The Future of Sales: Supporting a Fairer, More Sustainable World

Have you ever been to a crowded buffet at an “all inclusive hotel” and been overwhelmed by the experience?

Between the people jumping in and out of lines and the extensive number of low quality options, the meal just doesn’t live up to what you expected.

Today’s sales and marketing really isn’t much different. The ocean of emails and barrage of phone calls – not to mention the junk mail – all contribute to an impersonal and overwhelming sales experience.

One reason for this is that sales tools and automation capabilities are more advanced than ever before.

And with advancement, comes confusion. The graphic below from Smart Selling Tools illustrate how crowded the SaaS sales and marketing landscape has become.

We need a new approach to sales

To mitigate the risk of failed purchases, companies have increased the number of stakeholders involved in their buying decisions. The diversity of responsibilities, points of view and authority among these individual buyers creates conflict and buying dysfunction.

“Change before you have to” – Jack Welch

CEB conducted a survey of 3,000 customer stakeholders involved in B2B purchases. They found that going from one to two decision makers dramatically drops purchase likelihood from 81 to 55 percent (a 26% cliff). When six people are involved, purchase likelihood drops even lower—into the mid 30s. Yet, eliminating certain decision makers from the buying process puts a successful implementation at risk. All the stakeholders must buy into the new solution along the way.

In this multi-stakeholder buying environment, often the only things a buying committee can agree on are to minimize risk, avoid disruption of the status quo, and save money. Consequently, suppliers often find themselves competing on price. This is true even for suppliers who’ve clearly communicated the premium value proposition of their solutions. “Good enough” drives margins down.

Procurement of the future will not be about purchasing. It will be about supply, risk, and brand. Sales organizations needs to understand this to become excellent in helping companies to invest and buy.

Going forward we need a sales philosophy that supports a fairer, more sustainable and prosperous world. Far from the intrusive sales cultures of the 20th century, the 21st century offers other ways of engaging and working collaboratively with customers, suppliers and each other.

The short term thinking needs to be evaluated and challenged. Companies need to be more long-term focused in their planning and strategies because the long-term approach is far more sustainable and profitable.

Account-based sales becomes the norm

Aligning sales, marketing and account management is no longer recommended, but demanded.

Organizations must ensure that teams are in sync with their counterparts.

During the last couple of years, account-based marketing has been in the spotlight. And now, it’s time for account-based sales to enter the center stage With modern technology, identifying highly defined ideal customer profiles is easier than ever before and sales leaders should make the most out of this.

Account-based selling is a multi-touch, multi-channel strategy coordinated across the entire company to pursue a target number of high-value accounts.

We will now see sales and marketing teams start approaching these most wanted accounts in creative ways. Emails and ads are more personalized, and more scalable content creation processes allow salespeople to target new accounts with value-added content from day one.

The winning companies will also put simplicity at the heart of their sales and marketing processes. They will focus on executing well defined sales playbooks with a deep understanding of the industry and the customer at its core.

 

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