How Dramatically Has Selling Changed?
Yesterday, I was listening to a radio promotion when they said, “Take a selfie with a standie and then, using your smartphone or tablet, upload it to Facebook, or tweet your image using hashtag [something I can’t remember].”
Now, pretend it’s 1995, and reread the quotation. Twenty years ago, would you have recognized any of the words other than “take”, “and”, “then”, “using”, “your”, “or” and “to?” In 1995, selfie, standie, smartphone, tablet, tweet, hashtag, upload, and Facebook would have had you believing that you were listening to a foreign language. That’s just one example of how dramatically some things have changed in the past 20 years.
Let’s take selling. How dramatically has that changed in 20 years?
There are some obvious changes that most people in sales will recognize, like:
- Salespeople are no longer sources of product knowledge or pricing, both of which are readily available online.
- Salespeople enter the sales cycle only to find their prospects much further along in their buying cycle.
- Salespeople utilize Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, email marketing, blogging, and the web for knowledge and to connect with prospects, before they speak for the first time.
- Personal online networks, like Facebook, Google+, and LInkedIn are exponentially larger than the physical networks of twenty years ago.
- Salespeople with transactional products and services, like tickets, travel, commodities and most retail items have found themselves being replaced by online sales.
- Many salespeople who once worked in a territory or vertical, now find themselves doing the exact same thing by phone.
- Video conferences and phone calls are replacing face-to-face visits.
- Inbound, Lead-Gen, and Appointment Setting Teams are recent additions to Inside Sales.
- Value Propositions and Added Value have given way to salespeople who must now be the value.
- A vast array of productivity tools, especially those that sync between devices, make selling not only more efficient, but more fun.
- National and global competitors are making it more difficult to win the business.
- Demos can be easily conducted online.
- There are vast amounts of free, online resources that individuals can use to improve themselves.
And then there are the changes which are not as obvious, like:
- Selling is more difficult than at any time in the past 30 years.
- Sales Cycles are getting longer.
- Win Rates are getting smaller.
- It’s more difficult than ever to reach decision makers.
- Fewer decision makers are making decisions without first getting consensus.
- A modern sales process must be both milestone-centric and customer-centric.
- Salespeople must be able to sell consultatively in order to differentiate themselves.
- The gap between elite salespeople and mediocre salespeople is growing larger.
- Companies are finally recognizing the necessity of formal, customized sales processes, integrated with their Pipeline Management Tools.
- Reliance on demos, early in the sales process, has caused some of the lowest win rates in the past 30 years.
- Salespeople are no longer the money-motivated, materialistic, greedy, self-centered jerks they used to be.
So my question is, are these changes good or bad? Have you made any or all of these changes? If you have ignored any of the changes, was it due to ignorance, discomfort, or arrogance?
What is the next change that will rock your world?