World-renowned author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek once said “people don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.” This is the fundamental aspect of sales, to get consumers to patronize your product.
But persuading a customer to buy your product is only the beginning of the sales process. Sales has evolved over the years, becoming a complex game of chess between you and your leads. In this introduction to sales, we’ll discuss the different factors and processes involved in sales to help you “checkmate” your target audience and keep your existing consumers.
What is Sales?
Sales is essentially problem-solving. You sell a product that people might need, or a product that people can live without. The challenge of becoming a true entrepreneur is more evident in the latter. An effective salesperson gets people to buy what they don’t want or need and that applies to any service, whether it’s a coworking space or even an anti-hacking mobile app.
The Evolution of the Sales Process
The sales process changed drastically over the past 30-40 years. Now more than ever, customers are in control, making 70% of buying decisions before you contact them. This shows that consumers know what they’re paying “good money” for, making it difficult for you to sell something outside their spectrum of wants and needs.
The ways of selling changed as well. Before, there were only two main methods of selling but the emergence of the Internet and social media disrupted the status quo, becoming the third most recognized way of selling. Basically, the three ways of selling are:
- Direct (You --> Customer)
- Channel (Someone else --> Customer)
- Digital/Social (Inbound. Digital medium → Customer)
Better equipped companies and entrepreneurs are also more likely to sell now compared to 90s and 2000s. In those decades, a salesperson’s relationships, skill, and tenacity were the main conversion points, clocking in at 70% as the most effective selling metric.
Today, those qualities account for only 30% of sales, with sales and marketing tools, systems, and streamlined methodologies making up more than 70%. Luck is also a metric, but never had as much impact as the other two attributes.
Marketing and Sales: Better Together
Marketing is now a crucial factor in the modern sales process, streamlining entire systems by prospecting and pre-qualifying leads. Marketing teams also focus on generating leads, building the company product and overall image, and creating more opportunities for sales. Integrating marketing with sales also makes prospect and resource management easier.
Expect your expenses on marketing and sales materials to match (or even exceed) product development costs. This allows you to start collecting and analyzing consumer data via marketing systems early on, improving the sales process later in the consumer lifecycle.
Sales is an ever-evolving process. You should always adapt to any new challenges that result from the evolution of sales, but remember that understanding the fundamental principles is always key in selling any product or service. Click on the link below to learn about the steps included in today’s sales process and how to maximize each one.
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