Saying that the role of salespeople has become considerably more complex over the past 10 years is not anything new.
In reality the entire sales process went through a complete change of paradigm, that not every company has deciphered and integrated yet.
Those who think that adding last minute “digital tools” to old processes is enough, will sooner or later be sorry.
The sales model based on the classical seller/buyer relationship is outdated.
The consequences on sales teams, sales field management and commercial performance are already visible, even if many want to believe that this phenomenon is only temporary.
All information about products, services, trends, that were once the property of the salesperson and his/her best entry door to clients, is available at everyone’s fingertip.
In B2B, purchasing managers and professional buyers focusing primarily on cost, tend to consider all products and services as commodities; internet is offering them a huge space where to compare suppliers, understand the benefits of products or services, pick from and ultimately put more pressure on prices.
In these conditions why would a sales person even be hired to bring information that is already out there?
How to differentiate yourself if your client knows more about your products, services, company and competitors than you?
How can the salesperson stand in front of his/her clients and bring a real added value, if he/she can no more bring crucial information?
In B2C, big brands have understood this phenomenon, that are already calling our attention on the danger of being locked in bubbles where our choices are strongly conditioned by algorithms, and calling for more human touch.
Clients expect value of course but beyond a product or solution that works, they want to see something technology cannot bring yet – they want to see values in action: respect, integrity, trust, confidence.
Here is the challenge salespeople have to respond to: fortunately, these values can be easily demonstrated through at least 3 attitudes: understanding, sharing, standing.
Understanding: the future and thus, the survival of salespeople, resides first in their capacity to really understand the client’s organization and to find a coherent positioning in his/her value chain.
Sharing: it resides second in their ability to consider solutions from a systemic point of view, not from self-centered position. Salespeople need to understand the client’s ecosystem and adapt. That’s the condition for client and seller to win together.
Standing: it resides third in the courage to stand for what is right for both sides, not only for the salesperson or his employer. This is the way to gain real trust from clients and build solid partnerships, not counterfeit ones.
Necessity knows no law: the salesperson has to step out of a relationship and a mindset too often coercive to the customer, refrain from wanting to sell at all cost, develop new behaviours and reflexes, create a new approach based on collaborative work and shared results; then only, there will be a chance to close a deal.
This is what deciders expect and thus the safest way to success.