In today’s frenetic business environments, there is a huge premium on time. How and where salespeople allocate time has always been critical because time is a non-renewable resource – once used, it’s gone forever. What’s more, salespeople sometimes mismanage their time because a lot of the world’s sales (and business) leaders are asleep at the wheel. Let me explain:
According to this year’s State of Sales report, the average Australia and New Zealand sales person is only spending around 31% of their typical working week “selling”. The rest of their time is spent on admin, planning, service, travel and other. What’s perhaps more troubling is that 70% of sales reps surveyed expect to miss their quotas this year.
With today’s empowered customer, sales activities should revolve around cultivating an acute and ongoing understanding of buyer tastes and preferences, and how you can deliver the most delightful customer experience (CX) possible.
Accelerating change means that the breakdown of daily activities is now vastly different compared with 5 years ago. Far too many sales people are still performing the same types of activities that they were performing back in 2008, which just won’t cut it today.
So what is the right breakdown of sales activities? Before we dive into that, let’s agree on some important points about the future of B2B sales:
As the emphasis on sales activities shifts, so too does the profile of what constitutes an ideal salesperson. The old stereotypes (quota crushers, hunters and lone-wolves) are now making way for a different type of salesperson – a highly analytical, tech savvy, problem solver with deep domain knowledge. This lines up with what B2B buyers reveal they’re after in this year’s State of Sales report as 78% state that they want a trusted advisor - not just a salesperson.
The salespeople of the future will be digitally driven, socially connected, subject matter experts that can offer their buyers unique perspectives and commercial insights.
The following roles seem to be converging into what I believe will be a hybrid set of prerequisite competencies for the successful salesperson of the future:
The role for salespeople is rapidly shifting towards a future where everybody works together for customer success. That is, sales, marketing, pre-sales, product management and customer success people all working together to give the customer the greatest possible buying experience – pre and post the initial sale. In fact, 75% of business buyers surveyed in the State of Sales report say connected processes are important to winning their business.
It’s time to re-think what it means to be a salesperson in the new customer-led era. Salespeople need to move away from being extroverted quota crushers to more introverted problem-solving analysts. This is how they will succeed in a sales environment where customers are no longer just numbers on a page.
To learn more about the changing role of the salesperson, as well as the other key trends that are impacting the sales industry this year, download Salesforce’s State of Sales today.