There was a time when deals were closed with putter in hand on the golf course. Today, thanks to the rise of inside sales, reps are abandoning green-side meetings and choosing to interact with their prospects and customers remotely.
Tony Rodoni, EVP of Commercial Sales and Market Readiness at Salesforce, an XANT strategic ISV partner, spoke at Accelerate 16 on the changing nature of sales and how companies need to adjust in today’s market to better meet the needs of customers.
Today is the age of the customer. Buyers are better informed than ever before and choosing to engage with sales reps later on in the sales cycle. Buyers now prefer to do their own research before interacting with sellers.
As a result, organizations themselves need to be less focused on early cycle engagement, and better prepared for the later end of the sales process.
In order to do that, Tony made three recommendations for thriving in this modern sales era:
Act like a marketer
Some of the industry’s best sales people act like marketers. Given how much later customers want to interact with sellers, nurturing is fast becoming a key tactic in the sales cycle. Reps who can do it properly, instead of relying on marketing, will be able to better understand customer needs, build trust and engage at just the right moment.
Tony encourages reps to be familiar with creating content for the middle part of the funnel to increase conversion.
Minor in data science
Everyone needs to get to know data. It should almost be a second language for sales professionals.
In order to stay ahead of the competition, reps need to think like a data scientist and:
- never stop questioning
- get comfortable with analytics tools
- learn how to improve results
Having a more intimate understand of sales data will help sales reps work with analysts and become better sales leaders. Both sales teams and customers alike can be overwhelmed with all the data at their disposal, so those who know precisely what they need and how to use it will have a significant competitive advantage.
Remember to harness data in order to improve sales efficiency and invest in capabilities that deliver guidance and insight.
Deliver great customer experience
Because customers are coming to you later, as a sales rep you need to don the role of a consultant and own the sales cycle.
Too much of the sales process is treated like a transaction because we’ve put so much emphasis on things like comp plans and quotas, instead of building relationships and prioritizing customer success. Tony stressed that if reps focus more on customer success, their quota will take care of itself.
To get into the right mindset, Tony suggested a simple exercise.
Ask yourself what your customers would say about you. Now, consider what you’d like them to say about you. What do you have to do in order to earn these customer endorsements and approvals?
The modern sales environment is changing, but if you follow these simple steps, not only will you survive, you’ll thrive.
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