Jan 142013

As we transition from 2012 into 2013 a number of sales imperatives either manifest themselves, become more important or the tendency takes more of a solid form.

Traditionally, sales has followed an established outline. This pattern, it is now clear, over-emphasized the needs of the seller.
Moreover, since human behaviour and reaction is almost unpredictable the process often failed.
The process went roughly as such: 1- Understanding one’s capabilities and the products or services represented 2- Prospecting in order to narrow down a vast marketplace to a list of prospects 3- Qualification or Marketing to prospects and gauging Money, Authority and Need or Desire 4- Presenting 5- Removing Objections 6- Trial Close including repeating 4 and 5 as necessary 7- Closing


This model is still valid and prevalent partly due to training and largely due to companies’ narrow focus and tight time-lines.

Nevertheless, based on my observation and experience, here are my predictions for factors that gain increasing prominence in sales for 2013 and beyond:

#1 Customers control the buying process – sympathy and servitude become increasingly important.
Buyers are more and more informed. Comparing brands, products and capabilities is less and less difficult. Salespersons need to educate buyers as early as possible and to do so from the ground up. Some might call this un-educate.

#2 Delivering more value
Selling will require better understanding why your solution is better than not only your competition’s, but also better than other requirements and the status quo.
Customers are armed with ample information. Could the seller better that?

#3 Salesforce specialization becomes more important.
Whether it is verticalization by industry or a technical specialization (by specific product or technology) focus will gain new prominence in sales. Increased customer knowledge requires similar improvement in account managers’ body of knowledge. Indeed, many a seller might find himself at a disadvantage knowledge-wise compared to the prospect in regards to the seller’s offering.
(Almost) everything is a commodity. How do you educate the buyer on what sets you apart? There is something (real) that sets you apart, right?

#4 Sales culture needs to become pervasive
Organizations that overhaul their internal culture to align marketing, analysts and products and management with sales win.
Currently, much time is wasted in internal squabbles and misalignment. Corporate jockeying is unlikely to end soon, but those who create ‘one organization’ may anticipate positive results.
One for all and all for one is difficult to instil unless driven at all levels at all times in every direction.

#5 Sales compensation has to be re-modelled to compensate the new reality in selling. Company representatives should be compensated for what it takes to turn a prospect into a customer today – not how it worked last year or the decade before. Networking, company and product representation (where customers look, think Social Media) and team selling and cooperation is what it takes nowadays. Are employees co-aligned? Their effectiveness and the company’s success depends on it. A move away from variable compensation is also underway in more innovative organizations. As a bonus, this evolution, when advertised, also garners customer trust.

I believe some elements will never change:
Salespersons who work hard, no matter any other circumstances, win http://www.alighaemi.com/wp/?p=443
Salespersons who challenge customers’ knowledge, perceptions and ‘blow things up’ win
Salespersons who ask questions win http://www.alighaemi.com/wp/?p=335
Salespersons who establish genuine and bi-directional rapport win

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