This post had to be written. The role of sales will never perish. However, the role of traditional selling will. Companies need sales people as much as they need a product or service. Sales is embedded into a company’s framework from day 1. Sometimes – a lot of times, it’s the founders doing sales and marketing to build a runway sufficient to hire a sales team. Selling is important but not in the way you think.
Traditional sales roles have been replaced. Traditional sales as seen in movies like Glengarry Glen Ross, Boiler Room, show sales as a numbers game. There has never been a time in history when buyers are more in control of the buying decision than right now. Many complex sales transactions require problem solvers and not Wheeler Dealers. A sales person could get away with being a Wheeler Dealer 20-years ago, but not today.
So what can traditional sales organizations do?
1. They can adopt new sales techniques.
One of the more important of these is to stop the sales pitch and start a conversation. Remember the buyer is in control now. And they are going to make decisions on their timeline and with a well-rounded education of what’s available to them. The sales landscape is flat and there is no hiding it.
2. They can work with marketing on generating new leads.
Marketing and sales have long been at odds. Since the buyer makes his or her own decisions now, why not have marketing help you qualify your prospects? This seems logical considering that marketing can get a buyer further down that sales funnel without ever picking up a phone. We do this at Smashdeck Marketing and it works.
3. Respect your time, respect the buyer’s time.
There is a term in sales called “next”, which just means on to the next prospect. Don’t waste time seeding prospects that have no intention of converting. As in point #2, rely on marketing to do this heavy lifting for you. Traditional sales would start and end the conversation, and everywhere in between. What if I told you that you don’t have to cold call anymore like its 1960’s. Life becomes better. Sales increase. Management is happy. Simple.
Adapt or die. I know it sounds harsh. But if you haven’t adapted to new marketing and sales techniques, you have probably already seen your revenue slipping, your market share eroding and your sales team becoming less enthusiastic about their role in the organization.