11 Ways the World of Sales Has Changed Over Time: Part One
If this isn’t a saying yet in sales, it should be: you never sell the same way twice. The world of sales (and the tools at sales reps’ disposal) is constantly evolving. Whether it’s due to advancements in technology, changes in shopper motivation, or simply new generations becoming consumers, there’s a lot to consider and adapt to. Let’s take a look at several of the ways in which sales has changed over time, as well as some of the major reasons why in part one of our “World of Sales” blog series.
CRM is a need, not a want
Let’s start with the most obvious way in which sales has changed: automation. In 2017, CRM is a need rather than a want, at least for a majority of competitive businesses. Perhaps it’s because business leaders are starting to understand the value of a CRM. Or maybe it’s due to the changes in technology and the reliance on it. It could even be due to the changes in the ways in which consumers are making purchasing decisions. No matter the reason, customer relationship management software has given businesses the tools they need to stay organized, manage their customer base, develop strong relationships, and sell their products and/or services in all the right ways.
Prospects are well-educated
Ask any veteran sales rep, and they’ll tell you that this is one of the most prevalent changes to come to the world of sales. Prospects are extremely knowledgeable about your products/services, even before you start interacting with them. The boom of social media, websites, rating and review sites, and just technology in general have given consumers ample resources for educating themselves before beginning the process of a purchase or investment. For sales reps, this means that prospects are coming into the sales cycle much later than in previous years. In some cases, prospects have already narrowed down their purchasing decision and have had all of their questions answered before even talking with a sales rep.
Inbound, not outbound
Going off of what was said in the above section, inbound marketing has transformed the way consumers are interacting with businesses and getting their information. In the past, consumers would speak with a sales rep to become educated on a product or service. Now, consumers are almost expected to have a thorough knowledge prior to reaching out (or being reached out to). This is due to the major developments in marketing and the shift from an outbound approach to an inbound. Marketers are focusing a lot of their efforts on search engine optimization (SEO), which helps business websites show up higher on Google search results. As such, consumers can find the relevant information they need, all on their own. And if they want to consider making a purchase, they can, depending on the scenario, either fill out a form or use an online checkout.
Training is accessible
Google and the internet are a lot of the time taken for granted. But in reality, they provide a lot of great resources that were previously inaccessible. Want to suggest a training for your sales reps to sit in? There’s probably a webinar for that. Need a resource to learn more about ways in which you can become a stronger leader, or how to manage in a multi-generational workforce? There’s a white paper or eBook for that. Training has become more accessible than ever before, so there’s no excuse for a sales rep who’s behind the pack in their field or specialty.
LinkedIn puts a foot in the door
If you’re a sales rep and you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re missing out on a great sales resource. LinkedIn has made the process of connecting with prospects and new potential sales opportunities easier than ever before. Whether you want to follow up after a trade show, join groups where potential customers hang out in, or simply find contact information for a 2nd or 3rd level contact that you’re interested in connecting with, you’re able to do so, all at the click of a mouse.