Is your sales team on trend with sales transformation?

Is your sales team on trend with sales transformation?

It doesn’t seem long ago that we were heralding the arrival of CRM, with its promise to streamline sales processes, accelerate pipeline velocity and increase sales revenues. Now CRM goes hand in hand with the term ‘sales transformation’ and together they are promising to revolutionise sales.

What does ‘sales transformation’ mean?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines transformation as:

“a complete change in the appearance or character of something or someone, especially so that that thing or person is improved”

Would you agree that sales and selling have radically changed and improved in the last ten years? From an individual consumer’s perspective, I believe they have. Today we benefit from:

  • More information, thanks to the internet
  • More choice then we ever imagined
  • More competition, turning it into a buyer’s market

But a wide range of options also presents a challenge. We’re expected to make faster, smarter decisions because we’ve so much information available. However, on the contrary, we’re struggling to be decisive because there’s too much information. This digitally induced abundance impacts anyone who’s involved in the buying process:

  • We’re stagnating, faced with the sheer volume of information
  • We’re being forced to be more technically savvy
  • We need more and more time to research all our options

Do we still need sales professionals?

You might argue that with so much information available to both consumers and businesses, we don’t need sales people any more. Take my role as a CRM consultant, for example. I help companies select CRM systems to meet their business objectives and needs. With the plethora of information about CRM out there, you’d think this would reduce the amount of work there is for consultants like me.

It’s no secret that there are some great resources to help you select a CRM. You can review customer testimonials online, use comparison websites, and ask your friends for recommendations. In addition, the choice is vast when it comes to CRM. In no particular order, you can choose from Salesforce, Insightly, Zoho, Pipeliner CRM, PipeDrive and thousands more. And there’s plenty of healthy competition, which means you can find sophisticated CRM solutions with excellent features, regardless of your budget.

In spite of this, my website generates an increasing volume of leads. The problem is, that most people don’t have the time or inclination to find answers for themselves. They get to a certain point, but then they lose momentum. Maybe they generate a shortlist, based on CRMs recommended by friends or peers, but making a final decision still proves difficult. Often they wait until taking a decision becomes an imperative. I’m often contacted when my customers must send out a newsletter this week. Or when they recognise the performance of their on-premise CRM software is slowing them down just that bit too much. Or when they need web-to-lead forms to help track the success of a marketing campaign. Or when they have urgent reporting requirements to identify future trends based on past buying behaviour. Some urgent need drives them to finally take action.

Sales teams today help us drive change

Buying processes have clearly changed, and sales processes have had to evolve. Consumers and businesses now need an expert to guide them, perhaps even lead them. Sales professionals are no longer just talking about the products and services they sell; they are translating the needs of the customer into a comprehensive solution. They are acting as Ambassadors of change. And therein lies the transformation.

Much of my consulting time is spent acting as a filter for prospective and current customers. I help organisations define their real need. Sometimes they may not know what they need or what would be good for them. Usually they’re unaware of all the options. So the sales process is more about helping them test their assumptions and visualise how new products and services can benefit them. I also find some customers benefit from more handholding and encouragement to help them see that transforming the way they do business is not as hard as it seems. My role is to clarify their vision and help them produce a plan, by breaking it down into clear steps that are doable and manageable.

Selling is about transforming, not transacting

Selling today is no longer about transactions – it’s about transformation. Regardless of what we’re selling, it has to make a demonstrable difference to a client’s business to merit our customer’s attention. Bombarded by information from all sides, our customers are easily distracted. So, as sales ambassadors, we need to take responsibility for helping our customers focus on their goals and helping them progress quickly towards them. Sales transformation is more than a change in the way our sales teams work – it’s the way we transform the business of our customers.

References:
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/transformation

Vanessa Hunt

Vanessa Hunt

Vanessa is Director at Vanessa Hunt Consulting. Her forte is helping businesses and non-profit organisations improve their sales and marketing. Educated at Exeter University and graduating in French and German, Vanessa has been a training consultant to many of the world's leading tech businesses, focusing more recently on helping organisations realise the value of their CRM platforms.