Disruptive technologies and big data has completely changed the way we observe, perceive and use information. A lot of people are left wondering if it’s time to say farewell to the old way of doing things. And while for many industries, that is true, traditional selling is not going anywhere.
Let’s chart how technology has really changed the sales industry. A decade ago sales was mainly about leveraging contacts to receive access to lists of potential prospects. This often led to thousands of cold calls, emails, door to door selling. Companies weren’t quantitatively charting their progress or collecting exclusive data to better understand the terrains. The growth models and the process wasn’t as cut out as it’s today. Sales funnels were a hit and miss as well.
The rapid globalization and technological transformations have changed that. Today most sales corporations use highly specialized and customized software to create better sales funnels, and growth models. Conclusive data helps companies understand what they’re doing right, where they’re going wrong, which areas need more work, and what kind of KPIs to set. CRM technology has cut work time in half, improved customer acquisition and retention, and helps keep a record of all leads.
And let’s not forget how internet marketing and AI has transformed the playing field. Trends change fast. Inbound and insight selling is taking over customer sales processes. What about using market automation and social media to sell? You’ve got a buffet of options now, each targeting people a certain way.
Sales is fast becoming a hard science. We can specialize and nail down our processes using statistics and data science. We know exactly what works and what doesn’t. The gurus are raving about social selling and completely discounting traditional selling. Which brings us to the point of course.
Is traditional selling dead? Unequivocally? No.
What is sales really about? Connections. It’s about reaching human emotions, understanding the needs of people and responding accordingly. Every salesperson is selling a solution. Some a miracle. We swoop in like superheroes and save the day for people. Technology hasn’t changed that. All it has done is enhanced the process. Changed the way we reach people. Not the way we connect with them. CRM technology is great for workforce alignment and customer relationship building. But beyond that? CRM cannot gather the data for you, neither can it bring in the leads or relevant customer information you need. That’s all on you.
You can use social media and other forums to reach prospects today instead of going through the wringer of a hundred calls a day, but that’s only the initial contact. Post that you have to use your words and actions to convince the prospect and turn him/her into a customer. And that is where modern selling techniques stop. You’re back to the traditional drawing board. And if you fail to create an emotional connection for the prospect to convert, all your number crunching and analyses go down the drain.
Most people today put modern selling and traditional selling in two different categories. But that’s a mistake. Modern selling builds on traditional selling. An experienced traditional sales professional is still as valuable as he was years ago. It’s his ability to charm, convince, and convert his prospects that count. It all really boils down to dialogues and handshakes.
Here’s an example of how you can integrate modern and traditional selling.
Let’s say you’re selling a solution for garden pests. In the past, you would’ve made calls, or gone door to door, or reached people through emails or big billboard advertisements.
Today you can use internet tools and social media to gauge your target audience, understand their needs, desires, and study consumer behavior.
Leverage that knowledge to create a pitch or advertisement with a specific tone, branding, and call to action that resonates with the people you want to reach. Great visuals about garden pests? An infographic? Or can you create an animation video or compelling copy that gets your point across and engages your prospects?
The data and social media are really the cherries on top. What you’re really doing here is, using very specific words to reel in your prospect base.
You can also use the same information to understand their problems better and sell them a solution they didn’t realize they needed before you pointed it out.
B2B and B2C Sales Engines are still built on human contact. Are numbers important? They’re crucial. But a good sales professional is still the one who uses emotional tethers, charisma, and empathy to forge and sustain lasting customer-client relationships. Technology will never replace traditional selling. Its job is to complement it.