Q&A: Define what sales will look like in 2018

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with Ashley Welsh &
Justin Jones

 

Define what sales will look like in 2018. 

The onslaught of technology as a competitive sales tool will continue to grow. Prospecting, email generation, predictive data about our customer’s needs and movements will be ever more sophisticated. Today’s sales professionals will be working to figure out how best to understand and use technology to outfox their competitors in gaining new customers.

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What’s the secret to engaging with today’s buyers?

One way to engage with today’s buyers is to figure out what they care about, not from analyst reports but from your own discovery. A sure bet about what they care about is their own customer’s experience. Focus your discovery on learning about your customer’s customer and then share that with the buyer. No one can argue with their customer’s experience – it is inherently interesting because it’s where business value is starts. 

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How does technology continue to change the sales game?

Our belief that technology will solve our sales challenges grows, but our focus and aptitude for human engagement will decline. The ability to connect human to human, and to notice what our customers care about will never decrease in value, however; our ability to do so, may. Sales professionals who continue to hone their ability to authentically connect with their customer, as well get smart about how best to use the latest technology, will win.  

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What are the attributes that today’s ideal salesperson must have?

Problem finder – Not just problem solver. The best salespeople work in partnership with their customers to first discover their customer’s problems before solving them versus coming in with a preconceived notion of what the problem is based on the solution they’re solving.

Trustworthy – It never goes out of style. In a world of relentless competition and savvy customers, trustworthiness is table stakes for a salesperson. 

Self Aware – Nobody likes to be sold to, and customers can sniff ingenuity a mile away. Self awareness regarding your style, how you’re perceived and how to surrender your self interest in service of your client, well, let’s just say you best figure that out.

Humble – At the end of the day, sales is a personal transaction. Arrogance has no place in creating an authentic connection. Humility and genuine interest in your customer is the name of the game.

Interested in multiple disciplines – Given our interconnected world, the more one can understand and be interested in the interconnections between various disciplines, the more interesting and valuable you become as a sales person.

Tolerant of Ambiguity – Our world is growing in complexity and ambiguity at a rate that is faster than our ability to adapt. If you can’t hang with ambiguity, it’s going to be a long ride.

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One way to engage with today’s buyers is to figure out what they care about, not from analyst reports but from your own discovery.

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What’s the best piece of advice you can offer for sustainable success in sales?

There are three pieces that we think are important to know. First, figure out what your customers and their customers care about, and let that be the beginning of your engagement with your customer. Second, get out of your seat and into the seat of your customer – find a way to walk in the shoes of your customer, which often requires leaving your desk. Third, make friends first – real friends. Creating relationships in order to sell something is shallow and will compromise your deal size. Make a genuine connection.

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