This is what happens when sales doesn’t change
Adapt or die —we have seen this consequence play out for centuries.
Now it’s time for sales to pay attention.
Old school traditional sales has outlived its usefulness.
It no longer works.
If sales is to maintain relevance in today’s world, a transformation of the way it is practiced is required.
Not just incremental change, but a completely new approach.
Blowing up the old model; building a new discipline.
This is why it’s such a big deal:
1. The drivers of customer demand have changed. What motivates a person to buy today has changed dramatically. New buying behaviour requires different sales methods.
People have unlimited choice
2. People have almost unlimited choice today from a variety of suppliers that grows daily. Fierce competition steps up the challenge to attract and keep customers. Selling the relationship with any particular organization rather than a product or service is the new mantra.
3. “Me” personal markets are replacing “many” mass markets. People want their personal desires taken care of; they are turned off by the assumption that they are like the crowd in any way.
Crowd-based messaging targeted to large market segments is returning less as a communications investment. Direct messaging to people with an understanding of their specific needs and wants, on the other hand, is the approach paying dividends.
4. Customers wield the power now; organizations no longer can dictate to the market what they get. So many choices for people reduces the power of any single organization to influence the buying decision of individuals.
Customers are fickle
5. Customers are able to switch suppliers with ease. Barriers that once existed are disappearing as switching costs approach zero. Fickle customers use this opportunity to hop from one organization to another much more frequently than in the past.
The sales focus should be on creating barriers to customer exit — giving them strong reasons to stay — rather than trying to prevent the competition from luring customers away.
6. Sales is less of an island in the organization. It is only one element an organization has to deliver as part of its value proposition. The sales identity is rapidly blending with marketing and customer service to respond to the holistic needs of a customer.
Sales influence in an organization is becoming more and more a function of how well they serve customers.
Organizational ideals matter
7. The nature of customer engagement has morphed from transactions-based to more of an idealistic alignment.
People are more and more doing business with organizations that demonstrate the same values (social responsibilities, environmental-friendliness, philanthropic intent and so on) that they believe in.
8. Experiences are trumping products and services. Material goods don’t create long-term happiness; experiences do.
Flogging products is moving to the back seat behind creating memories.
9. Customer loyalty has to be earned at every touch point be it personal contact, an organization’s web site, communications media and social media.
All customer interfaces must work together seamlessly and synergistically and must carry the same message and engage the customer in the same way.
Why I should buy from you must be crystal clear
10. Communications clutter is making it very difficult for customers to decide whom to do business with. Every supplier looks the same and gives no compelling reason why they should be selected over their competition.
Most messages talk about price; any value reference is aspirational and vague. The need for sales to practice their art like no one else is critical.
11. Pushing general advertising messages to the masses is no longer an effective investment.
Targeted personalized sales communication to individuals is required to ensure customers get the precise value they want.
12. Acquiring new high value customers is now a function of fans talking an organization up to their friends and associates. The sales referral is now a critical success factor.
New sales muscle is required to address these new realities.
Are you re-inventing your sales machine?
Roy Osing () is a former President and CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series .