In the past five to ten years the sales environment has shifted, and as a result of today's connected economy become increasingly complex. According to the Corporate Executive Board (2014) the modern buyer completes up to 60% of the buying process, and expects to engage quickly with a salesperson who can demonstrate in-depth product and industry knowledge.
Scott Sambucci presented a seminar for Tedx on The Shifted Sales Environment. So today we are going to talk you through our key takeaways, on how has the sales environment has shifted over the years to be where it is today.
Sambucci takes selling back to the time where the digital revolution emerged and traditional sales methodologies started to lose effectiveness. With the introduction of the internet buyers are now able to complete thorough research before contacting a salesperson. Thus salespeople have found the breadth of information they are required to know has broadened, there is now a whole other layer of complexity to selling. Buyers are no longer hooked into making a purchase decision by a salesperson pitching a list of product and service specifications. Buyer’s now expect salespeople to have in-depth product and industry knowledge, enter the sales engineer.
Sales engineers as Sambucci points out are the salespeople that no longer tell their story and pitch products and services to buyers. The most talented sales engineers build a framework to get buyers to tell their story, so any gaps in their current business practices can be uncovered. Thus a buyer’s beliefs about theses practices can be challenged and the need for a solution using their products and services can be presented.
The value of a sale is not just seen in the product or service itself, it is now about the overall, long-term value that will be gained. Thus the implementation process is a strong contributing factor to purchase decisions. Selling to buyers during a sales meeting and getting them onboard is great, but these buyers are not always the decision makers. Following the initial sales conversations, salespeople need to get top level management and the entire team on board with this new product or service. Salespeople have become responsible for removing any roadblocks and hurdles during the implementation process, to ensure seamless integration with an organization’s current business practices.
Sambucci presents his thoughts that the reason the sales environment is shifting is because we are seeing a convergence because of a divergence. Convergence is the amount of information and the type of information that is required. The knowledge base of the salesperson is converging, for salespeople it’s not just about being able to talk and achieve a quick win, it’s about being able to talk intelligently to build that framework to get that customer to tell their story, so you can solve their real problem It is this convergence of information that is necessary for a salesperson to be successful.
But it is also a divergence, because we want to be able to be highly customizable so that the salesperson becomes a key part of the buying experience, and a key collaborator with the customer so they are so intertwined. Closing the seminar with a quote from Steve Jobs, “You’ve got to start with a customer experience and work backwards towards the technology, and not the other way round” that is where the sales environment is today.
So there you have it our key takeaways from Scott Sambucci’s The Shifted Sales Environment Seminar. If you would like to watch the full Tedx Talk you can check it out here.
If you would like to check out more of our key takeaways and predictions for the future of sales, check out the latest posts on Qotients Sales & Technology Blog here.
Corporate Executive Board. (2014). The Two Qualities Your Content Marketing Needs. Retrieved from https://www.cebglobal.com/blogs/the-two-qualities-your-content-marketing-needs/?business_line=marketing-communications
TEDx. (2012). Scott Sambucci - The Shifted Sales Environment [Video File] Retrieved from http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxHultBusinessSchoolSF-Scott;search%3Asales