A Fresh Approach to Sales

November 08, 2016   /   by  Diane Callihan

Today’s Salespeople Need a Different Skillset

As more and more people do their own self-directed research to find products and services on the web, the need for traditional salespeople seems to be waning.

According to HubSpot, “The State of Inbound 2016:”

The door-to-door salespeople of decades past wouldn’t recognize selling today -- and that’s a good thing. As power shifts from the seller to the buyer, salespeople are incentivized to be helpful instead of pushy. Just like inbound marketing obliterated pushy outbound marketing, inbound sales will transform sellers from aggressive closers into helpful advocates.

While this may be bad news for those who have been focused on selling solely on features and benefits, prospecting and cold-calling, it’s a great opportunity for a new empathetic breed of salesperson.

Rest assured, sales is not going away anytime soon. While the sale of consumer goods such as shoes and desk lamps may not always require the guidance of a knowledgeable expert, the same cannot be said of most B2B products and services. Buying and implementing software for your business, for example, is a more complicated process.

The new breed of salesperson might be better described as an expert consultant, solution provider or trusted advisor.

What will the salesperson of the future look like?

They’ll listen more and talk less. Adept at uncovering their customers’ true pain points, they’ll ask questions and really listen to the answers. They will not be making a “pitch.” They will not have a memorized spiel or a deck they use over and over again.

Conversations will be real and off-script.

They’ll work on forming ongoing relationships. Provide a consultative approach. They’ll have an in-depth knowledge of what their business can and can’t do, and a full understanding of the resources available so they can provide customers with the content that will help them the most.

Education is Key

According to the Hubspot report, 43% of sales reps say that prospecting is the most difficult part of the sales process, and that prospecting is more difficult when their leads have no knowledge about their products or services.

When a lead is clueless about what the salesperson is selling, the task of prospecting gets harder.

Marketers have to be aligned with their sales teams to determine what content needs to be produced to educate their audience, and sales needs to know what content they can access to provide their prospects with the information they need.

Taking the role of educator or advisor is a pretty big shift in the traditional “always be closing” sales model. And personally, I think it’s a shift that will be welcomed among salespeople and customers alike.

If you’re looking for ways to better align your sales and marketing teams, and build a strategy that helps you bring in more and better prospects, we can help. Let’s Talk.

Diane Callihan

Diane Callihan

With more than 20 years of experience writing for some of the country’s top brands, Diane helped to shape Roger West’s content strategy, lead generation, and PR efforts as Director of Marketing. She currently serves as President of Callihan Content Creation.