The sales landscape is rapidly evolving as consumers are becoming highly knowledgeable of their options within any given market. Oftentimes, consumers complete most of the purchase journey before having any contact with a sales representative. In fact, according to Forrester Research, the average buyer has completed between 60 and 90 percent of their decision-making process before engaging a sales professional. However, sales professionals still have an important role to play as they guide prospects to a product or solution that solves each of the consumer's unique problems. Finding the right balance between proven sales principles and new technology can be difficult, but here are a few tips that can be used to help close that next deal with an engaged and educated prospect.
A one-size-fits-all mentality doesn't exist for sales professionals. Every business owner, decision-maker, and workforce has unique needs that have to be considered, from IT infrastructure to company culture. As a modern sales professional, it is essential to prioritize the needs of the company; it's not just about meeting quotas, but focusing on solving a company's unique problems in efficient and cost-effective ways.
In order to truly stand out from the crowd, sales professionals have to go that extra mile and learn as much about a prospect as they can before even speaking with them. This includes considering what will be important to the prospect and planning out the solutions that will be appropriate to resolve their problems.
Address pain points
Sales professionals must understand specific buyer roles in order to fully understand the stakeholders and tailor messaging to address the necessary points. This is not as easy as it sounds, especially in a B2B scenario where the prospect is a committee of several individuals instead of a single buyer.
To convey that you understand the prospect's business and can provide value for him, you must be able to speak the language of his business. Sales representatives should concentrate on the prospects' business, its customers' businesses, and the intersection of the two. The intersection is a critical point where a sales professional can close a deal or lose a sale. Understanding how a prospect serves its customers and leveraging that knowledge ensures that sales professionals can provide the right benefits for their business.
Adapt with the industry
Consumers know what's available on the market long before they speak with a sales professional. Because consumers are generally well-informed, they demand more expertise, showing a need for sales professionals to learn how to recognize communications patterns, product knowledge, and online behavior. The only way to do this is to meet prospects where they are: online and on social media platforms.
Exciting communication could be happening right now between the new "social selling" sales professional and prospective clients, customers, and partners. Those conversations will not happen, however, if sales representatives aren't online and engaged in the right places. The first step, therefore, is researching where prospects are looking for information related to your solutions and insert social selling representatives into those conversations online.
Try new sales tools
Social media platforms have taken over the Internet and videos now have the potential to spread like wildfire. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that online video has become an important tactic for marketers to master in order to reach consumers.
Video is personal, quick, convenient, and engaging. Videos can also be placed in emails to potential buyers, adding an interesting and engaging element to sales outreach. Research from Experian shows that simply mentioning the word "video" in an email subject line drastically improves open and click-through rates. However, keep in mind that the success of social selling through video is largely dependent on the quality of the content and messages being delivered.
Be a consultant first and foremost
Consumers will likely already have specific products in mind when they approach sales professionals. However, they will probably have questions regarding which solution will be the most appropriate based on conditions unique to their situations. As a modern day sales professional, it is necessary to take on that consulting role to make the buyer feel confident in their decision.
Consumers have to trust the sales professional they are working with or the sale will probably not go through. Trust begins to be established when the consumer realizes the sales professional is investing time and thought into his situation, making him feel like a priority instead of just trying to collect a commission. The consultant needs to be knowledgeable about both the products available and the consumer's business to leave that lasting impression.
As long as sales professionals stay up to date with current trends and look to take those extra steps above and beyond when reaching out to potential prospects, they will still achieve success with the right consumers. Sales professionals can set themselves up for success by ensuring they are staying up to date with the changing industry, building relationships with prospects and leveraging available tools. The sales industry is evolving quickly, but sales professionals will continue to play a vital role in its future.