Authored by Satish Kumar, CSO
It is now part of sales folklore that every sales person worth his salt must have watched the epic movie Glengarry Glen Ross and the epic scene where Alec Baldwin drives home the principles of successful sales:
has revolutionized businesses and the way business is done. Market has gone online and brick and mortar shops have become a thing of the past, people can sell virtually from anywhere to anyone globally.
The world has indeed become flat!
But what happened to sales? Has it changed much? Has technology really revolutionized how effective salespeople work? Modern technology may be aiding the reach-ability part, but you will be surprised to know that the success sauce for effective selling remains the same old grind of prospecting, cold calling, creating a value proposition and closing.
It is still about people and to a great extent the fact that – “People buy from People”is still true and relevant in today’s world of “everything’s connected”.
Despite the surging technology intervention in everything around us, people still want to talk about what they want and be listened. This is great news to conventional salespeople because their cold calling would definitely be worthy with at least this bunch of customers. And what’s more surprising is the fact that “92% of all customer interactions happen on the phone”as perSalesforce. Further, this finding by DiscoverOrg during a survey on 1000 IT decision-makers that “75% of surveyed executives are willing to make an appointment or attend an event based on a cold call or email alone” reaffirms the fact that the conventional sales method of cold calling still remains a champion. So where has technology intervened and reinvented selling? Well, thanks to data mining and analytics tools, you now have a list of richer leads that may respond more positively than earlier.
Customers need help, that small nudge in making up their minds before making a selection. While the internet can provide complete intricate details of the product or service and competitive comparisons they still do not fulfill the need for personal interaction and assurance. With the right intervention and relationship, sales personnel can establish a longer term strategic partnership than just a transactional sale.
Most of the selling literature published online are generic and have little customization. As earlier, people are still ready to pay premium for quality products that suit their specific purpose. So while discounts and offers may help the lower economies, for premium products, customization and quality are the two important decisive factors. So it is still important to understand your customer’s needs and then recommend the right product for them.
No matter how good or bad the initial interaction went, keep following up for a positive result. According to Scripted and Telenet and Ovation Sales Group, it takes anywhere from 5 to 8 follow-up calls to reach a prospect and make a sale.
Where technology can seriously help is in understanding human behaviour with data analytics and providing in-depth insights to the salespeople before they cold-call customers. According to InsideSales, “If you call a lead in the first 5 minutes after they've submitted a web form, they're 100x more likely to get on the phone.” That’s another way technology intervention can help core salespeople. Apart from theses, analysing sales data and preparing data-based sales strategies will also help boost sales.
Giving a human touch to sales still remains the most important aspect as far as prospects & customers are concerned. What technology can do is to prepare the salespeople better based on the information gathered from social media and CRM so that human touch reaches the right leads at the right time.