Saying that the role of salespeople has become considerably more complex over the past 10 years is not anything new.
In reality the entire sales process went through a complete change of paradigm, that only few companies have deciphered and integrated. Those who think that adding last minute “digital tools” to old processes is enough might soon be sorry.
The sales model based on the classical seller/buyer relationship is outdated. The consequences on sales teams, sales field management and commercial performance are already visible, even if many want to believe that this phenomenon is only temporary.
All information about products, services, trends, that were once the property of the salesperson and his/her best entry door to clients, is available at everyone’s fingertip.
Purchasing managers and professional buyers focusing primarily on cost, tend to consider all products and services as commodities; internet is offering them a huge space where to compare suppliers, understand the benefits of the products or services, pick from and ultimately put more pressure on prices.
In these conditions why would a sales person even be hired to bring information that is already there?
How to differentiate yourself if your client knows more about your products, services, company and competitors than you?
How can the salesperson stand in front of his/her clients and bring a real added value, if he/she can no more bring crucial information?
Clients expect value of course but beyond a product or a solution that works, they want to see something AI cannot bring yet- values in action: respect, integrity, trust, confidence.
These values can be shown through at least 3 attitudes: understanding, sharing, standing.
Understanding: the future and thus, the survival of salespeople, resides first in their capacity to really understand the client’s organization and to find a coherent positioning in his value chain.
Sharing: it resides second in their ability to consider solutions from a systemic point of view, not from self-centered position. Client and seller can win together.
Standing: it resides third in the courage to stand for what is right for both sides, not only for the salesperson or his employer. This is the price to pay to gain real trust from clients and build partnerships.
Necessity knows no law: the salesperson has to step out of a relationship too often coercive to the customer, refrain from wanting to sell at all cost, develop new behaviours and reflexes, create a new approach based on collaborative work and shared results; then only, there might be a chance to close a deal. This is what deciders expect.