Welcome to Qotients three part series on the era’s of sales, where we are going take a look into the past, present and future of digital sales. Our world is constantly evolving, revolutionized by the power of digital technology. New sales tools and platforms are being launched on the market on a regular basis. Thus traditional selling approaches have become ineffective, forcing the sales industry and the role of the salesperson to adapt. Today we are going to take a trip down memory lane, to the era of traditional sales.
The Era Of Traditional Sales
In the past sales and marketing divisions became part of the silo effect, a massive cross-divisional communication and support gap. As a result vendors saw buyers slipping through the cracks. The traditional sales funnel entailed four key stages, awareness, consideration, evaluation and purchase decision (Hanington, 2015). Marketing divisions only saw their job as creating brand awareness and interest, handing buyers over to sales once qualified as a hot lead. Thus sales divisions had control of the majority of the sales funnel, moving buyer’s from the consideration stage right through to making a purchase decision (Hanington, 2015).
Sales was very much based on relationship selling, new salespeople were not only hired based on their ability to close deals but also their network base. The core idea behind hiring based on a salesperson’s network, was organization’s believed their deal rates would increase. Effectively an organizations CRM database relied on each salesperson's network. However, organizations soon started to realise this technique was overrated. The reality was many contacts in a salesperson’s network were not suited to their products and services, had changed job positions or even organizations.
Sales was solely a numbers game with no subtlety to it. A salesperson’s core focus was to move buyers through the funnel stages, close the deal and move onto the next target. Salespeople could essentially use a one size fits all sales pitch, conveying specific features and prices which would hook targets into making a purchase decision. Selling was more about providing buyers with a promise. For instance an increase in sales productivity as a result of purchase, buyers would then base their purchase decisions off these promises (TEDx Talks, 2014). But, buyers soon started to find purchases provided little or no value to their organisation. Effectively vendors did not deliver on their promises, there was no ongoing support ensuring buyers utilized products and services to their maximum potential (TEDx Talks, 2014).
Overall, as time went on traditional selling approaches started to become ineffective, technology continued to advance bringing the world into a digital revolution. Stay tuned for our next blog where we will be taking a closer look into the sales approaches of today, The Era Of The Digital Revolution.
Hanington, J,. (2015, October 7). 3 Key Predictions for the Future of Sales and Marketing Alignment. Retrieved from http://www.pardot.com/blog/3-key-predictions-for-the-future-of-sales-and-marketing-alignment/
TEDx Talks,. (2014, June 18). Sales 2020: Regis Lemmens at TEDxLiege. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYV9irrztIc