As sales technology becomes more and more prevalent in sales, the role of the salesperson is changing. With the increasing automation of manual processes, you will find that your value shifts from simply being able to close deals (which will become increasingly at the click of the button) to customer relations and customer service. If you don’t want to lose your job to a robot in the next few years, you’ll put your focus on relationships.
But this is not some earth shattering, groundbreaking proclamation. For here is what’s always been true for the best and most successful salespeople: It’s NOT about making a fast buck; it’s about building strong relationships with customers who will come back time and time again.
Here’s why relationships matter, and will always matter, in sales.
A Customer’s True Value is Only Realised Over Time
Making quota is important. You want to achieve your targets and get the commission you deserve. But making a fast buck on a so-so deal is never worth the damage it may do to not only your personal reputation, but that of your company. Think strategically and look at the big picture. While taking the time to invest in building in a mutually beneficial relationship with a prospect might seem like a lot of work, it will no doubt reap dividends in the long term. Think of it this way, wouldn’t you rather see long term recurring revenue that takes less effort to maintain in the future, than a quick buck now that you’ll never see again?
Customers Are Deeper Into the Cycle Before They Meet You
Advancements in online sales and technology mean that by time you interact with a potential customer, they are already far deeper into the sales cycle than before. They’ve likely done their research and have an idea of what they want and need. So armed with this knowledge, your job as a salesperson is that much harder. If they haven’t already purchased by the time you connect, it’s likely because they’re looking for a better deal. These savvy prospects are on guard and ready to quickly dismiss out-of-the-box solutions. If you want their business, you’re going to have to work for it with tailored solutions and building a great relationship. Your ability to communicate value and work collaboratively with them will be the defining factor.
Your Competitors are at their Fingertips (and in their inbox)
As technology makes it easier for customers to shop around, your ability to secure loyalty and retention will be what sets you apart from a machine. If a customer has a reason to be unhappy with your product or service, a meaningful conversation with (and solution from) a sales rep that they know and trust will be the thing that keeps them with your business. Customer service will be key not only for recurring revenue but also for referrals and account growth.
The Tech Backlash Has Begun
Sales technology has absolutely changed the landscape, but it certainly won’t be all plain sailing for the robots. Bots and targeted advertising may now be widespread but that doesn’t mean all your prospects are falling over themselves to buy from them. Not everyone is enamoured by the idea that their privacy and data are being monetized. As a salesperson, your ability to provide a meaningful human connection will become increasingly valued by customers and sales leaders alike. Your true strength will lie in the way you are able to utilise AI-powered data analytics and insights to build real connection and earn trust.