By Joseph Caprio
It’s no secret that the sales industry is quickly evolving. Today’s salespeople are up against educated customers who formulate an opinion about a product or service offering before any communication with a sales rep even takes place. According to the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), 57 percent of a purchase decision is completed before there is any interaction between the customer and the seller.
While technology has prompted the evolution of the educated customer, it is also changing the way salespeople pursue and close new leads. This technology has driven an increase in the number of inside sales jobs- sales done remotely or virtually. In fact InsideSales reports that since 2009, inside jobs have grown at a 7.5 percent rate annually, compared to just 0.5 percent for outside sales. This means that by 2020, there will be 2.6 million inside sales reps in the United States.
These growth statistics prove that even though customers are becoming smarter about their purchasing decisions, the role of an inside sales rep in helping customers across the finish line is still incredibly valuable. Today’s sales reps have had to evolve their roles to be better suited for the new sales landscape. Customers come to the table with background research completed—it’s now the sales reps’ job to push them to the final step toward completing the sale. In the Sales 2.0 world, sales representatives should follow these three rules:
1. Personalize to add value. Prospects expect much more than just a generic sales pitch. Salespeople today must deliver added value in the form of specific solutions to the prospect’s unique pain points. Offer your solution only as it relates to the prospect’s own agenda.
2. Be a consultant. Since the customer has already done his or her preliminary research, reps must be consultative in tone by talking him or her through the problem and your proposed solution. A consultative approach will help you establish a real connection, and show your empathy for theirbiggest pain points.
3. Numbers speak louder than words – evaluate ROI. At the end of the day, one of the only answers your prospect cannot find with a Google search is the exact return on investment they should expect from completing a purchase. Be comfortable talking about ROI and real numbers in an analytical manner. Use these as proof points beyond the prospect’s background knowledge.
It is the end of the archaic and aggressive door-to-door sales rep era as we know it. Today’s sales representatives should do a lot less pushing, and rely more heavily on relationship building and advising to close deals. Customers are becoming smarter, and sales representatives have to stay one step ahead of the curve!
Joseph Caprio is the sales director at InsightSquared.