Sales, as an industry, is rapidly evolving. Sales teams have always been able to make incremental tactical improvements in their process, but in the last few years, sales has entered a new era fueled by technology, analysis and a dramatic change in buyer behavior. Sales managers have put a new focus on using technology to measure sales rep activity and improve operations through quantitative analysis and experimentation with tactics and strategy.
If you compare a modern sales team to one of from the late 90s, the differences are night and day. The act of pounding the pavement and cold-calling anyone and everyone to scare up leads is dead. But…. not all teams are adopting the new standards of selling. Some sales organizations are far behind their competitors and are struggling to adapt to the times. That’s why the DocSend team put together this infographic detailing how the sales floor has evolved and what teams. Here are the biggest takeaways:
What’s Wrong with the Traditional Way of Doing Sales?
A lot! When teams employ individual sellers that are responsible for sourcing their leads and closing their deals, it can limit a sales team’s ability to scale and create some serious issues:
How Have B2B Buyers Changed The Sales Process?
B2B software buyers now have access to unlimited amount of information about potential products and vendors. Most buyers engage in extensive research before even filling out a lead form or contacting a sales rep. The old way of sales positioned reps as gatekeepers of product knowledge: they could tell you about the offering and quote you on a price, and because the information wasn’t publically available. This is no longer the case; now sales professionals are tasked with finding businesses in pain and alleviating that pain with their product. Their job is to create consensus among all the stakeholders within an organization while overcoming objections and minimizing special requests for customization that cause additional complexity. In The Challenger Sale from CEB, four trends are identified as potential blockers for the modern sales rep:
How Can a Sales Team Adapt to the Times?
If you’re currently managing a sales team that’s a little behind the times, there are three principles you can take to heart that will get you and your team up to speed:
- Embrace technology
- Specialize roles
- Create a culture of teamwork
Build a Modern Sales Stack
A sales stack can be defined simply as the technology and software a sales team uses to assist its sales process. By building a custom set of software that can manage and streamline sales development, presentations, and closing, you can create a unique workflow for your sales team that is custom tailored to every step of your sales cycle. With the invention of cloud-based software, sales leaders no longer have to work with IT to roll out new software purchases for their team. This allows them to quickly add, remove and replace
With the invention of cloud-based software, sales leaders no longer have to work with IT to roll out new software purchases for their team. This allows them to quickly add, remove and replace software in their stack so they can experiment and find the optimal setup for their team.
In his revolutionary book, Predictable Revenue, Aaron Ross explains why prospecting for sales leads and closing deals needs to be done by two different roles on your team. Prospecting inbound or outbound leads falls into the lap of the Sales Development Representative, or SDR. On the flipside Account Executives, the role responsible for the bulk of the communication, contract negotiation, and closing takes a different skill set. By specializing roles, individual contributors on your sales team and focus on building a more narrow and refined skill set.
On the flipside Account Executives, the role responsible for the bulk of the communication, contract negotiation, and closing takes a different skill set. By specializing roles, individual contributors on your sales team and focus on building a more narrow and refined skill set.
Support Your Sellers!
It’s common in traditional sales organizations for lone wolves to dominate the floor. These sellers typically want little to no interaction or collaboration with other team members. They often ask to be left alone so they can hit their number – and once they hit their number for the month they pack their things and go home. In this type of setup, salespeople aren’t supported (and tend not to want it when offered).
This isn’t the case anymore, modern sales teams are supported by sales operations, analysts, developers, sales enablement, and most teams require ongoing training. This supporting cast of characters gives individual sellers the tools they need to be successful while letting them focus on selling. A study from McKinsey found that sales teams achieved the highest ROI when about 50-60% of the team are in roles dedicated to supporting actual sellers
Modern sales teams are investing in technology, experimenting with tactics and process, working together like never before and specializing in roles that require narrow focus while developing deep expertise. A new era of sales has begun, and if your team is ignoring these trends — they could become obsolete.