Posted by Chris Handy ● August 31, 2015

How Today’s Connected Consumer is Changing the Sales Process

Scott Gillum, president of Gyro, said it best, “The traditional sales process is now obsolete. It’s time to follow the buyer’s journey.”

Organizations that haven’t revamped their sales processes to accommodate the new consumer are well behind the curve.

Today’s consumer is educated, researched, and more knowledgeable in products and services than they have ever been. How is your organization going to accommodate today’s buyer? Where do you start? 

Nearly 67% of the buyer’s journey is done digitally. Buyers can review services on Yelp, ask for opinions on social media, read your online product descriptions, and more importantly, research the competition instead of calling around. Businesses need to do their research on the modern consumer: their interests, values, and what they would want to know about the product before they buy.

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4 Things Consumers Value

To know the connected consumer, you must know what they value. Here are a few things:

  • Content –In Matt Kamp’s HubSpot blog article, he discusses five ways content helps make sales. Use content to not only educate consumers on your business, products, and services, but also to build trust and create conversations.
  • Expertise – Consumers are looking for you to know the ins and outs of a product or service, your business, the marketplace, and the competition. Consumers search for you on social media. They’re looking for expertise.
  • Connection –You’re no longer a salesperson to consumers. You’re a provider. Even after a sale, leave the door on social media open so consumers can continue to reach out for questions and feedback.
  • Response – A traditional 48-hour turnaround for getting back to a consumer is nonexistent. If consumers leave a message on your website, a comment on your blog, or send you a direct message on social media, they expect an immediate recognition and a response.

Skills and Characteristics Needed to Understand the Buyer’s Journey

Sales people must develop the following skills and characteristics to meet their customers where they are:

  • Content marketing experience: Sales people need to have some familiarity with content marketing and why it’s important in today’s age. Determining the right content needed to help the consumer get closer to buying decision is critical.
  • Adaptation: The changing consumer journey and buying process is putting traditional sales processes under a lot of stress. Sales people must be adaptive and accommodating to meet the new consumer needs.
  • Digital curiosity: The sales team shouldn’t leave it up to marketing to discover the latest digital trends and report back findings. Your customers are online! Develop a curiosity with how the web works, how people are getting their news, and why social media can be a lead generation tool.
  • Social media skills: It’s time to take social media seriously. Building social media profiles enables connections with prospects and customers. Browsing activity and your connections’ profiles give insight into the buying process and what motivates consumers to purchase.
  • Competitor intel: This is more than how another business value proposition differs from yours. This is how competitors follow the customer journey. What are they doing in the market? Connect with competitors on social media. See what they’re posting and what their followers are saying. 

The Fall of the Traditional Sales Process

Many traditional organizations are finding it very challenging to stay competitive in their industry. The landscape has changed and businesses must evolve their sales processes and thought leadership to align with consumer behavior. Give the consumers what they want and need or they’ll go somewhere else to get it.

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