A sales evolution is upon us. That was the core message we took from the recent Selling Power Sales 3.0 Conference. Fittingly, the conference took place in historic Philadelphia, the place of many revolutionary acts. It is where the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution were both signed (we’re sure you’ll thank us for that tidbit during an episode of Jeopardy). The Philadelphia conference was hosted in an intimate and stunning setting (The Ritz Carlton, which is beside the even more beautiful Philadelphia city hall) that lent itself well for networking, learning and collaboration.
This conference left us with some great insights that we’re excited to share, but first…
Sales 3.0? Sales Evolution? Huh?
Many of us will recall a time when selling required going door-to-door and looking through the phone book for names to call. That was sales 1.0. The internet and the rise of computers, social media, applications and mobile phones changed all that. Sellers had new ways of finding, researching and connecting with buyers. Buyers became more empowered with the amount of information readily available to them and engaged with sellers much further along the sales process - when they were ready. That was sales 2.0. Today, a third sales evolution is upon us. Big data, machine learning, and artificial Intelligence (AI) are emerging and coalescing as powerful forces – and in some cases, starting to do they buying and selling for us.
While this probably sounds great to buyers (Yay, no more research and sourcing vendors, a machine will do it for me!) and scary to those who sell (Eck, if a machine can do my job, am I out of a job?), the conference highlighted some important realities and insights of which we should not lose focus.
- It’s a Sales Evolution, not a Sales Revolution
Yes, technology is displacing some traditional sales roles that are mostly transactional or informational, but technology is no substitute for the salesperson who is consultative, can develop relationships, and be a . The sales role is as critical as ever. Technology is simply making the role more efficient and alleviating some of the more basic tasks.
- A Sales Mindset Shift is Needed
Who among us doesn’t feel increasingly overwhelmed by the number of things we need to accomplish in a day? We live in a fast paced, always connected, options and opinions laden world. Salespeople must shift their mindset from presenting the features and benefits of their product or service to how they can be a strategic partner that provides value and insight.
- Advanced Sales Skills are More Critical than Ever
With technology displacing many basic sales tasks, and customers are demanding more value from their interactions, organizations need to equip their salespeople with an advanced set of sales skills to be successful. Salespeople need to be able to become trusted advisors to their customers, otherwise when someone else does, they will choose them. Salespeople need to be able to effectively differentiate their product or service from the competition, or risk losing. Salespeople need to be able to empathize and develop relationships with their customers, or risk being blinded-sided.
- Facts or Stories – What Sells More?
In a conference full of technological solutions that help salespeople find customers faster and complete daily activities quicker, stories, and the use of them by salespeople, stood out as a unique way for salespeople to connect with customers. In all transparency, the session on stories was delivered by our very own Catherine Kerr, a highly impactful senior facilitator at DoubleDigit Sales, but nonetheless the session stood out in contrast to the others. It was a good reminder that although technology is ubiquitous, we still need to connect and engage meaningfully with people, and when we’re doing so, one way to make a lasting impression is with stories. So, facts or stories? What sells more? STORIES. If you’re interested in watching her session to learn more about the power of stories you can watch it here. You can also find out more about incorporating stories into your sales process here.
- Leverage Modalities to Sustain and Reinforcement Learning
There’s a reason we all gather in schools to learn – it works. However, we also know that different people learn differently and incorporating different modalities to sustain learning is important. Some people learn best by reading, others by watching and listening, others by practicing. Some people learn best in the morning, others at night, and other people simply don’t have time and need to learn on the go. The message is clear though, learning is a journey, not an event, and to reinforce and sustain learning, multiple modalities need to be considered because everybody learns differently.
There you have it, our top insights from the most recent Sales 3.0 Conference. If you couldn’t attend, we highly recommend attending the next conference in San Francisco from March 12-13th. As always, if you have any questions about the conference or how we might be able to partner with you in this new era of sales, don’t hesitate to ask.