This post was originally written by Stephen Diorio on the Forbes Insights blog.
The sales profession is going through a transformation. Social, mobile, and digital media are helping buyers become better informed and raising their expectations. And the purchase process has become longer and more complex.
These forces are making selling more costly, collaborative, and consultative according to Joe Galvin, who is Chief Research Officer of the MHI Research Institute. “Its common knowledge there more people are involved in the decision. But our research shows that more importantly, a rising number of sales resources are now involved in complex opportunities. This results in a creeping increase in cost of sales and makes collaboration even more critical”
How can a sales executive drive growth in this environment? That is the $3 Billion dollar question Mr. Galvin and other sales performance experts in the rapidly growing growth consulting market are trying to answer for their clients. Over the past several years, the leading experts in the sales performance industry seem to have arrived at a general answer. Transforming sales performance will involve a combination of better training, better technology, and better customer content:
- Improving the business awareness of salespeople is critical because selling product features to more sophisticated buyers will not get results. Sales professionals must deliver compelling insights to differentiate themselves and communicate value to close business at premium pricing. So sales operations executives are looking to “value messaging” skills training to help their sales people communicate and influence buyer perceptions of value;
- Executives are looking at technology as a sales productivity lever and a “force multiplier” to supplement shrinking training budgets and reduce expensive face-to-face selling time. Most sales organizations are investing in social, mobile, and targeting technology to solve the problem. These sales enablement technologies make it faster and simpler for salespeople to find the right thing to say, to the right person, at the right time to advance the sale;
- Sales executives are starting to realize they need alot of well designed, targeted and organized selling content to fuel these modern selling systems. Content directly impacts their ability to achieve top line sales results. So sales operations and channel marketing teams are creating content that more directly supports sales conversations including: sales playbooks that assemble content relevant to a particular selling situation and validation content that demonstrates ROI and customer success.