How You Need To Change Your Sales Approach In a Digital World

Square peg in a round hole

This is going to be a succinct one, but it’s apparently a very difficult transition for a lot of organizations and individuals to make.

Today, sales works differently. It just does.

I don’t care what you learned in your sales workshops or training seminars, the reality is that 50-60% or more of buying decisions, especially by B2B buyers, are made digitally now. (Read more HERE, HERE and HERE).

That doesn’t mean we never need a sales person during the process, but it does mean that we are not limited to that avenue to find information about what we need.

Here’s an example.

My company, via a colleague, was invited via a prospecting email to participate in a sponsored speaking opportunity.  The colleague forwarded to me as the decision maker, I followed up, asking for details on pricing and packages available.

I had already done research on the events (web), inquired with colleagues about whether they were familiar (Facebook and LinkedIn), and managed to dig up some preliminary pricing information on my own.

The rep’s response was to ask for a phone call. When I repeated my request for some information I could review before making time for a call (my days are already stacked with meetings and calls), he replied that of course he had some information to send (he didn’t) but could he just have a call first even if he had to wait three weeks (mind you, the first event he proposed was a week away).

Sigh.

Stop doing this.

The only reason I’m still conversing with this person without summarily deleting their email is because I want to ensure I evaluate the opportunity well for my business and keep my personal annoyance out of it. However.

What he should have done:

  • Sent me the information I asked for, period.
  • Offered to chat via phone for any clarification or questions
  • Followed up via email again in a week or so once I’d had a chance to review

It really is that simple.

Your buyers are not stupid. Treating us like only you can personally deliver and articulate the value of what you offer via phone says to us that your value prop isn’t clear on paper, and that’s a problem.

We do want to know whether we’re even on the same page before we continue a conversation.  Most people at a decision-making level are inundated with requests for their time, and we have precious little to spare. That means that even 15-30 minutes on our calendars is not usually best spent getting pitched with information we could review in an asynchronous way, say in our inbox on the couch at 10pm instead of during the jam-packed workday.

It’s not because we’re so damned important, it’s because we have a finite amount of time and brainpower and we have to prioritize. A meeting with my team on marketing strategy or with our sales teams on upcoming customer meetings or a partner we’re working with on an event already is going to get first billing.

Sales is an absolutely essential part of business, and I’m a big fan. I work with sales people every day.

But if I can help even one salesperson move beyond the poorly-executed “Just surfacing this in your inbox, what would be a good time to talk on Tuesday” approach before meeting the basics (providing relevant information pertinent to a decision that a buyer can review on their own time), it’ll have been worth the frustration for today.

Do it differently, folks. It’s not hard. But it is necessary.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Amber,

    You nailed it… it’s too bad that sales people continue to function from a place of “I have to close the deal” vs “what do I have to do to close the deal” and learn that content selling is easier, scales far better than voice selling, and usually is a ton more effective.

    They’d sell more stuff and work less hours…

  2. Amy Canada says

    Thank you, yes. Being told that the scheduled events of the day/week (though unknown to the salesman) are less important than hearing their pitch, there is a tendency to discount the product/service, despite best efforts to remain unbiased.

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