How sales has changed

Greek actor Thymios Karakatsanis acting at the play the "Death of a Salesman" The Willy Loman of yore would have a hard time in today’s sales world.

Salespeople are famous for cold calling and charging hard after a sale. But these days, that’s becoming more and more difficult, and producing fewer and fewer results. I’m not saying there isn’t a need for someone who goes the last mile and sits face-to-face (or ear-to-ear, in the case of phone sales) with prospects and helps them feel comfortable with their decisions because that couldn’t be further from the truth. Someone needs to help prospects find the tools and services they need to solve their problems.

But the barriers to just reaching out and finding those “ripe” prospects have grown.

The buyer of today wants to tell the sales people when they are ready for information and they want to dictate how that information gets delivered to them. The  buyer is more in control of the transaction. As a result the sales person can’t go solo any more. They need some help from the marketers to generate and cultivate the leads that open doors.

While marketing has taken on some of the lead generation role, that hasn’t made the sales role any easier. The same buyer who wants all their information up front before they engage with a sales person now has more choices, more information and less time to make a decision. So the sales role has also evolved to me more consultative, helping the buyer to make the best decision for them.

How do you see the role of sales changing in your business?

Sales Call to Action

Comments

  1. Provocative, but true. The sales person needs to be, as you said, consultative. To what end though? I think the jury is still out but they’ve finished their lunch. The secret sauce is creating real value for your clients and network. If that is your goal then you will be successful. Sometimes creating that value is handing then off to a competitor who can serve them better. I’ve found in the long run people are loyal to value (and all it’s intrinsic and ephemeral connotations) over anything else. The trick is creating that value consistently and with integrity and trust. Trust is so important to fortifying that perception of value, some may say it’s the most important thing a sales guy can create…..if you can fake that you’ve got it made.

  2. Jon;

    I think you are right, it is all about value — but what value is to the buyer is shifting. We used to be able to withhold information about our product and the prospect would endure a “sales call” in order to get that information. That’s no longer the case. You better be able to create value by making their life easier, helping them to understand their challenge and the opportunity provided by your solution (or someone else’s if your’s isn’t right for them) and do it on their time table.

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