Mobile and social technologies have radically changed the way people buy. Buyers are increasingly savvy and willing to shop around, and salespeople have to recognize how the landscape has changed and how the interaction with potential customers continues to evolve.
Companies must take the lead and make sure their sales people are familiar with the new paradigm, says my latest guest on PowerViews, Nick Stein, SVP of marketing at Vision Critical.
Nick is a results-driven marketer, has been a writer for Fortune magazine, an adjunct professor at New York University, and an award-winning investigative journalist for CBC television.
Here are some highlights from our discussion, which can be viewed in its entirety below.
Consumers are Better Equipped
Click to start video at this point—When a consumer initially picks up the phone to talk to a vendor, they’re already 60 percent of the way through a buying decision, Nick said. Because of the proliferation of mobile and social technologies, consumers can heavily educate themselves on potential purchases. I also shared statistics from the Corporate Executive Board that 71 percent of buyers still want sales involved early in the buying process. Buyers are more sophisticated, but they still prefer a human touch.
Turnover of Account Executives Can Cripple Companies
Click to start video at this point—The sales business is going through one of its most interesting and turbulent times, Nick said. Less than half of account executives are not meeting their quotas, which in turn is leading to tremendous turnover. This is extremely detrimental to companies that have to hire and train new account executives, which typically takes six to 12 months. Businesses are struggling to figure out how to adapt.
Youth Meets Experience in Sales Force
Click to start video at this point—The young people entering the sales force are changing the dynamic between managers and their reps. Young people have grown up in an era of instantaneous, real time feedback, Nick said, so they expect to get answers immediately. They especially want to know about their job performance. Not so long ago, managers and their sales team were in one centralized location. But with the rapid growth in technology, a manager’s sales team can be spread out. That has pros and cons, Nick said. Among the negatives: the on-the-spot feedback that was vital to the relationship between a manager and his reps is now less common.
What About Gamification?
Click to start video at this point—“Gamification” is a commonly heard buzzword these days, but what exactly does it mean? Nick points out that using leaderboards or employee of the month recognitions are longstanding games in the sales business. Obviously you want to be thoughtful about the behaviors you’re trying to promote in your sales force and ultimately drive revenue.
You can connect with Nick and learn more about his work at Salesforce.com via the following resources:
The next PowerViews will be with Chris Snell of Care.com. Stay Tuned.
By Dan McDade