We are now in the digital age. So, what does it mean for sales teams?
It means the way that buyers buy and sellers sell is changing.
But the key question is, have you? What about your competitors, have they?
And is who you're selling to changing?
What is creating the need to change your sales strategies?
There are three things creating the necessity to replan your sales tactics and invest in your sales tech stack if you want to stay competitive in this modern sales landscape.
- Shift in buying channels: COVID drove many buyers to use online channels to purchase products. More than a year on, this type of behavior remains popular for all stages of the buying cycle.
- Data is still the gold: Vast amounts of business data are created daily. To be successful, salespeople need to find a way to navigate this and identify a clear course of action.
- Ideal buyer segment: Millennials now represent a majority of the workforce. Born between 1977 and 1997, this generational group is the new breed of buyers and acts very differently from Boomers.
Are Millennials the key revenue drivers for your business? Does your sales team have a personalized sales plan for this generation?
Before developing a generation-specific strategy, your sales team find answers to these questions:
Why are Millennials so different from Boomers?
The crucial thing to remember is that Millennials have witnessed some of the most significant technological changes in the past 100 years. These seismic changes have heavily influenced their behavior. The world changed when the internet was born in the early 1990s; in the late 90s, instant messenger platforms launched, the first social media platform, MySpace, went live in 2003, and the first smartphones were introduced in 2007.
All of these changes come together to create an informed, confident, connected, diverse generation in its thinking and values immediacy.
How do Millennials differ from Boomers?
Before planning to sell or pitch to a buyer of any generation, every salesperson must be aware of what traits shape their purchase preferences and why they are not alike, especially on the technology front.
- Millennials are digital natives: Millennials prefer to self-serve as opposed to being fed with information. They will do their own research using multiple sources.
- Boomers are relationship-focused: Unlike boomers, millennials are far more transactional in their relationships since they know they can find other vendors online.
- Millennials are less trusting of salespeople: They value the independent opinions of other customers and users above sales recommendations.
- Millennials have shorter attention spans: They are used to having everything at their fingertips, dislike having to wait, and have high expectations.
What do Salespeople need to do differently to sell to Millennials successfully?
Mostly, sales reps without a proper strategy would just pick up the phone and call millennials with a direct sales pitch. Should they expect a positive outcome from this call? Absolutely not.
Instead, equip your sales team with effective strategies to build meaningful and profitable relationships with prospects.
They should understand why they are calling them, which is the best way to reach out, what to say to them, and whether this is the right time to make contact.
- Communication channel: Understand what your Buyer's contact channel of choice is. You may prefer the telephone, but do they? Boomers may still appreciate direct calls, but millennials definitely want you to avoid phone calls. So, your salespeople need to analyze where they get the best response but also test other less conventional communication channels like SMS or WhatsApp.
- Purpose of conversation: Have a valid reason to contact that helps the Buyer. Gartner reports that 44% of millennials prefer no sales rep interaction in a B2B setting. So, ask your sales reps to offer something valuable in return. It could be an insight into their business, market trends, new technologies, or products. But the key is that it's not enough just to contact them to sell; they're highly attuned to filter out sales messages.
- Condense your message: Today, we're all being bombarded with thousands of messages each day. To maximize your chances of landing the sale, get to the point quickly and spend the rest of your time influencing.
- Align to their needs: Understand what your buyers' timescales are. Your interpretation of ASAP might be significantly different from theirs.
Does this sound like something your sales team is up to?
Are they equipped with the right intelligence tools to strategize and ask the right questions at the right time to the right people? There is no shortcut to this, but there is a secret weapon that not many businesses are using just yet.
The secret weapon? Guided Selling...
If this information leaves you feeling flat, here's some good news. Your sales team, too, can use technology to its advantage. Enter Guided Selling.
What can guided selling do for your sales team?
Guided Selling equips salespeople with customer and product-level sales trends and missed selling opportunities while identifying a salesperson's next logical step. It makes your sales team agile and sales-ready.
How does guided selling generate sales insights?
The approach relies upon technology to collect data from multiple sources, such as sales data from an ERP system and customer information from a CRM platform. The output is an insightful guide for each sales transaction, making your non-adaptive sales process intelligent and adaptive. It moves beyond what Gartner refers to as 'foundational analytics,' comprising integrated data markets and clean data, towards providing empowering real-time insights that aid decision-making for sales leaders. Learn more about Guided Selling and how sales-i can help.
How does Guided Selling help in selling to Millennials?
Deploying this insightful modern approach has three clear benefits specific to selling to Millennials:
- Valuable insights: AI-guided Selling enables you to tell the Buyer something that they may not be aware of and is about themselves (or their business).
- Trust building: This piece of information is unbiased as AI has generated it.
- Driving revenue: AI-guided selling techniques can help sales teams prepare strategies to guide and influence millennials’ mutually profitable purchase decisions.
- Profitable relationship: They will be intrigued by the technology used to create such an insight, allowing you to prolong the conversation further.
Does it make you wonder if the role of the Sales is dead?
The short answer? No.
There will always be a role for Sales in B2B. With vast product ranges, often complex pricing, and fighting against a sea of competitors, the human element of Sales, personality, can tip the balance in a B2B sales conversation when everything else is equal.
But what it does mean is that Sales needs to evolve, and rather than continue to fight against technology, the clear answer is to embrace it and use it to make the sales process more effective and efficient.