Humanise the sales experience for better results

Humanise the sales experience for better results

Fundamental to success in any business is the ability to make sales so with this in mind just how is your business geared towards making sales?

Thinking about this does not mean you have to break out into sweat as to how you will go about this. It will come as no surprise how many people have (sometimes justifiably) negative feelings towards sales people and therefore this extends to the feeling of dread from business owners when it comes to the act making sales...but it doesn't have to be this way.

Having spent my entire 20+ year career in numerous sales roles it’s crazy to consider just how far we have come in terms of what it takes to become successful. We all have many stories of when selling has gone badly for us, but how about when it has gone well? As a consumer I'm always impressed by a seamless sales process whereby I've felt good about a purchase I've made and more often than not the whole sales interaction has always started way sooner than I've ever anticipated. It's with this in mind I wanted to explore the act of selling a little further and consider how the process can be made to feel more engaged, connected and human to ensure the best results for all, which will hopefully reduce anxiety that is commonly felt around the topic.

The internet is awash with sales statistics that will stop you in your tracks to illustrate this point. For instance you will have heard that as a result of the internet anywhere between 70% and 90% of the purchase decision is made before a buyer engages with a sales person (the number varies of course according to the source of the information).

This means that the whole process has been disrupted and never has it been more important to align the sales and marketing functions in accordance with the buyer's journey. Every touch point must be designed to create a positive experience so that customer conversions follow naturally rather than having to employ pressure tactics that cause many to baulk when they think of selling and sales people.

The downside is that it now takes a lot more work, effort and investment to deliver these positive touch points however the upside is that once developed and embedded the business development process becomes scalable (so that you can train your team to achieve better outcomes) and the resulting revenue opportunities are sustainable. Furthermore, by taking a longer and more strategic approach the less likely your offer is to become commoditised whereby you have to discount to get the deal.

So now instead of breaking a sweat when picking up the phone you will have confidence in the process and speaking with the buyer feels like an enjoyable conversation rather than a combative call.

One organisation that has really indoctrinated these trends with great effect is Hubspot. On reaching the eureka state and noticing how sales interactions have evolved since I was a fledgling rep, I identified the need to partner with an organisation that would help me achieve my goals. My wishlist was to find a partner who could help me create a sustainable business development model that would enable me to better serve my clients going forward.

If you run the clock back a few months you would have never anticipated that we would be enduring the ground swell that is the covid-19 pandemic meaning that our priorities have shifted since the year began. Simply surviving the commercial impact and keeping our heads above water means we are doing something well. Never has it been more important to reach out and make the buying experience more human and that is why I jumped at the chance to participate in Hubspot's “Lions” Pipeline Generation Programme.

Core to the programme is how we reach out and connect with those businesses we can help. As mentioned previously our priorities have changed and the ability to get our prospects attention is becoming increasingly challenging so during the programme we were challenged to do exactly that and consider how we can cut through the noise.

If I was to consider my key takeaways they are:

1. Understanding the lizard brain. The one thing sales people fear is making the first call, how do you get the buyer’s attention and gain permission to proceed with the conversation? Well the first consideration is the opener and this is a key element that gets drilled into us.

2. Not giving up too early. To cite some industry statistics:
  • 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up. [Source: Scripted]
  • The average sales person only makes 2 attempts to reach a prospect. [Source: Sirius Decisions]
  • 80% of sales require 5 follow-up phone calls after the meeting. [Source: The Marketing Donut]
As we know this stuff, why are we still not adhering to these insights? Success only comes from execution - it’s not enough to simply know this stuff.

3. Leveraging advances in technology. We know that the evolution of technology has served to increase barriers between human interaction but this does not have to be the case.

Thanks to the opportunity to participate in the programme I now have a full kit of cool tools that will increase my levels of insight and improve productivity going forward. What’s more, I can share them with my clients and business networks.

It’s not only that I believe that by signing up to the programme I have put myself in a great position to succeed in my business ventures going forward (which of course is my main priority). It’s also the knowledge that I am supporting my business ecosystem which is some way I can make a contribution during these challenging times thus supporting my mission to improve the prosperity of my wider community.

After all if we create a society where everyone benefits then surely we all win! Who does not want that?

So what steps have you put in place to enhance the sales experience? How is this helping you to get better results?

Thanks for reading and feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.

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