The 21st Century Sales Challenge
By John Golden
follow-up to my recent
blog post, someone asked me what I thought the main challenge would be for
the 21st Century sales rep as we head into the second decade. I see a number of
challenges all related to the core issue of the torrents of information that
are flowing through our lives on a nanosecond by nanosecond basis. Consider the
fact that our consumer buying habits are beginning to inform our B2B buying
habits – we comparison shop online, we use our professional and social networks
to get third-party opinions and reviews of the vendors we are considering. We
are informed, we know almost everything there is to know about the vendor and
their offering before we ever engage directly with them.
on the flip side of this equation, the sales rep is getting up-to-second
intelligence on us. They are using business intelligence sites like Jigsaw,
OneSource, and Hoovers
to figure out who we are and how to connect with us. They are tracking us down
on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. They are contacting those who know us
(current colleagues, past colleagues, business partners even college
roommates!) Their CRM and Marketing Automation systems are feeding them
real-time information anytime we come within a click of their website. Just
like the buyer knows almost everything about the vendor, the vendor in turn
knows almost everything about the buyer before they ever initiate contact.
So back to
the original question about what is the main challenge for the 21st Century
sale rep – well it can be broken out as follows:
You Do To Stand Out?
- You need to filter all of the information
available about the prospect to get to what is actually relevant to the
sale (don’t confuse lots of information with useful information)
- Maximize every communication with the prospect
whether phone, email, face to face (or tweet for that matter) by
demonstrating that you are using the information you have about them to
create value by aligning your offerings with their business issues and
- Make sure all communications are clear and concise
(there is too much information noise – buyers appreciate brevity)
- Be open and transparent with them – respect the
fact that they can pretty much find out anything they want about you so
don’t waste their time being opaque or trying to be clever
understand that we all struggle to find clarity in the wall of noise that this
24/7 torrent of information creates and if you can be a paragon of concise,
precise, business-aligned communication you can cut through the noise and stand
out from the crowd.
is President & CEO of Huthwaite.
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