Do you make it easy for customers to buy?
The world is changing at an increasingly rapid rate. How well are you keeping up with the changing demands of your customer?
There is nothing black-and-white about sales today. In today’s business environment, for salespeople to be viewed as relevant and connected with clients, a salesperson needs to start with a commitment to developing an appropriate level of knowledge or business acumen about the customer’s business and industry.
In order to be successful, they must connect the dots between the crucial aspects of the client’s business and their own insight, knowledge, expertise, and resourcefulness as well as the specific products or services.
It is helpful to start thinking about salespeople along two dimensions that are both related to the client’s perspective and expectations:
The client’s expected buying experience. What does the client expect as they move down the buying pathway as envisioned and defined by the client?
The client’s expectations regarding the salesperson. How does the salesperson “show up”? How are they perceived by the client? What are the first impressions and the ongoing impressions of the salesperson?
A major shift occurring today is that the client is now trained to expect a world class buying experience. They are conditioned by world class experiences from an ever-expending selection of providers in a range of industries.
Every part of the experience must be perfectly aligned with the buyer’s expressed needs and their anticipated needs. When we think about a world class buying experience, it not only involves the product or services being sold, but it has everything to do with the first impression made from the initial marketing touch point, to every aspect of a salesperson’s interactions but also the level of knowledge and expertise provided by the salesperson and the team supporting the client after the sale.
Clients no longer want “to be sold anything.” There is a client or buyer evolution that has been occurring for a long time. The role and method of operation of buyers has essentially changed completely. In many cases, serious buyers start with in-depth research and frequently come prepared with significant background information and knowledge during their first interaction with a salesperson. That is a major shift that all sales teams are experiencing and need to be prepared to handle.
Another dynamic in the changing landscape is that we see more professional buyers and buying teams that operate when large transactions or RFPs are involved. Of course, this now introduces another level of expectations and sophistication with which to deal.
All of this has had a tremendous impact on the sales methods, the types of salespeople that will be successful, and even the mix of salespeople within a team. The end result is that sales managers must start to operate differently and utilise a suite of sophisticated tools to ensure their teams are made up of the right people in every position involved with the complete sales and service lifecycle.