Following is an excerpt from CI columnist Daniel L. Newman’s e-book, “New Rules of Customer Engagement.” Check back each week as we share a glimpse of his descriptions of each of the six trends that he says are redefining how integration sales professionals must deliver solutions for their clients. The e-book is scheduled to be unveiled in conjunction with NSCA’s Business & Leadership Conference, Feb. 27 to March 1, at the Four Seasons in Dallas.
Did you know a client needs to be exposed to a message three to five times before they will trust it? That’s according to a 2012 survey performed by Edelman.
How often do your sales executives get three to five shots at making a sale?
In today’s rapidly growing technology driven marketplace, consumers are doing more of their own research and that is creating a major shift for sales people. Most notably, it is changing the point in the sales cycle where sales professionals even enter the conversation. The effects of this are critical.
How Information Creates Late Sales Entry
In the hay day of sales, the client would have their “trusted advisor” that would come in and guide the organization’s technology adoptions.
New Rules of Customer Engagement, an e-book for sales professionals (and their bosses)
CI columnist Daniel L. Newman’s book is being showcased on Commercial Integrator. Check back weekly for excerpts:
1/10—Intro: Redefining the Sales Process
1/17—Trend 1: How Informed Consumers are Changing Everything
1/24—Trend 2: Why Your Response Time Must be Faster: The Impact of Immediacy on Customer Experience
1/31—Trend 3: Getting Creative: Your Business Value Lies In Your Creativity
2/7—Trend 4: The Role of The Human Network; Your Human Network
2/14—Trend 5: Don’t Sell Me. Show Me! Selling More by Driving Outcomes and Advocacy within Your Client Organizations
2/21—Trend 6: Customer Experience Trumps Everything Else You Do: Why Mediocre is the New Bad and Extraordinary Must be the Ordinary
The expectations of this trusted advisor were that they knew what technology was out there, they had access to demonstration of product, they would offer competitive/fair pricing and, of course, they were able to install the technology once it was procured.
With this set of priorities it made the role of the sales person invaluable to the organizations they served. They were needed to enter the sales process very early so they could help with needs analysis, introduction and vetting of products and ultimately the sale and implementation.
For technology sales this has done a 180 in the past few years. Tech buyers are now engaging with on average more than 10 pieces of online content prior to even starting their process of sourcing a supplier. This means they are about 70 percent into their buying decision prior to including a sales person.
Does this trend impact your business?
Think about it. Are your customers more or less often dictating the technologies they want implemented when you are brought in to deliver a proposal?
If the answer is “more,” you are likely experiencing the effects of the more informed customer that is doing more of their own research through online and social networking. This shift unfortunately means your role as trusted advisor might be less substantial than it once was.
That doesn’t mean you should give up; it means you should change the way you approach this new breed of consumer.