Chief Sales Officers Must Embrace Agile Selling, Accenture Says

Yusuf Tayob

Yusuf Tayob, Accenture

Chief sales officers face a new set of opportunities and challenges created by technology. Customers enjoy access to more information than ever before. They’re digitally savvy. They are always connected.

Social networks, with recommendations from peers and colleagues, are influencing your customers’ buying decisions before you ever have a chance to weigh in on those decisions.

This is what Accenture’s Yusuf Tayob calls “The New Normal” for sales leaders. He shared some valuable insights in his keynote presentation at the Inside Sales Virtual Summit.

Watch his presentation on Agile Selling in the YouTube video below.

‘The New Normal’ for sales teams

Remember the good old days when customers flowed in via the traditional sales funnel. Those days are long gone. It’s widely accepted that the first time a salesperson meets a customer, the customer is more than 50 percent through the buying process, thanks to the wealth of information that is available online.

Obviously, this paradigm shift has a significant impact on your sales approach. Today’s sales teams must be dynamic — always ready to change, to meet your customers when and where they want to engage with you, because they often choose to interact with you in a multichannel environment. You must always be connected.

If you buy into “The New Normal” and you accept the always-connected customer who expects to be served and sold to in a completely different way, then you understand that you likely need to do some things differently.

Most companies are still a little behind

Tayob says that most companies have taken steps to embrace “The New Normal,” but many are still struggling with fully integrating new tools and processes. He shared some findings from research that Accenture sponsored with CSO Insights.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

Getting reps to sell solutions remains a challenge: Sales teams are doing a better job of training field reps on new products. However, the research clearly shows that many teams need to get better at selling solutions, outcomes and business value.

Social media isn’t producing the expected ROI: The majority of companies have employed social media to enhance their marketing, sales and customer service functions. Unfortunately, many have not yet experienced the results they expected from their investments in social media. According to XANT’s own research, social media is the least effective lead generation methodology.

Mobile devices are not being used effectively: Most companies have figured out a proactive strategy to put customer information and CRM tools on mobile devices, such as tablets. However, most sales reps are using these devices in very limited ways, like checking email or syncing their calendars. Sales teams still need additional training on how to get maximum benefit from their fancy, new gadgets.

Silos are stunting growth: Cross-selling and upselling are seen as crucial channels for revenue growth. Chief sales officers cite the silos between marketing and sales and between sales and customer service as serious challenges that are costing their organizations cross-sell and upsell opportunities. Many organizations also report that their sales and marketing teams still can’t agree on a common definition for a lead.

The 4-step agile selling process

Tayob says sales teams must adopt agile selling to keep up with today’s challenges. He outlined a four-step process.

1. Know your customer.

2. Align your marketing, sales and customer service functions.

3. Provide a multichannel experience.

4. Place your sales reps at the center of the customer experience.

Agile selling is about breaking down silos that slow down the sales process and limit growth. It’s about using the existing data and intel effectively. It’s about interacting with your customers on their terms. And it’s about using technology to tie it all together.

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