When’s the last time you bought something from a pushy salesperson? Or the last time you sat through an irrelevant cold call during dinner?
If the answer is sometime in the past five years, you’re in the minority. In 2015, 80% of sales phone calls were relegated to voicemail and 90% of these voicemails were never returned.
What’s the source of this sales aversion?
Today’s consumers are savvy, frustrated by ‘legacy sales’ tactics that disrupt their day, and empowered to make purchasing decisions without person-to-person communication. In fact, it’s predicted that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their interaction with a business without speaking to a human.
Below we explore how salespeople can adapt to a sales-averse marketplace and develop sales strategies that work.
Integrate Your Sales Process
Smarketing refers to the alignment of sales and marketing teams, in order to empower salespeople with customer intelligence gathered by the marketing department.
Armed with this information, salespeople can approach leads with context, hone in on their unique challenges and motivations and provide genuine value through consultative-style conversations.
For example, compare these two sales conversations:
Legacy sales techniques: “Hi, this is Sam from Premier Real Estate. Do you have a minute to discuss a few properties I think you’ll be interested in?”
Smarketing sales: “Hi, this is Sam from Premier Real Estate. I notice you’ve downloaded our eBook, ‘10 Steps to Selling Your Home’, what challenges are you currently facing and how can we help you?”
The modern salesperson is a listener, not a talker. Their conversations with leads become almost consultations. So focus on asking targeted questions powered by marketing insights. You’ll build trust, brand affinity and earn their business when they’re ready.
How do you begin to align your sales and marketing departments?
Encourage both your sales and marketing teams to agree upon a set of desired outcomes. Shared goals are primarily results-oriented. They should be focused towards growth but remain realistic.
Shared definitions are also important, like what constitutes a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and a sales qualified lead (SQL). It’ll help collate your data and focus the teams on the same strategy.
Skills of the Modern Salesperson
The driving force behind the smarketing movement is a simple truth; today’s consumers don’t want to deal with a “sales” person.
The modern customer is savvy and will disengage if they feel they’re receiving another insincere sales pitch. After all, why should your leads listen to you repeat what can be readily accessed on your website?
From the moment a customer interacts with your business to the moment of sale, focus on delighting them. The sales process is more about the customer’s needs than pushing your product.
Respect the customer and they’ll respect you. Your sales process will be improved, and your customers will be encouraged to advocate your business through their personal networks.
Expertise is important, but the best salesperson should be, above all, curious. A willingness to be constantly learning will translate to a passion. It’ll show the customer the salesperson has a genuine interest in the product and their problem, which will drastically increase the chances of a sale.
Train, Embrace Change, and Adapt
The best sales teams know their markets better than their competitors. Data is definitely power in an evolving marketplace.
Embracing new technologies and software programs will make this easier and more cost effective. Research what’s available for your business by looking at industry publications, networking, or asking qualified business advisors.
And remember, by upskilling your sales team regularly, you’re future-proofing your business for success on the revenue runway.