State of Sales: I was recently asked on an expert platform what selling techniques, tools or trends we'll be seeing.
State of Sales Trend Number One: Personal Selling Skills are King
Personal selling skills, that is: an individual's ability to sell 1-on-1 in person or over the phone, are going to become noted as one of the most valuable skills in the marketplace. They already are in fact, but have not yet been held up as such.
Automated marketing has worn out its welcome: banner blindness, single digit email open rates, bland copy by a flood of inexpert writers...all have contributed to the end of pushbutton marketing's effectiveness. This may be acceptable as a lead generation tool, but when it comes to qualifying and selling, the return to personal selling, rather than the panacea of automated marketing promising to keep topic matter expert business owners safely away from the scary necessity of actually talking to people, is what will succeed going forward.
State of Sales Trend Number Two: Consultative Selling Skills In Complex Sales
I think we can agree that consultative selling has pushed out traditional features-and-benefits-based selling in the complex sale situation. Many brands of consultative selling exist but the essential process is the same. The learning issue seems to come down to finding and choosing a trainer you are comfortable with. This coach must not be the salesperson's boss, because telling the full truth to your boss can be a career-limiting move. Employees must feel free to share complete details of what is actually happening with their coach without fear of repriasal--or they won't get the benefit of coaching.
State of Sales Trend Number Three: Video Training for Repetitive, Global Concepts
For training, video is an excellent resource. When it comes to repetitive, non-individual-specific concepts and technical information which can be conveyed by automated knowledge transfer, video training is effective.
Business owners and executives are also finally arriving at the understanding that there is no quick fix for sales training. A short technical sales training seminar will not do the trick: employees may get a short term "rush", but in a couple weeks will be back in their old comfort zone and performance limitations. Sales training must be understood as an ongoing investment and process. Many months of consistent effort, training and experience are required even before one can say a salesperson has been sufficiently prepared to deal with the big bad world.
For larger sales forces, one or more dedicated trainers are necessary. If a company tries to have a sales manager who also has a personal revenue quota, that individual will likely fail because they cannot split their effort between selling and coaching.
I may return to this topic of the State of Sales as there is much more depth to explore in the current State of Sales. However, in the meantime, here are many interviews with sales industry experts you can listen to which echo what I've said.
>> My Superpower: "I will find the hidden profits in delivering your product or service to the customer." ~Jason Kanigan | Like this? Subscribe for new posts! <<
Jason – Thanks for the update. The personal touch does appear to be coming back.