In our current times, buyers are in charge.
Google is our first stop during any shopping trip. We check out a company’s site, blog, and YouTube channel before considering doing business with them. We fire up LinkedIn an hour before an initial business meeting. We check out the CEO’s Twitter feed to see what they are up too.
Many companies sell like it's 1999
For decades and centuries even, selling has been about pushing a product or service at people and attempting to get their attention.
Traditionally, selling has been conducted on the seller’s timetable. Companies had sales campaigns, staged sales “events” when products were offered at a discount and salespeople had quotas tied to the end of the month or end of the quarter.
Do you see the pattern? All of these reasons to sell are company focused, not buyer focused.
Traditional sales force automation and customer relationship management systems make things worse
The CRM and SFA software used in many companies are flawed due to the algorithms they are built on that still reflect the old paradigm in which the salesperson initiates the action.
These software systems were developed in the era of traditional selling when salespeople made cold calls and followed up on sales leads. These systems use outdated sales technologies that surface “opportunities” based on some time-based formula.
Today, if I show interest in purchasing something, I travel to dozens of websites and do considerable research. Eventually, at some point, when I’ve built up my body of knowledge, I reach out, typically electronically, and tell the company that I’m ready to take the next step. The old CRM systems don’t manage this process well. CRM, as it exists today, wasn’t designed and built for the world in which the buyer is in charge.
Be Buyer Focused
The idea of mystery in the sales process is over. Today, successful selling is best when conducted as a real-time function than one that you plan in advance.
Successful salespeople and the companies that employ them understand that when a buyer is ready, that is the time to engage. It’s much better to watch what buyers are doing on your website and social networks.
Did they just visit a page on your site? Which one? Did they download something?
How quickly are you responding to inquiries? It should be in minutes, not days.
What are buyers saying on social networks? Can you answer a question?
What’s happening in the news and your marketplace?
You will be more effective by paying attention to buying signals than by aggressively selling. By living in real-time, you're selling is perfectly aligned with the moment when buyers are ready.
About the Author:
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.