Entrepreneurs, small business owners, even freelancers – anybody who is managing a business today, whether big or small, needs to get up to speed on the evolving sales environment. The last couple of years has created massive changes in social interaction and buyer behaviour and that, along with a rash of new technologies, means anybody involved in sales needs to leverage the digital-first world that buyers prefer.
We take a look at how sales are changing and how businesses can adapt and pivot to a new hybrid and high-impact sales model.
Embracing digital transformation in sales
According to Salesforce, two-thirds of sales reps spend their time on administrative data – time they could be spending talking to prospects. The solution is to prepare those in sales to leverage the digital-first world that B2B buyers and customers are gravitating towards. This entails embracing digital sales transformation – the process of integrating digital technologies into all aspects of a company’s sales operations. It’s a cultural shift that relies on a number of factors: understanding digital customer buying behaviour, reallocating sales resources, automating sales workflows, and becoming data-driven to better understand customers’ problems, trends and needs.
The benefits of embracing digital sales transformation to enable high-impact sales are:
- Increased productivity
- Improved customer experiences
- Stronger resource management
- Increased revenue
From traditional sales to hybrid sellers
A McKinsey & Co. report on how the pandemic permanently reshaped the role of the B2B sales rep found that two out of three B2B buyers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service. They also found that 85% of B2B organisations expect hybrid reps (who provide more remote interaction than in-person) to be the most common sales role and that 64% of B2Bs plan to increase their number of hybrid sellers in the near future. Underscoring this is research by Gartner that estimates that by 2025, 80% of all B2B sales interactions will take place via digital channels.
So, how can salespeople adapt? McKinsey suggests
- Focus on delivery of the three things buyers value most: speed, transparency and expertise.
- Optimise e-commerce channels to ensure all are integrated and incentivised to collaborate with each other.
- Address buyer frustrations, such as struggling to find products, long ordering process and technical glitches.
- Ensure human interaction where customers need it most, whether for field sales or internal sales.
- Employ digital-enablement experts to help sales reps migrate from face-to-face sellers to using digital channels.
- Remap customer decision journeys to capture changes and use these insights to adjust your go-to-market model.
Why entrepreneurs need high-impact sales skills
Business owners often avoid the sales side of their business because they lack the skills, such as prospecting and negotiating – so they hire a person or teams to do it for them. However, learning sales is an important skill set (yes, anybody can learn how to be a top salesperson) and is important to ensure a business’ sustainability and success.
In traditional sales, the focus is on closing sales, which often creates a transactional, even adversarial relationship. In a high-impact sales approach, the salesperson is put in a leadership role and creates mutual benefit for both parties by integrating their sales strategy with the natural buyer’s journey – instead of trying to work against it.
A high-impact sales skill set provides opportunities to validate the business model and refine and improve the product or service, giving businesses traction and momentum. Sales are not solely about an individual technique; it’s a process (just like production, finance or development). It helps leaders refine what suits their business best. Through this process, they get to know their business inside and out and determine where to focus for growth and where future revenues will come from. There’s no better training to teach business owners how to pitch their company to investors, partners and customers than learning the fundamentals of high-impact sales.
Finally, when business owners allow other people to take ownership of sales leadership, their knowledge isn’t being transferred to the company (they take it with them when they leave). By making sales a personal core competency, business leaders ensure they own a fundamental part of their company’s structure. But where can you start?
Learn the sales skills you need right now
MasterStart is excited to offer an industry-leading Digital Sales Management course that is geared towards individuals who are new to sales, existing sales professionals who want to gain a new understanding of digital platforms and tools involved in the sales process, as well as business owners who want to attract new customers, partners and investors. In just seven weeks, we help you pivot from traditional sales practices to a tech-driven hybrid and remote selling sales approach that is aimed at developing a high-impact, customer-centric sales culture suited to today’s dynamic business environment.