In the next couple of posts, I’ll be addressing how today’s information age has dramatically impacted the sales process. We all have more data at the tips of our fingers than we know what to do with. This most certainly plays a major role in any decision we make, from medical self-diagnosis to major IT investments for our company. Buyers have more information than they used to, which dramatically changes the dynamic between the consumer and sales professional. The identity, purpose, and involvement of a salesperson in the buying process is different than it’s been traditionally; they are no longer the primary information provider.
The challenge for sales professionals is the information available isn’t always good or accurate. It is estimated that 62-percent of organizations rely on marketing/prospect data that’s 20-40 percent inaccurate and 94-percent of businesses suspect that their customer and prospect data is inaccurate.” Data is the new major challenge for any sales individual.
Case in Point
People tend to believe just about anything they read on the internet, especially when it’s shared on a reputable site. Let me give you an example. My Inside Sales Manager once showed me a former Tyson Group employee’s LinkedIn profile, in which he claimed he won Rookie of the Year at my company. Trouble is, we don’t have a Rookie of the Year award. I sent him a note apologizing for missing the ceremony with a P.S. explaining that he might want to represent himself accurately.
It’s easy to accept what’s said just because someone said it in an opinion blog, an online resume, or a biased product/service/experience review. Inaccuracies, including the faulty information salespeople glean when they rely on the same online sources, ramp up the pressure on salespeople. They mean a salesperson has to be asking the right questions at the right time in live conversation or through thorough research. It’s critical throughout the sales process to take the temperature of prospects.
Buyers Are Requiring More
Not only has the role of sales professionals changed after meeting with a prospect, but the time and effort it takes to get to that meeting has also increased. Identifying an opportunity, pre-approach, and initial communication, are the most time-consuming parts of the sale process these days.
In B2B sales it takes six to eight touches to get someone interested enough to even talk with you and another six to eight touches get time on someone’s calendar. Those touches can come through LinkedIn, Twitter, even snail mail.
Making these critical milestones with potential buyers not only requires a steady, strategic sales process, but it also requires transparency. In a recent Inc. article, they cite a 2016 Label Insight Transparency ROI Study which confirms the need for more transparency from companies and their representatives because of the following reasons: consumers want to know everything about a product; consumers want to know about more than just your product; and if your company isn’t providing the transparent information, consumers will look elsewhere to get it.
Help your prospects make the best-informed decision they can make: be a source of accurate and transparent facts in an environment where they’re inundated with questionable information. Learn how to better integrate this into your sales process with the Tyson Group self-evaluation: https://tysongroup.com/evaluation/