Saying the world of sales is rapidly changing is probably an understatement. With the arrival of Sales 2.0, sales reps are facing a whole new set of both opportunities and challenges.
What’s currently rocking the sales world?
1. The (big) data revolution
Sales hasn’t been exempt from the explosion in big data and data analytics. The new metrics being collected include analytical insights into sales performance and effectiveness. Data has long played a central role in sales, but today’s volume and complexity of data collection and analysis requires a higher level of quantitative and interpretative skills in order to translate numbers into actionable insights.
2. The rise of the empowered buyer
Francis Bacon said “knowledge is power” and these days, buyers hold a lot of power. For many customers, the quality of the sales experience has become more important than the product or service’s price and features. This has meant a corresponding switch from a transactional selling focus to a more relationship-building approach.
3. The arrival of insight selling
Sales experts have declared the age of solution selling is dead, in large part because the empowered buyer already knows which solutions are available for their needs. This next big thing is insight selling, which involves providing the customer with “disruptive insights into their business—and offering unexpected solutions.” These types of insights require creativity, adaptability, and an ability to research and analyze the marketplace.
4. Selling goes inside
IDC’s Sales Advisory Service research indicated there was a greater than 10% increase in inside sales from 2010 to 2011, with more than half the companies polled intending to increase their inside sales teams in 2012. Reported in the HBR, a 2013 survey of more than 100 VPs of Sales found that 46% reported a shift from a field sales model to an inside sales model mainly due to “the increasing pressure on business performance and profitability.” One sales executive interviewed believes inside sales “requires persistence, research, and back end work.”
These developments have immediate implications for sales hiring and training. Sales leaders should be looking for sales reps who know how to analyze and interpret data and who can provide innovative and disruptive insights to empowered buyers.
If your organization isn’t adapting your sales hiring practices accordingly, you’re in danger of being left behind.
Have you jumped on the sales hiring 2.0 bandwagon yet? What do you think?
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