It’s been five years since the sales engagement movement took off. Marketers and sales organizations are learning to get comfortable speaking the language of today’s customers. And sales organizations are beginning to change the way they approach sales activities. The impact has been incredible.
According to this Forbes article, the average salesperson was making $100,000 in 1990. Ten years later, that number had doubled to $200,000. Now, that rate is up over fourfold. That’s not to say the average salesperson in the United States will hit that mark in the next decade, but we are in for a ride. If you haven’t seen this movement’s impact on the sales and marketing function, you should be on board with us.
What’s Happening Now?
While the impact of the sales engagement movement is still taking shape, there’s no question that the sales profession has forever changed. With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual assistants, in-app messaging, and chatbots, the traditional way of selling is going out of style. According to Forrester, more than 50% of companies will adopt AI-enabled chatbots by 2025, while 86% will use intelligent in-app messaging. In their report, “Digital Sales Engagement Revolution,” the consulting firm also forecasts that by 2025, 80% of the world’s mobile searches will be performed in a conversational interface. Well, we should admit that top sales engagement platforms do their job well.
Even with the growth of these technologies, the most effective form of sales engagement is still face-to-face communication. Sales conversations continue to be the most productive way to gain customer understanding and create a connection. Even as these engagement trends increase, face-to-face sales conversations will continue to play a huge role in the buying process and will be what keeps customers as profit contributors to your organization.
As the world around sales shifts from talking to texting, Facebook Live, and other messaging platforms, it will be more important than ever to understand that different approaches to sales can yield different results. What works well for traditional, phone-based, in-person, or remote sales will be different for in-app, online, social, or mobile sales. As we move forward in the next decade, the way you communicate with customers will be different, and so will your approach.
To prosper and succeed in a highly dynamic sector, we have prepared sales engagement best practices for you. What is targeting? How to sell better? And how to keep up with the modern market trends? Keep reading and find answers to all your questions.
Better Lead Qualification and Management
As we go through the last decade, customers are changing. They are moving from being consumers to becoming business buyers. According to Gartner, over 50% of global revenue is generated by B2B customers. As consumers become business buyers, they are looking for companies that understand the needs of their specific industry. As salespeople, that’s going to force us to stop talking about leads as a collection of numbers and instead focus on the people. As a result, we need to understand how our customers’ needs change based on their industry and how their role within the company or their industry influences their behavior.
This will require a major change in the way we approach lead management and qualification. To increase the success of your sales pipeline and close the gaps that happen as it increases, it’s important to understand how your customers buy. And once you’ve done that, you can build more accurate sales qualification criteria to ensure that you aren’t taking on leads that won’t produce a return for your organization. It’s also important to be flexible. Your lead qualification criteria will change as your customers do.
Increasing Focus on the Opportunity Stage of the Buying Process
According to Forrester, the top three stages of the buying process include opportunity identification, opportunity evaluation, and acquisition. However, in traditional selling, all of these stages are usually completed at the same time. We are used to thinking of a customer as either an opportunity or a lead, and we don’t focus on the importance of each stage.
But now, we have seen customers make decisions that last weeks or months, and in some cases, even years. It’s time to break up these stages of the buying process and create a more holistic approach to the process. It’s important to understand that conversion is not one stage of the buying process. It is the entire process that takes your customers from wanting something to becoming your customer. Therefore, you and your sales organization need to become more patient in understanding what your customer wants and needs. This is a good step in the right direction.
Embrace the Role of Marketing in Selling
As the sales engagement movement continues to unfold, it is important to understand the role of marketing in the sales organization. The fact is that marketing is going to have a larger role in sales because the two are starting to “speak the same language.” As the lines between sales and marketing continue to blur, marketers have begun to shift their approach to selling. With marketing increasingly shifting from brand messaging to customer understanding and demand generation, the need for salespeople to understand what customers want and how marketing influences the buying process will become increasingly important.
Embrace the Role of Innovation in Sales
As the way we do business and interact with customers and prospects changes, so does the way you sell. The future of the sales profession involves salespeople who are innovators, not just marketers. It’s not enough to push ideas and campaigns through the marketing organization. The salesperson needs to be able to think creatively about how to use their skills to create value and connect with prospects. This approach should take place in a very different way than the traditional way of selling.
We are excited about how sales are evolving, and salespeople are going to have to change. It’s time to stop thinking that salespeople can just go out and sell. They’re not. We need to think about what it takes to effectively work in this environment.