay ahead.
Tony Hughes has thirty years of sales leadership experience, he is ranked by Top Sales Magazine as the most influential person in professional selling in Asia-Pacific and is an award winning blogger and the most read LinkedIn Author globally on the topic of sales leadership. Read more from Tony here.