The rise of the “expert” seller
It’s been coming for a few years and 2013 will see their recognition in the field of sales. The “expert” seller also known as the accidental salesperson.
Customers need expertise from salespeople; they need something of value compared to the old days. Adding value to the sales relationship has been sought otherwise the product or service that you’re selling will be commoditised and bought on the internet or via procurement software packages.
2013 will see the expert salesperson gaining in credibility and effectiveness as sales teams realise they need expertise as well as the ability to communicate, run a sales process and help the customer solve their problems, pains and challenges.
Salespeople will fuse into experts who sell.
Cloud based CRM
Cloud based CRM is not a new idea. CRM or Customer Relationship Management software has gradually migrated from desktops to the cloud. Once there, it changes everything.
Put simply, successful sales people and their managers run their business lives through their CRM software and they do it on the move. Using mobile devices – phones, tablets – salespeople can log their calls and visits, update the customer profiles, communicate, forecast their pipeline, chat to each other and keep focussed on their sales goals and activity. Meanwhile the sales managers and support teams can work alongside the salesperson to benefit the customer.
2013 will at last witness salespeople seeing the benefit. As a result, they’ll update the CRM more regularly than the past and reap the benefits.
The vast majority of websites are stationary, still, lifeless. Online video will see a considerable growth in 2013 in the field of sales and sales coaching. Online video is being increasingly consumed using mobile devices such as your phone or tablet, which makes it easier to view. Video can be put out on YouTube, websites, Facebook, Tweets and companies will want to seriously consider putting out more video in 2013. Not the stale corporate stuff but videos of the people, the humans behind the product and service.
More of us will be creating short snippets of video and letting their customer watch the video rather than read an email or written note. Proposals can be accompanied with a video of you talking through the key points or if a customer has asked for more information, send them a video showing how the product works or can help them. Not from the shelf but created fresh.
A new buzz word for 2013. Social, Local, Mobile. It means that customers want to consume from you in a social manner, using social media, locally, so bespoked to their personal needs and mobile, so they can use their mobile device to communicate with you.
This is a seriously scary trend brought about by mobile device popularity and their ability to locate wherever you are to a metre. Consumers want advertising to be local to them, delivered via their phone and done socially. So a parking ticket bought by your phone, ensures a pizza special deal is made available to you and your tribe. Coffee at the building society branch is available to you and a chance to chat through your loans, but only if you want to pop in, after all you’re only 10 metres away as you pass.
Bulk advertising, expensive TV commercials, mass mailings, eShots… all maybe a thing of the past!
Google Live Hangouts
This is a serious game changer for salespeople and sales managers. 2013 will see the move towards proper video conferences where people can look each other in the eye as they talk to one another; watch some body language and plenty of facial language to help communicate with each other.
Google hangouts works with their social media site – Google Plus – not as popular as Facebook but the same concept. You can start a hangout with anyone in your circles, up to 10 people and have a meeting, a conversation, a hangout with each other on screen. The videos of each person will be shown to everyone on the hangout. Everyone can talk, listen and enjoy.
You can also opt to have the whole thing live screened to YouTube. Suddenly the game changes. You can have as many people as you want view the hangout on your YouTube Channel and once it’s over, a recording will be automatically posted to your channel.
For sales managers I can see this technology being used to run sales meetings, run client meetings just like Webex is being used today. The main difference is video and the use of mobile devices, after all, Google + and YouTube needs no additional software. As salespeople merge into experts who sell, the live video can be used to demonstrate expertise, teach, educate and promote on a local level.
Watch this one; it’ll impact you in 2013.
The decline of email
Email use is declining and 2013 will see this trend accelerating. Viruses, Spam deluged folders haven’t helped but the greatest impact is on the younger generation’s use of email. They just don’t dig email.
It’s not going to disappear overnight and will remain hugely important but the message for 2013 is… discover another way to communicate online with your customers. This may be via social media or Socmed as it’s known, texing ironically works well, Skype, YouTube, phone.
I first heard the term in the 1970’s with the Dutch national soccer team. Total football it was known as, then total rugby came in the 1990’s. It means that everyone can play any position and helps the game to be quicker, more fluid and exciting to watch.
Total selling involves everyone in the organisation to be involved in the sales process and each person knowing what the other person is doing. The CRM helps here. More companies will train their staff in all aspects of the sales process and it’s they that will develop the competitive advantage.
Another new buzz word for the 2013’s – Gamification – taken from the burgeoning gaming market.
I was reading the Economist this week – the gaming industry is now worth $67 billion rivalling the movie industry. Games offer excitement, entertainment, challenge and the ability to win and it’s this Gamification that will effect selling and sales management in 2013.
How will the trend evolve. Communication with customers, whatever the means, will become more gamified and consumers will want their messages delivered in this way.
How much entertainment, reward and stickiness does you current communication provide to customers and sales teams alike?
In sales teams, sales managers will be considering how to gamify sales meetings, sales trainings, the annual conference, web meetings. In their new book “For the Win”, Werbach and Hunter argued that future communications can be enhanced by gamifying. Games have distinct ingredients and so will our messages.
I talk about WIPEing the message.
- W is for win, can the activity that you create to communicate allow them to win something?
- I is for instant feedback, how can the group players get instant feedback?
- P is for points or badges to signify progress and success and
- E is for excitement, which tells it’s own story
Sales people might be considering their sales messages to customers and how sticky these are? Particularly their online messages and communications, can they add an element of WIPE to the way it’s delivered. If they don’t others will and gain a competitive advantage.