Over the past few weeks we have taken a close look into the era of traditional sales and sales here and now. As you have seen the sales world has continuously evolved, and the digital revolution is only the beginning. Today we have come to the final installment of Qotients three part series on the era’s of sales, where we will take a glimpse at what the future has in store in the world of sales.
VIRTUAL REALITY (VR)
Samsung’s recent release of the Galaxy Gear VR, a lightweight, wireless headset compatible with Galaxy smartphones, has the potential to change the sales world as we know it today (Samsung, n.d.). VR technology could enable sales managers to improve the way they run their sales team, as well as enhance the overall performance of salespeople.
In the past the role of the sales managers was go-to problem solver, resulting in distraction from primary tasks. A sales manager’s main focus was solving the problems of their sales teams, unable to intervene and provide assistance when a salesperson needs it most. As a result of the digital revolution salespeople are no longer the go-to problem solvers, but a sales engineer, coaching and mentoring their salespeople to success. With the aid of VR technology sales can be transformed.
Next Level Sales Coaching - Providing sales teams with a virtual training world.
Content Immersion - Salespeople will be armed with a whole new form of virtual content.
Providing the ‘Ultimate Experience’ - Salespeople can offer buyers with a ‘try before you buy’ experience.
For an in depth look on how we think virtual reality technology has the potential to enhance the sales world, take a look at the full Virtual Reality & Sales blog.
In the past sales was seen as the activity of selling products and services, and believed that value to a buyer was in the purchased product or service. Over time a buyer’s perception of value started to evolve as a result of the digital revolution. Today value is no longer seen in the product or service itself, but in the solution a product or service is going to provide, and the ongoing support that will be received.
But once again the role of sales will be revolutionized, selling will no longer be the activity of selling products and services, or a valuable solution. Sales will be transformed into a highly valuable collaborative service. Selling will become a service itself, where buyers no longer feel like buyers, but partners co-creating a valuable solution, grounded by four core principles (TEDx Talks, 2014).
Focus on the end, and not the means - Operating under a co-creation selling approach will mean effectively there is no such thing as a closed deal. However, deals will generally be considered as closed when buyers have obtained the value promised and achieved their end goal (Lemmens & Cuevas, 2015).
Turn buyers into active partners - In the past salespeople were taught that buyers were a target and nothing more. The role of the salesperson was to persuade targets into buying a vendor's product or service, once a deal was closed it was time to move on to the next target. As the digital era came around salespeople began to see that modern buyers did not want to be recognized as targets, they want a vendor-buyer relationship in which value and support is provided. The selling approach of today is the just the beginning of what we will be known as the value co-creation approach in the future.
Buyers will no longer be a target or the person on the other side of the table during a sales conversation, but an active partner. Collaborating with salespeople to co-create value in a product or services solution for their organization, resulting in a long-term vendor-buyer relationship (Lemmens & Cuevas, 2015).
Develop value propositions based on organizational capabilities - Salespeople will no longer focus on conveying a vendor’s value proposition to buyers, but will present vendor’s organizational capabilities. Salespeople and buyers will now work together to develop a strategy combining both vendor-buyer capabilities together in order to enhance performance and achieve a shared goal (Lemmens & Cuevas, 2015).
Focus on learning through discussion - The selling approaches of today focus on a salesperson’s ability to walk into a sales meeting with a pre-prepared agenda, knowing a buyer’s organization, specific pain points and solution requirements. However, the future of sales conversations will no longer rely on salespeople establishing a pre-prepared agenda which is used to drive a conversation forward. But a joint discussion, in which new capabilities are developed and “organizational practices and beliefs are questioned and creatively challenged” (Lemmens & Cuevas, 2015).
SALES & MARKETING COLLABORATION
Over time sales and marketing divisions have evolved from the silo effect to an aligned relationship. Today delivering a customized buying experience with the aid of digital sales enablement platforms is a tech vendors holy grail to reaching success. Digital sales enablement platforms are providing sales and marketing managers with the ability to connect content to specific stages in the buying process. Allowing each buyer to receive a seamless, customized buying experience (Hanington, 2015).
Connecting content to the buying process will no longer just be a sales technique, it will become an organization’s overarching sales strategy. Essentially an organization’s success will hinge on the ability of sales and marketing divisions to collaborate, working as one with a common goals and sole focus on buyers (Hanington, 2015).
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)
Technology is becoming more and more sophisticated, according to Olenski (2015) by 2025 artificial intelligence will have revolutionized the sales world once again, replacing the way salespeople currently sell. Artificial intelligence is only in the early stages of development. But over time it is expected with sales analytics and software AI will gather and craft customized emails for each specific buyer, addresses pain points and proposing valuable solutions. Although there have been rumors the role of a salesperson will vanish, automated technology and selling will still require the human touch. AI will ultimately provide sales organizations with the ability to automate the routine tasks, enabling salespeople to do what they do best, sell (Olenski, 2015).
Overall, the future of sales is effectively the digital revolution 2.0, enhancing the sales world even more. An era with the emergence of more sophisticated technology, with a core focus on virtual automation, co-creation and artificial intelligence. So, that brings us to the end of our journey through the era’s of sales. Over the past few weeks we have taken a close look into traditional selling, the digital revolution and today a glimpse at the future.
Hanington, J,. (2015, October 7). 3 Key Predictions for the Future of Sales and Marketing Alignment. Retrieved from http://www.pardot.com/blog/3-key-predictions-for-the-future-of-sales-and-marketing-alignment/
Lemmens, R,. & Cuevas, J,. (2015, April 13). From Selling to Co-creating the emergence of a new paradigm in sales? Retrieved from http://www.sales-initiative.com/opinions/from-selling-to-co-creating-a-new-paradigm/
Olenski, S,. (2015, October 19). The Future Of Sales Is AI: Are Your Sales Teams Prepared? Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2015/10/19/the-future-of-sales-is-ai-are-your-sales-teams-prepared/#12eabc244ae9
Samsung. (n.d.). Samsung Gear VR, Powered by Oculus. Retrieved from http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/wearables/gear-vr/