How has the sales process changed over time?
Let's face it, the sales process has changed a lot. Most of these major changes to the industry have happened only recently in the last 3-5 years. How has your business had to adapt in order to meet sales? Has your business been around long enough to live through these changes?
It has been changing since last15 years after introducing coputers huge application world wide. Many material are getting cheap coparatively with softwares. It s whole matter of globalization. Its impact something new way to practice business in logical way. Each time new strategies.Customers are more informative and taking lots of time to agree.
Before becoming a full-time developer, I was Sales Associate and Assistant Manager at Radio Shack and did pretty well back in the early 1990's. Got a plaque and everything.
We were basically trained to engage in "Consultative Selling" then use a set of strategies to "Overcome Objections".
Now, when I am being sold to, it feels like I am being conned.
For example, my mortgage servicer called and offered to refinance my house at 1/2% lower interest rate which would reduce my monthly payment by $90.00 per month, all at no cost to me, with no increase to my principal, no fees, no closing costs, etc. "Just to keep me as a customer".
I pointed out that this would be a very bad deal for me. I would be throwing away 10 years of interest payments and restarting the clock on my mortgage. Because of the way amortization works, the early payments primarily go toward interest with little reduction of principal.
He couldn't understand or just refused to acknowledge the math and I had to hang up.
Great question.And great answers. Customers nowadays are different than before in many ways:
- They are more informed. All info are on Google
- They are much more demanding
- They have high expectations: quality, delivery, after sales service
- They have tighter budgets
In my selling training I use the concept of "Change and Control". Simply people don't change unless they lose control, customers included. This paves the way to using the GAP model in selling. Understand where customers are, where they want to be and show them the gap. Then position you offer as the best bridge considering the above factors.
Consumer habits and attitudes certainly change and so too does technology but what doesn't change is human nature, it only evolves minimally. You adapt to changes in habits and attitudes and utilize technology but fundamentally understanding human nature is the key to sales now, then and always. One change I have added to the sales process I teach is not to limit the "pursuit of pain" to motivate sales. Today I teach a "3 Agreements" process that pursues pain or opportunity after mining for where the greater consequence. So technique changes but the art of listening, making the intellectual emotional and learning how to close is as old as the first good sold for the first coin.
Each business is indeed different, but there is absolutely no question that the sales process has changed over the last several years.
Ironically, one of my best videos was entitled "Everything You Think You Know About Generating Leads and Growing Your Business... Has Changed". It's an excellent piece, if I do say so myself, and can be viewed for free by going to this link: http://bit.ly/1PCw8pd
You'll be glad you watched it!
Traditional advertising, marketing and sales worked in a Push fashion. Blast the planet with ads and sic the dogs of war upon them. Massive ads, television, radio, newspapers, you name it. The mass message went out to everyone, and sales people were expected to hunt and gather.
Now, marketing and advertising are completely different. Rather than Push, we use an attraction method(s). The customer is clearly in charge, and they by and large perform their own research prior to even contacting the company they feel would serve them best.
Hi Grant, The sales process has changed dramatically in the last 5 year or so. In the B2B world most buyers are much more educated and informed thanks to the internet. Gone are the days when a smile and a pleasant personality were enough to make your number. These days to succeed you need to be very informed not just on your product or service but on the competitors offerings as well. You need industry knowledge and should have a deep understanding of your prospect or client's business. Without all those things you are just another person on the phone or knocking on their door. Todays's buyers are busy and time is a luxury you need to give them a compelling reason to want to speak or meet with you. This is just the first step.
I think it depends on strength of your business , credibility of your business in market , ability to face competitors , other wise you have to make some changes in order to suit market changes .
I can only answer from the "Big-ticket, B2B, complex sales" perspective.
So, okay, let's get this straight at the start. The sales process follows the customer's buying process. Therfore, the real question is "How has the buying process changed over time?" The answer has a couple of components. First, there is so much more information out there now that the prospect comes to you very well prepared with the facts. They may have the facts wrong, and frequently do. So, the sales process that used to be a lot about educating the prospect about our solution and the problems it solves has changed because the seller must now be the expert on how the product or service can help the prospect with their problem. It's pretty easy to understand the features and functions of a product but very difficult sometimes to understand just how those things go to solving the problem.
Equally important is that over the past 20-yrs the authority to buy has gone up the chain of command. In the mid-90s as a sales VP I had authority to spend $25k without asking anyone. That was a lot of money twenty years ago. In 2016, I don't know a lot of sales VPs who have that authority. Because of this, the buying process has gotten a lot more complex/
Well, this could go on for a While. I would first of all revise your question a little: "How have the Selling AND Buying Processes Changed?" If you have updated your view to think that your are selling to a Much more Educated Buyer now, that is a mistake.
Buyers are Smarter, and Sales People Have to be Better. In Prior times it was "Always Be Closing." Now, it is is "Always Be Learning." The Best Learners who can adapt faster are the Survivors in the era of Massive Change.
Understand not just the Basic Selling Issues: Budget/Access to Power/Timeframe, etc, are important. More Important is understanding the Nature of Importance and Urgency and where it came from? Why now, why not last year, why not next year?
The Argument can be made that this is not new, but the difference is that the Sales Pros, Execute at a Noticeable level of Proficiency that is much greater than it was.
And it does matter what you sell - Product or Services - the Game Changes faster and faster, Day by Day- when in doubt, Learn some more! - and ready my Blog :) www.dailysalesthoughts.com
Great question! I've been in sales since I was 14 and currently help companies change the way they look at sales and device a complete strategy from scratch to bring about change in the way they prospect and approach their target audience and convert them. In my experience, processes completely depend on the industry. While for some traditional brick and mortar methods work really well in sales, other fast-evolving industries with a huge number of competitors within the same industry need radical and new approaches to sales and their overall process.
This is achieved by focusing on research, understanding challenges and addressing them through personalization. Traditional methods of script based cold calling or email do not work anymore. Even sales people who've used LinkedIn about 3 years ago can no longer directly prospect with potential buyers, there are way too many restrictions from LinkedIn and new members very well know that LinkedIn has become sales and spamming tool.
At The Smarketers www(dot)thesmarketers(dot)com, we majorly work with B2B organizations and see that the sales process is majorly defined by company management who have very little to no knowledge of the sales process, hence get stuck to age-old methods they've gotten used to and haven't evolved over time. The unfortunate situation is that many companies focus on the wrong audience and the wrong industry to go after and not bank on their strengths to bring clients that fit into their core expertise. Solutioning, personalization, ability to recommend solutions that solve challenges is what is needed by current salespeople and sales organizations to succeed in the competitive marketplace.
One of the most important aspects for sales success is sales-marketing alignment. Buyers are well informed, there is wealth of information available on the web and only companies that provide valuable and useful content for buyers show up in search results and receive inquiries. These inquiries can be qualified by sales people and sales cycles will be much shorter. Setting up clear SLA's between sales and marketing to meet common goals and driving content marketing and promotions towards achieving the goal is very much needed.
Personally, I have been in sales for nearly three decades, and I just don't see how sales processes have changed. Sure, sales people have access to a greater choice of means to obtain information, connect with people and generate leads, but processes are the same. And sure CRM software (when used properly) allow to monitor activity in real-time.
Nonetheless, the sales function itself hasn't changed much in companies. Sales people are hired to create opportunities and close them.
What has changed is not process; it's impatience. The world is a much smaller place and competition of any nature comes from anywhere. For this reason, sales people are under even more pressure.
What has also changed is marketing, but it has little effect on sales processes themselves.
I am sure for some the changes that have occurred have made it more difficult. Brick and mortar stores for one thing seem to have trouble competing against online retailers.
For us the changes have been all positive. A decade ago I was spending $ 120,00.00 on print advertising, I was doing 25 trade shows a year and had three salesmen running around the country doing demos.
Now I spend about $ 15,000.00 a year on print advertising, we do 5 trade shows and have no one running around the country doing demos. We have two salespeople who just answer phone calls. Our machines are demonstrated on YouTube videos only. Our web sites generate our prospects so we have been able to cut back on print advertising with no loss of sales.
I would say the other thing that has affected sales is the popularity of CRM programs which seem to be very popular.