How to Close the Deal: The New ABC of Modern Sales
A.. B .. C .. “Always be closing” is the often-quoted sales mantra and while the fundamentals of good sales techniques will never change, the way that people buy today has been completely revolutionised. The most successful sales and marketing people are those that are tapping in to these changes.
Want to close the deal? The traditional A .. B .. C .. has evolved in to “Always be connecting”. Here are the 5 new trends shaping today’s buying and selling:
1. Buyers No Longer Want To Be Sold To
Today’s buyers are actually 57% of the way through the buying cycle before they engage with sales. The days of the hard sell are gone as today’s buyers are more in control of accessing information. Buyers now have an unprecedented number of sources from search to company websites, social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), their professional communities, news outlets and more. It’s easy for buyers to access information and compare options.
So how do you close the deal? “Buyers now control the majority of the front end of the sales process, so sellers must learn to facilitate a buying process – not conduct a sales process”, explains Colleen Francis, Founder / President of Engage Selling Solutions. Digital and social buying signals from potential leads are key and while traditional interactions are still relevant, the most successful deals will be done when sales people go out directly and engage prospects on digital channels.
2. Get Social or Go Home
Get social or go home. Ditching overt sales pitches and adopting social selling is the new way to sell and ‘always be closing’ has now been replaced with ‘always be connecting’. The most successful sales people today are extremely targeted in who they connect with, taking time to research their leads. Sales teams need to be trained on the tools and processes to build and maintain strong social media presences. “Relationships are the new currency and social selling is the new way forward for modern-day digital sales reps looking to exceed their quota”, says Jason Miller, Senior Content Marketing Manager with LinkedIn.
3. Content and Conversations are Central
Sales professionals are hired to sell their company’s product or service, but often sales people need more time to sell. Companies are advised to reduce the amount of time sales people spend on non-core activities in order to maximise the amount of time they have for selling. A 2014 Sirius Decisions study revealed that 65% of companies’ sales reps spend too many hours on non-core activities such as sourcing presentation materials. Sales reps should take cues from the company marketing team on their social, content and PR messaging, as there can be many parallels between social selling and influencer / customer marketing. “When buyers present a key roadblock or question, sales people need content that helps them. Marketing needs to create that content”, explains Craig Rosenberg, Co-founder of TOPO, experts in B2B selling.
4. Sales No Longer Happens In a Silo
Sales people should tap in to all available data both internally and externally for smarter selling as sales no longer happens in a silo. If sales management arm their sales reps with access to CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools with embedded social intelligence, the time spent on pre-call research can be cut down considerably. There can also be a ‘knowledge advantage’ if companies develop an internal network, sharing contacts and collaborating across all departments to share leads and information. Companies using enterprise social networks saw business productivity rise by as much as 30%, according to McKinsey Global Institute.
5. Faster Technology Means Shorter Sales Cycles
Using technology to support the best way of working and selling will reduce the sales cycle. Technology has totally changed the way that sales people sell and it should be harnessed and embraced. Using technology to automate as many processes as possible and providing tools that streamline the sales process from beginning to end will lead to success for sales people.
Put simply, a modern CRM solution will better enable sales. While traditionally CRM systems were made for reporting purposes, when utilised properly nowadays they can be the hub for all sales proposals, templates, marketing materials and coaching dashboards. CRM technology has completely evolved to include predictive analytics and dashboards that will help sales people to visualise data, draw conclusions from trends and make the right decisions by focusing on the hottest leads to facilitate interactions and sales.
Technology is more than just a way of automating and improving sales processes. The most successful and progressive companies will harness technology to create entirely new processes, styles of work, collaboration tools and social technologies in order to create a top performing sales culture. This will embrace the new business buyer, help to close more deals and facilitate the sales process from beginning to end.
Read more about Sales in the Modern World with this free whitepaper from Microsoft – download here.