The business environment has changed and so has the process of selling. All businesses are different, but for a sales manager to successfully manage the new sales process there are some areas that need consideration, now more then ever.
The traditional “I can sell anything to anyone” approach is becoming outdated as the customer increasingly gains the upperhand in the sales process. Here a few key facts you need to remember.
The Customer is in Control – Customers are now running the B2B sales process. They no longer appreciate being sold to, unless they are ready.
Content is King – B2B buyers crave content. They are no longer prepared to take the word of a salesman and need to investigate for themselves – then they are ready to talk to you.
Be Patient – a lot of what is classed as sales activity is out of the sales department’s hands. You will feel frustrated at feeling out of control, but this will pass as sales leads start to build up.
Learn to Love Marketing – Your marketing colleagues are now part of the sales team. You need to work closely as they will produce the content that you need to attract buyers. It is important you trust them to do their job, but there should be regular communication so both sides are telling the same story.
Be consistent – It is important that the materials and messaging your sales team pass on to your prospects and customers are consistent with the pre-engagement materials they will have seen. This includes sales presentations delivered towards the end of the process. There is no longer room for the maverick sales guy with his own unique version of what you do!
Customers have enough problems, don’t invent new ones – At all stages, show how you can solve their problems by talking benefits and approach. Don’t invent a problem that you happen to solve.
Train your sales teams as product experts – someone customers will trust not avoid! No point being a top salesman unless you come across as someone who understands the issues. If you don’t you may not get the chance to show off your legendary closing skills.
Don’t just measure activity – Traditionally, sales managers measured activity such as number of meetings and number of leads. This only tells part of the story as it did not record why sales really were lost or what made someone ultimately buy. The new sales pipeline can be a source of valuable information as, with proper monitoring, it can help identify what messaging, what content and what activities yield the highest results. This helps sales and marketing management direct their efforts in areas which are proven to deliver success.
The new sales environment may seem confusing to a traditional sales manager, but if properly embraced it can deliver a better professional experience and more, sustainable, success.
Download our Whitepaper: The New Sales Environment and How to Manage It for more information!