Empower Your Sales Team: 6 Strategies for Success in Modern Sales

Sales have come a long way since the invention of the marketplace. At one time, the most successful salespeople were confident, persuasive speakers who held all the information customers needed to make a purchase. It was a seller’s market, and sales reps and managers had the advantage. But in today’s modern sales era, information is more widespread. Salespeople have taken a back seat to online research.

Let’s say you’re in the market for home improvement tools. This once meant a trip to the neighborhood general store and settling for whatever was in stock. But today’s shoppers turn to the internet first, where they can find online price guides, product reviews and a wide range of eCommerce stores to serve their every need.

In this guide, we’ll look at how the sales process has evolved over the years. We’ll also share six strategies to help you find success in this new, modern sales landscape.

Modern sales person
Source: Shutterstock

Whats Changed Between Then and Now?

The internet may have freed up information, but other factors also led to the shift from traditional selling to modern sales. Before, sales reps focused on a much simpler task: selling the product. Companies would carve out sales territories and deploy their reps to prospect the local population.

In between, sales teams would attend networking events, drop in on leads and take in orders. Sales was king, and a company’s business model was to provide everything its sales reps needed to close the deal. Then, it was off to the next prospective customer. Rinse and repeat.

Unfortunately, some of these older sales tactics have lost their novelty over the years. Today’s buyers don’t want to buy products and services. Instead, they want solutions to their problems.

Buyers have stopped making decisions based on how they like the sales agent. Many also prefer the range of choices that are available for virtually everything. Rather than relying on sellers to provide information, buyers look around and check other sellers for a better deal. It’s now a buyer’s market.

For Modern Sales, Information Is King

Sales teams are no longer the gatekeepers of product information. With the internet, users have industry, company, brand and product details at their fingertips.

For instance, those looking for cheap insurance can simply search online market monitors to find the best coverage and cheapest rates. Customers in the market for a new car can instantly compare brands and models on specific parameters such as cost, mileage and trunk space.

All the relevant information is on the internet, just waiting for customers to find it. Even if customers need something from a sales rep, they can receive it instantly via email or text. Regardless, with such readily available information, customers no longer have to wait for the sales rep to visit. They can choose a product, make the purchase and move on.    

Increased Touchpoints

Sales reps were once the sole point of contact, especially for large, B2B purchases. But modern sales offers more than one way to learn about a product and complete the sales journey.

If a sales rep isn’t available, buyers can send an email, message with a chatbot or talk to a customer service agent. They can also visit the brand website, leaf through brochures and blog articles, watch video reviews or testimonials and check social posts for trends. In short, customers can now find information on any channel they prefer or use regularly.

Social media and modern sales
Source: Shutterstock

The Role of Social Media

As technology has improved, sales posters and marketing mailers have given way to video ads, web pages and email newsletters. Customers looking for solutions to their problems have an easier time thanks to the rise of social media.

Companies and brands now have particular channels where they can promote their products, share user experiences or simply hang out with followers. Everyone with a smart device and an internet connection can follow, view and engage with these brands’ posts.

Everything Is Digital in Modern Sales

Along with social media have come online shops. Most brands have launched digital stores that exclusively feature their products and services.

At the same time, online retailers have created eCommerce selling platforms to showcase products from various manufacturers. Digital assistants and chatbots have replaced sales representatives and help buyers navigate the site and start the sales process.

Note, however, that the rise of eCommerce sites hasn’t made physical stores obsolete. Instead, online sites help brands access previously untapped markets and locations.      

Selling Products vs Selling Experiences

Sales reps once focused on closing the deal and moving on to the next target. Everything hinged on the salesperson’s ability to convince customers to buy something. But in the internet age, buyers now look for solutions to their problems, not specific products.

Along the way, digital marketers have brought the buying process into the whole sales experience. From browsing and buying to checking out, delivery and after-sales, sellers want to make sure that customers enjoy the entire sales journey.      

Sales and Marketing Alignment in Modern Sales

Even before the rise of digital sales, marketing and sales teams enjoyed a cordial working relationship. Marketing develops programs and campaigns to drum up sales. The basis for these activities come from sales experiences in the field.

But when sales activities moved online, the sales and marketing alliance evolved to become stronger.  Thanks to modern technology, sales and marketing teams have joint access to sales and customer data to create better programs and experiences. Think personalized messaging and customized product recommendations.

Best Practices for Success in Modern Sales

To succeed in modern sales, you must use modern sales methods. This is especially true in a post-COVID-19 world. The current generation of buyers are digital natives. At an early age, this generation learned how to connect to the internet, operate a touchscreen and navigate a sales website.

What’s more, today’s buyers are more comfortable conducting their own research before reaching out to a seller. Online meetings and video conferencing sessions are now highly acceptable ways to communicate and align. Finally, modern buyers are fine with the entire sales journey being a purely digital adventure.

For sellers, a digital-first mindset is critical. But modern sales teams should also adopt these six sales strategies:

1. Keep Sales and Marketing Aligned

Mechanics know that when a machine’s connected parts work well together, it performs better. The same is true with organizations.

The sales team brings in the revenue. At the same time, marketing programs should fit with sales efforts for an integrated and consistent approach to winning and retaining customers. Other departments such as finance, customer service, logistics and human resources all help to create a smooth working environment where things get done.  

Aligning sales and marketing efforts is especially crucial to achieve company success. In fact, a seamless combination of sales and marketing can increase revenue by 32%, retain 36% more customers and accomplish 38% more win rates. More importantly, neglecting to align sales and marketing will only set back a company’s efforts. Misalignment between the two groups can waste 75% of marketing leads and 70% of a company’s resources.

2. Embrace Rising Tech

Administrative work can take a lot of time from a salesperson’s working hours. Every week, reps need to post their meeting schedules. They must also file sales reports, update the sales pipeline status and liquidate their expenses.

Then, there are tasks like qualifying leads and research that, while productive, take away valuable face time with clients and prospects. In fact, the typical sales rep only spends 36% of their working time meeting clients. The rest go to tasks such as admin, prospecting and research.  

Today’s modern tech tools help salespeople accomplish their office tasks faster and more efficiently. Cloud-based software like customer relationship management (CRM) systems, sales management platforms and content management systems (CMS) give them access to real-time stock inventory reports, client profiles and sales materials—even when they’re out on the road.

Other platforms automate tasks such as logging in their time and location, updating calendars and sending scheduled messages. This convenience enables salespeople to free up their work time and do what they do best: sell.

Modern sales man
Source: Shutterstock

3. Don’t Forget About Tradition

Not all traditional sales strategies belong in the archives. Many traits and tactics remain useful in today’s modern sales environment. Chief among these traits are presentation skills. A great salesperson knows their products inside and out and should have no problem connecting their solution to a specific client’s problem. Of course, it helps if the sales agent has the right presentation tools to get their message across.

Empathy is also a traditional quality that many salespeople still practice today. Despite the flood of tech advances and automated tasks, engaging with clients remains the best way to understand their specific needs.

Specifically, empathy allows sales reps to listen and relate to how frustrating their customers’ challenges can be. It also prevents agents from pushing products and services that customers have no use for. If nothing else, a sensitive salesperson respects the client’s time and shares complete information so they can make a decision.  

4. Always Keep Your Customers in Mind

When you’re overwhelmed with work, do you prioritize existing customers or go out of your way to cultivate new ones? While you can’t go wrong catering to your clients, it pays to have a system that identifies what your customers need at any given time. Track your customers and keep tabs on their status to prioritize your sales activities. Knowing where your customers are in the sales pipeline can help you plan your days better.

For example, while leads and prospects need immediate attention, they also need time to go over your company, track record and solutions. But a client on the verge of decision-making might urgently need supporting data and materials to help them decide. Then again, existing customers always appreciate their sales agent occasionally checking in to see if everything’s okay.  

5. Invest in Your Team

It’s critical to give your team the resources it needs to get the job done. In this case, salespeople need the right tools and training to handle diverse client requirements. Thankfully, modern sales tools are able to maximize the work that employees can complete every day.

For instance, productivity apps update schedules and monitor timelines. Sales management software tracks sales activities and keeps an eye on performance.

Teams also benefit from having sales enablement platforms and content management systems that centralize the location of all sales and marketing materials. A prominent component of a CMS is the interactive presentation software, which helps sales reps make custom pitches and proposals for busy clients.

6. Remember, Data Is Your Friend

Apart from new sales tech and tactics, modern sales also features a heightened appreciation of data. Don’t just rely on anecdotal information for a sales rep’s performance, sales feedback or product reviews. Hard data helps organizations make timely decisions.

Sales analytics software (whether standalone or integrated with sales tools) makes it easier for companies to accurately gauge their performance and identify their shortcomings. Today, a top sales performer isn’t judged solely by the number of deals closed. Measurable metrics such as sales velocity (the speed at which a prospect becomes a customer) and average purchase value (revenue brought in by a customer) help identify a sales rep’s efficiency as well.

Data also helps companies identify previously untapped markets and isolate common customer problems to boost lead generation. Having the tools to monitor and measure this information and generate insights can go a long way toward increasing a sales team’s efficiency.

Empower Your Sales Team Through Modern Sales Tech

Modern sales demands increased efforts and better efficiency from today’s salespeople. The right tools and training can be the difference between a struggling brand and a thriving company.

Ingage is cloud-based interactive presentation software that improves collaboration between sales and marketing teams. Individual team members can pitch in and work on the same document no matter where they are. Interactive features let them create detailed presentations that tell the whole story. In addition, powerful analytics features monitor the audience’s feedback on every page.

See for yourself why more than 100,000 Ingage presentations are shared every month worldwide. Sign up for a free demo today.    

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