Co-authored by Cassie Rosengren
Salesmanship is arguably the world's oldest and most timeless profession. While innovation has driven the evolution of man for millions of years, salesmanship (alongside marketing) has been the engine that keeps innovation running. Walter A. Friedman's Birth of a Salesman goes as far as to suggest that sales men -- and women -- are much of the reason America transitioned from a producer to a consumer society.
A 1955 Journal of Retailing article by Victor Lebow, "Price Competition in 1955" is now often quoted as much:
1955 Journal of Retailing article by Victor Lebow "Price Competition in 1955"
So here we are in 2015 in a truly consumer-centered world. Gone are the days of street peddlers and door-to-door sellers and yet among all the change one thing is constant: Success in sales still requires a product/service and sales strategy that evolves with the buyer, which is easier said than done.
Today's modern buyer (Buyer 2.0) is self-evaluating the value of a product or service on websites, social networks, review boards and hundreds of digital resources. Buyer 2.0 is not going to act exclusively by the sales pitch drummed up by a company representative -- the wealth of information accessible to the modern buyer with a tap, swipe and search is simply too profound for such a narrow sales evaluation. In fact, the Buyer 2.0 is 60-90 percent through the decision-making stage of a sale before engaging with a sales professional.
Sales Performance International breaks down the evolution of Buyer 2.0, as such:
Sales professionals can pull up an influential seat at the buyer's table only if they know when, where and how to enter the buyer's decision-making process. Joergen Aaboe, a marketing executive who has partnered with B2B sales teams for the last decade said "Smart sales organizations are acting on the 'Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook' message from Gary Vaynerchuk. Selling today is about delivering value to prospects through content and other forms of education and engagement -- jabbing -- before coming in with the pitch." To keep up with the Buyer 2.0, thousands of sales and marketing professionals flock to Sales 2.0 Conference for modern sales practices and technologies that increase sales performance. Glance at their agenda and it's evident that modern sales practices focus on joining the buyer's band wagon and taking advantage of the ride. Here are three modern sales practices helping organizations increase sales performance:
- Align marketing, sales and customer service to grow revenue. Alignment enables support or service that better bridges to a sale. It enhances product management by establishing a live feedback loop from customer service to marketing and allows organizations to refine message development for sales based on customer feedback findings.
This shift in buying behavior is driven by digital access to action and resources that impact buying behavior. While the shift puts the power in the customer's hands and demands organizations of all sizes to adapt quickly, it can provide incredible insight into their buyers.
The secret? Evolve with the buyer and do so by leveraging technology.