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Selling in the Connected Age

Inside Sales Lead Management Featured Article

Selling in the Connected Age
 
February 25, 2015

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  By Joe Rizzo, TMCnet Contributing Writer
 


It seems that these days everything is connected. We have connected cars that you can practically run using your smartphone. There will come a day when the reason for buying a particular vehicle will depend on the type of connectivity features that it offers. The concept of a connected home is also becoming reality. This can be seen by the fact that about 13 percent of broadband homes currently own at least one smart home device, and that industry is set to double by 2018. This is due to the fact that these products are now more accessible and affordable.


There is no question that we live in a connected world. The Internet of Things (IoT) has created the ability for devices to seamlessly and efficiently communicate with each other. While technology continues to evolves and grow, making life easier for everyone, there still seems to be a group that is living in what can be considered the stone age.

I am referring to sales people. Gone are the days of sitting at your desk making cold calls in the hopes of being able to finish the sales spiel before the prospect hangs up on you. In fact, thanks to caller ID, most people do not even answer their phones if they see an 800 number or a name that sounds like it could be a sales call.

So then, what is the natural progression for sales? I mentioned that we live in a connected world, so it seems that the evolution of sales calls is connected sales. According to Quinton Pienaar, who is the CEO of Agilitude, a Salesforce.com (News - Alert) reseller, customers and prospects have been practicing connected buying for years, but too many salespeople, at too many companies, are failing to use the same strategies and resources that buyers have become experts in.

Just as everything else has progressed and evolved, so has the customer. This is now a group of people that can gather information on anything, making them very informed with a clearer understanding of what it is that they want. The result of this is that the customer or prospect is connected but the salesperson is disconnected.

According to Salesforce.com, 79 percent of marketing leads are not pursued and sales people waste a significant amount of time and effort on fruitless searches. An estimated 68 percent of sales reps spend time on everything but selling. Most often, 30 percent of their time is searching for the data they need and never find. The bottom line is that these people do not have effective lead management resulting in poor lead quality.

The feeling is that too many salespeople, at too many companies, are failing to use the same strategies and resources that buyers have become experts in. It is a big disadvantage, but one that can be completely avoidable. There are several steps that the salesperson can use to take that step toward the age of the connected sale. The resources at hand include the Internet, social media, mobile customer relationship management (CRM), analytics and collaboration. These can provide the salesperson with insight and content, which in turn gives them a clear direction to head in.

The telephone is still a major tool in businesses and there are a lot of lessons that can be learned from call analytics. This is a way of developing expertise and gathering advice on a better way of approaching the customer. Common sense remains to be the best route to take.

You want to listen to what the consumer is saying, but you also have to know when the call is going nowhere. Once the customer puts up that brick wall, known as the sales defense barrier, the salesperson is at a loss. On the flip side, the salesperson has to be able to convince the customers that they know what they are talking about and what the customer needs are, which they will be able to satisfy.

Connected selling is informed selling. The invaluable insight that can be gained helps salespeople to identify new opportunities, engage earlier, share relevant content, use everything they know to collaborate and close the deal. Always being connected everywhere, all the time has given the customer the advantage connected selling is a way for the salesperson to reclaim the lead.




Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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