It’s no secret the customer buying experience has changed the relationship between consumers and businesses. In fact, many sales organizations have become irrelevant to today’s buyers. Consumers are more empowered with their own data and research and they are coming to sales organizations with the solutions vs. coming for the solutions. At an Atlanta Sales Leadership Community event we talked to executives from Cox Communications, Kaiser Permanente, and Georgia Pacific about how this impact has affected their companies.
Here are some initiatives your sales organization should implement to meet the demands of the customer buying experience:
Think like the consumer
Today’s customers don’t want to hear complex and prewritten scripts about product features. They are interested in simplicity and value creation. They have too many choices in buying and are seeking sales professionals to limit this stress by establishing a value-based relationship; where the salesperson acts as a consultant and advises as an expert on the customer’s business. Identifying areas of waste and opportunities for savings for the customer are ultimately ways to drive profitability for them.
Mike Hayes, (Senior VP, Sales and Sales Strategy, Georgia Pacific), mentioned at the Atlanta Sales Leadership Community event that in order to achieve long-term success sales reps have to “be in the mind of the consumer and understand what the customer desires”. Doing this will help you anticipate their needs and be a more trusted consultant.
Build digital capability
Consumers are only one click away from the product or service you provide- as well as those of your competition (& don’t take that lightly). The digital experience is the new platform for customers. They want to be able to access and connect with businesses online through their laptops, tablets and smartphones. However, leaving your digital capability purely up to IT is not enough to make an impactful digital transformation. Skills in social media technologies and apps are essential in targeting your dream client.
Jennifer Garrett, (Senior VP, National Sales, Cox Communication), advised sales professionals at an Atlanta Sales Leadership Community event to look at the new digital channels as enablers. There are now more ways than ever to reach consumers through digital capabilities. This wave of opportunity also allows for more competition, which means that companies have to invest and nurture digital relationships and capabilities that meet the expectations of the customer buying experience. Sales professionals have to invest in skill sets that will take them into the future, and doing so requires business acumen around the digital space.
Knowing and properly leveraging the resources of your sales organization can save you time and effort that you can allocate to sales activities that directly create value. Internally this means strategically using the tools available at your sales organization such as the marketing department, executive team or other sales professionals to gain data and leads on prospects and target clients. Externally, developing corporate to corporate relationships and targeting partnerships with businesses that already have those relationships you want to build can lead to additional sales without the extra labor. Sales professionals can maximize results with minimum effort through strategic leveraging.
Companies have to be willing to adapt to the changes in customer buying behavior to remain competitive and relevant in the market. A large part of these changes surround the use of technology and arming your sales team with the skills to perform well.
- Thinking about the three initiatives your company should employ, how would you rate yourself on a scale from 1-10?
If your sales team is being challenged by the adaptation of these changes, we can help.
If you want to hear the full dialogue, including comments from Jim Cullinan of Kaiser Permanente, you can listen and download here. Also, contact us at info@SoarPerformanceGroup.com or visit us online at SoarPerformanceGroup.com to learn how we have helped sales organizations ascend to new heights of sales performance and solutions we offer that will help your sales team get on track for success.