Published by : Frederic Lucas
Sales transformation is more than a trend or a buzzword, it is an inevitable shift dictated by the conditions of the economy, changes in behaviors, and expectations. Sales have changed much more in the last 5 years than in the previous 25 years!
Among the conditions that require companies to transform themselves is the predominance of the web and the access to information everywhere and at all times.
Today, sales reps no longer hold the information that decision-makers are looking for and that is why we are contacting them much later in the buying process. Comparing different suppliers has become child's play and competition is now worldwide for many products and services.
1. The rep of the future is consultative
I refer to the representative of the future in the title to match the expression used by some clients, but the type of representative that will be the norm tomorrow has already begun to emerge over the past several years.
At the moment, some executives perceive this need to move towards a consultative approach to sales. However, what leads them to this deduction is more related to having a broader range of products or services to sell, than to changes in the economy and customer behaviour. However, the expansion or change of product ranges is often driven by market conditions.
Finally, regardless of the reason that leads to changing the vision of business leaders, there is a strong belief that the transactional sales model is on the decline and needs to be replaced by consultative selling to increase sales performance and generate more revenue.
2. Ability to generate new opportunities
One of the elements that has changed a lot in sales in recent years is how to generate new sales opportunities.
Push approaches, i.e. where the sales rep will directly solicit prospects by interrupting them, have lost a lot of their effectiveness over the past 5 years. Nevertheless, you must maintain a proportion of traditional prospecting activities as long as you do not generate enough sales opportunities with other methods.
Prospects no longer pick up the phone, they no longer open all emails... Like you, they are too busy to pay attention to solicitations.
Today, the most effective methods to generate opportunities offer buyers control over interactions. Logically, for potential customers to be able to interact with your sales team and your brand, you must be present where prospects are looking for solutions to their problems.
To make this transition and adapt, it is essential to take the following actions:
- Work with marketing and break silos to provide a better customer experience
- Representatives must show their expertise by being active on the company's blog and social networks
- Be willing to share knowledge and expertise to become visible to prospects
3. The new sales force structure: the great migration
As mentioned above, decision-makers no longer use the same communication tools as in the 1990s or early 2000s. Globally, communications and relationships have been virtualized.
Given these transformations in the way professional relationships are developed and nurtured, the very structure of the sales force must change as well as processes, tools and in the roles of the representatives.
Today, keeping the majority of representatives on the road (external sales representatives) is a major source of inefficiency for sales organizations. The internal migration of part of the sales teams is a necessary answer to current conditions and has several advantages for companies:
- Decrease in cost of sales
- Ability to manage a greater volume of opportunities and therefore to grow without adding representatives as quickly as in an external sales model
- Better adaptability to customer expectations
- Management of more complex sales
This transformation requires a major shift in the definition of the role of representative with a new arsenal of skills required to be effective.
4. Internal transformation linked to the company's growth
This fourth transformation is not driven by external conditions, but by the company's internal development and maturity.
The growth of a company is almost systematically marked by plateaus that will arrive at different times. Concretely, these plateaus are reached at a moment when companies need to put more structure in place whether it is for production, operations or sales. As a company grows, so does the level of complexity.
If we are only talking about sales, it is essential to provide structure as soon as possible to be able to grow the organization by minimizing growth stages. This transformation is difficult to achieve due to the lack of attention traditionally devoted to structure and processes within the sales department.