In an article by Brian deHaaff, Why This CEO Will Never Hire Another Salesperson, he states what seems to be a very controversial belief, that the traditional sales role is endangered. He tells us,"I will probably never hire another VP of Sales or commissioned salesperson again." That is some statement.
Why, because today's buyers are way more savvy than ever before, and geting more savvy every minute. This is due to endless internet information we can find on a company or product before ever talking to anyone about buying. And with almost endless social media, we can find out what people we know, think about the product we want to buy. That's a more powerful influence than any salesperson.
A CEB (Corporate Executive Board) study of more than 1,400 B2B customers found that those customers completed, on average, nearly 60% of a typical purchasing decision – researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, benchmarking pricing, and so on – before even having a conversation with a supplier.
70% of business technology buyers are at the RFP stage (request for proposal) by the time the vendor becomes aware of the opportunity – UBM Techweb.
Robert H. Bloom anticipated a bit of this in his book, The New Experts. He explains that, a radical change is attacking your bottom line. Who are 'the new experts'? They're a generation of Internet-empowered customers armed with three lethal weapons:
- Instant access to information about every potential purchase
- Immense choice
- Real-time comparison of competitive prices
These changes have affected both purchasing behavior and customer loyalty. This change is shaking both the Marketing and the Sales worlds. Marketing must know their customers buying cycles and deliver helpful information to them at just the right time and in the right place, consistently.
All this means that the days of showing up with a brochure and asking, "what keeps you up at night?", are over. Sales must know when's the right time to contact a prospect, and how to engage effectively once they do.
Does this mean that Sales people are no longer needed, or has the role changed?
How do you attract the right customers and give them valuable information at every touch in the buying cycle?
How do you keep your company 'top of mind' and much closer to capturing their heart, when it's time to purchase?
Are you changing the role of Sales and Marketing in your company? If so, how?
In our Facilitative Leadership program, we use this system of measuring integrity for your commitments and promises. the groups work on the Leadership Accountability Process Questions and Actions. If you are interested in taking a crack at it, you can download below. This will be helpful to you in the kinds of commitments you, as a leader, need to make and keep.
Other articles you might like:
- What's on your scorecard?
- How To Build a Promises Based Company and Culture
- Business in a Digital World