Sales is a naturally fluid profession, always changing with the times. But never before has the art of selling changed so rapidly that it’s leaving established pros confused and scrambling to keep up with all the new tools out there. Salespeople have to adapt faster than ever, with the emergence of mobile and social media contributing significantly to the sales paradigm shift.
Just look at a recent survey conducted by Local Corporation, which found that 73% of respondents use their smartphones to do product shopping research, with 59% of survey respondents using their smartphones to check for sales and specials. This shows that smartphones are now multi-purpose shopping tools that give connected consumers access to information that speeds the purchase decision-making and contributes to the social selling cycle.
The Evolution of Sales
According to Nancy Nardin, President of Smart Selling Tools, traditional sales largely relied on autonomy. The best sales reps have traditionally performed the best when left alone. Independence and self-reliance were the keys to building a successful sales career. Especially as sales teams have grown and gone global, sales managers and directors didn’t want to be bogged down by micromanaging their teams on a daily basis. They wanted to just lay out a few guidelines and be able to trust that the sales team would get the job done right.
A similar thing can be said for the next step in the evolution of sales: Sales 2.0. According to Nardin, “Autonomy simply became more prevalent, flexible, and even appropriate” with Sales 2.0, as it emphasized further individual responsibility and independence. But it also marked the inclusion of social media into selling strategies. Sales teams could now utilize popular social networks to interact with customers and forge new relationships with prospects. If we could succinctly define Sales 2.0, it would be “using the latest technologies to connect with customers and prospects in a way that acknowledges the shift from outbound to inbound marketing.”
Over the past several years, customers have become informed and connected in ways they’ve never been before. They conduct their own research before contacting a company, and even then, it’s the customer reaching out, not the other way around. Customers now have all the power. So it’s important for sales teams to find different avenues and methods to connect with potential customers. Social media facilitates this, allowing for sales teams to be engaged (and engaging) on the channels where their customers work, play, and socialize.
So, if Sales 2.0 = traditional sales + social media, Sales 3.0 = traditional sales + social media + mobile. And it also spells the end of sales reps that can work entirely on their own. Independence is a good thing–a great thing even–but it just won’t work in the new social selling landscape. A desktop CRM and telephone just won’t cut it anymore. In fact, most desktop apps won’t cut it. Sales reps need social applications on their mobile devices that they can access from anywhere at anytime.
A Day In the Life of a Salesperson
Under the Sales 3.0 paradigm shift, the typical workday for a sales rep looks a lot different than it did ten years ago. Now, sales reps can send out messages on social networks that reach their target customer base around the clock. They can send out coupons and discounts at the drop of a hat to encourage skeptical prospects to take action. They can promote new products or services and offer entertaining or informative blog posts, infographics, and other materials developed by marketing to pique interest and foster new customer relationships.
A Day in the Life of a Sales Manager
Sales 3.0 doesn’t just affect how sales teams work. It also affects how sales managers work and interact with their teams. Managers need to understand social media and mobile platforms if they wish to keep up with the latest trends and encourage the most productivity. Using a consolidated tool like an Employee Advocacy Platform allows sales managers to:
* Help salespeople boost their credibility by giving them relevant and up to date product information that they can share with prospects and customers.
* Get team members to share customer wins and success stories to drive interest and consideration.
* Make it easy for team members to post special offers that track back to your eCommerce site.
* Recognize and reward those team members who promote the business and/or product.
Now remember, all of these capabilities are available on mobile devices now, which streamlines operations considerably. Some members of sales teams might feel a bit put off by these changes but in reality, every single one of these innovations improves efficiency, which means the profit potential is much higher. It’s all just a part of the sales evolution cycle.