Google. Bing. Facebook. LinkedIn. Twitter. All of these search engines and social sites – and Rule No.1 for Successful Selling: Shake Hands with Technologycountless others – are keeping sales directors up at night. Even if they are not market competitors, every sales rep still competes against them.
Since the emergence of the Internet 20 years ago, buyers can access pages of vendor and product information, social sites that provide firsthand feedback on products and services, and online ordering readily available 24×7. And today’s buyers – whether an individual consumer or procurement department – are more savvy and knowledgeable than ever before.
For most sales reps, this means that they must provide value to customers that goes beyond providing general information, leaving behind a brochure, or taking an order. If they don’t, reps risk losing their sale – and just as important, their commission – to a call center or Web site that can perform those tasks at a fraction of the cost.
By understanding how sales reps approach customers, senior sales managers can select technology that complements the selling style and enhances productivity and revenue.
Finding technology that can help reps add value to the sales experience
According to Forrester Research, there are four types of sales people: expediter, specialist, consolidator, and conductor. Take a look at these four profiles to determine which technology innovations can help your sales reps achieve – or even exceed – their quotas:
1. The Expediter
Does your sales presentation make it possible for your products or services to sell themselves? Automation technology can streamline the entire sales process, enabling customers to perform self-service purchasing or search for pertinent information. As a result, “expediters” can help customers decide and purchase quickly without annoying them with unnecessary discussions or activities.
2. The Specialist
Do you like being a consultant or educator when working with the customer? Do you have a great deal of knowledge and training on the products and services you sell? “Specialists” can really drive home the value proposition “We have specialized expertise that your needs to solve your unique business problem.” However, they cannot evangelize this message without fingertip access to the right information. Mobile technology that enables Big Data analysis can help specialists pinpoint customer challenges and provide insight into delivery status, anytime and anywhere.
3. The Consolidator
Are you able to connect the dots between your offerings and the customer’s needs? Technology can give customers control of the sales relationship without requiring full customization. For example, Web sites can help sales reps and buyers configure purchasing or shipping terms rapidly. Also, analytics can provide customers instant insight into order information, even if the sales organization is decentralized across a number of locations around the world. By giving customers the visibility and control they crave, “consolidators” can nurture and strengthen a loyal sales relationship.
4. The Conductor
Do you like to take on the role of “value architect?” With in-depth knowledge of the client’s business, “conductors” can design a one-of-a-kind product or service that fits the customer’s needs. Being successful in this role calls for a significant amount of coordination across multiple areas. In this case, technologies and processes need to facilitate collaboration across the vendor company, as well as the client company. With insight into the vendor’s capabilities enterprise-wide, executive-level buyers can better understand the strategic value of the partnership.
Now that you know how every sales type can benefit from the latest technology, find out how you can help your sales organization become more successful. Take a moment to read Forrester Research’s white paper “Defining the 21 Century Sales Person.”
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