Important Skills You Need to Be Ready for the Future of Sales

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eCommerce and an Automated Sales App

Because of sales Automation the skills you need to be ready for the future have never been changing faster.  Once there was a concept called “hive knowledge” that would perpetuate the skills and knowledge attributed to the success of an organization, today that same learning concept puts organizations back several steps and prevent success.

No part of an organization is changing faster than that of the customer facing sales teams.  Because there are several changes to the course of doing business sales professionals must also be prepared for the future of selling through eCommerce and new tools for sales automation like an automated sales order app.

Customized Automation Changes The Skills Needed For Success

eCommerce is here to stay and the B2B world is currently undergoing a rapid change.  A report from Forrester Research in 2017 estimated business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce transactions would reach $1.2 trillion by 2021. This accounts for more than 13% of all B2B sales within the United States a 25% increase from 2017 to 2018.  There are even estimates that are far more aggressive like the estimate provided by Frost & Sullivan which sets the bar at $6.6 trillion by 2020.  If any of these statistics are true the sales teams with in these B2B organizations will need to shift dramatically in order to accommodate for the change in how customers purchase.

When I lead the Apple SMB team in the North East in 2016 it was a major push for Apple to introduce their current B2B customers to a personalized online eCommerce buying experience.  While Apple has a first-class online purchasing experience they have made the shift along with the rest of the B2B world to a personalized online experience where a customer can have a tailored experience based on their relationship with their vendor simply by logging in.  Examples of Apple’s tailored sales automation portal experience:

  • Specialized Bundled Offerings – Based on a customer’s buying history, organizational needs and product upsell opportunities products were combined for a specialized offering to include discounts and quick shopping.
  • Price – The customers that log in expect to see their pricing. They don’t want to shop via a portal only to find out that they would get a better price if they just picked up the phone to order.
  • Upgraded Check Out Options – B2B customers pay differently. They expect terms and a fast “three click to order” experience.  Typical consumer eCommerce sites are myered with options that slow the purchase down enough for the buyer to connect emotionally with the product.  B2B buyers typically aren’t connected emotionally with the product and are just buying as a task – they want to be in and out.
  • Unique Product – Since the B2B buyer is buying for productivity there is significant opportunity for customers to take advantage of unique product offerings that have been selected just organizations.

This is a good cross section of why Apple is moving their buying process to eCommerce.  They only really missed with the offering on a mobile device.  Most B2B buyers want to purchase via a native app. The process is more familiar to them on their own personal devices and usually nets a better overall experience and ROI.

The New Skills for the Future of Sales

If you look at the offerings in the above example a successful adoption and utilization campaign would net a significant percentage of new users and customers.  In this world what is the function of the sales rep that would traditionally sell products by calling and taking an order or even going on site to drive purchase decisions and take an order.  They must (as Sysco calls it) “Make the Shift” to insight and solution-based sales processes.  This means that sales reps need to move away from considering themselves the order taker and instead work with customers to drive the adoption of new initiatives that include the product or service.  They need to manage those projects as if they were part of the team that drives the successful completion of those projects through to ROI.

A great sales rep will help customers see inefficiencies in their current processes and offer ways to improve utilizing the companies solutions. Real world example:

Southwest Trader

In 1979, Smith purchased Dean’s shares and became sole owner. That’s when Southwest Traders grew from two vans to four and Smith purchased the company’s first warehouse – a 1,000 square-feet facility located on Washington Street in Escondido, California.  Southwest Trader has experience significant growth in recent years because of the introduction of eCommerce online.  As of 2018 the team has currently driven a significant amount of adoption on line driving 40% of their current order through the eCommerce portal.

Recently ownership as asked for a double-digit growth in YoY sales numbers via the online channels.  The team’s initial reaction was to streamline the website in order to maximize the current 40% utilization.  However, Ai2 listened to the organization’s goals and introduced a mobile sales app opportunity for their customers as an easier and faster way to drive eCommerce growth and solidify the future of eCommerce growth. Through this process the sales team at SWT can now offer customized options to people who need to purchase on the go.  The conversations now shift from “what do need to order now” to how can we support your future growth through customized experience and knowledge”.

This new world of sales will include experts in the field that are attuned at seeing organizational inefficiencies and who are curious enough to get their customers to ask themselves questions that result in new initiatives laced with their vendors goods or services.  For this this new sales style to fully take hold in traditional industries leadership must invest in current tools help the tedious processes melt into the background and allow for the expert sales staff to support via partnership.

Learn more about how a sales automation app will change your sales team by talking to us.

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