One job that has changed significantly since 2000 is that of salespeople… and this is just the start!
Just like other areas in company operations (accounting, payroll, production, etc.), salespeople need to make allowance in their job for changing technologies and mindsets.
What we will define as the concept of “SalesPerson 2.0” can be illustrated by the use of modern tools for greater efficiency, to save time, while enhancing the relationship aspect in sales.
Sales 2.0 also means structuring the sales process to move from “improvised” sales to a more rational, better structured sales process.
This way sales move from being based on person to person exchanges (face-to-face meetings, phone calls, physical networking, etc.) towards multiple channel sales (emails, phone calls, text messages, meetings, social media, etc.) with far more information available to both salespeople and buyers.
This change will not therefore “uberize” the salesperson’s job, with salespeople being completely replaced by virtual agents, eBusiness sites, telemarketing… but there will be a change in job focus towards greater efficiency, with a human touch where it is needed.
Besides, as prospects become better informed, a salesperson will need to learn to better justify their offer and position themselves as a solution provider… and not just a product reseller.
From SalesPerson 1.0 to SalesPerson 2.0
Before listing the new tools for use by SalesPerson 2.0, we need to take a look back in time and analyse the latest changes affecting a salesperson’s job.
Fifteen years ago, SalesPerson 1.0 had the following standard equipment:
- A paper order book
- A paper appointments diary
- A notebook for notes
- A calculator for price calculations
- A car to get to their appointments
- A phone on their desk in the office and a mobile phone when on the road
- Paper versions of product datasheets, sales pitches, etc. to hand over to prospects and customers
- Business cards
- Post-It stickers
Five years ago, SalesPerson 1.5 had already taken a first step towards computerisation, with:
- A laptop PC or tablet with a CRM system, PDF datasheets, video content, etc.
- A smartphone with their email messages, appointments schedule, a built-in calculator, etc.
- A mini Bluetooth printer for printing out documents.
- And of course they still had a stock of business cards and paper brochures
The next change is to SalesPerson 2.0, with tools and methods designed to improve everyday efficiency.
Now let us discover a selection of 11 tools for moving towards SalesPerson 2.0.
1-Professional Social Media
Professional social media is a must for gaining information on a prospect before making contact.
It lets you:
- Find out more about them (centres of interest, educational background, previous positions, etc.) so that you can adapt your pitch. This can also be used to find mutual acquaintances for a recommendation.
- To find out more about a company and especially about company organisation so as to identify the decision makers.
Tools available: LinkedIn.com (more high tech oriented, more modern) & Viadeo.com (more French and more SME oriented), or Xing.com (German speaking).
Tip #1: Use LinkedIn to contact and add new contacts (influencers, distributors, reporters, etc.), to identify prospects who only have only stated an email address…This should become your “interactive address book”.
Tip #2: Target your prospecting using the LinkedIn search engine (by profession, theme, etc.) before contacting people (possibly using a LinkedIn Sales Navigator account to gain access to more search criteria and more internal messages). And if you cannot find enough ways to link with someone, you can always contact them via another more open social media like Twitter.
Tip #3: Synchronise your company blog, Twitter account… with your LinkedIn account so that you regularly send out news to your network.
2–A mobile CRM
More and more companies use a CRM. Having a computer version is one thing, but a Mobile version is more important for everyday effectiveness (on the move, in meetings…) so that you can quickly record information (taking product photos, taking orders, entering notes between two appointments, etc.).
Tools available: Salesforce, Microsoft CRM, Sugar CRM, Zoho CRM, Efficy CRM, etc.
Tip #1: Use SideKick from Hubspot, or simply use your CRM to track email opening (e.g. quotes sent out, sales brochures…) to call a contact with all of your information to hand. As an alternative, you can create a custom URL via the Google URL Generator, and create a shortcut via Bit.ly.
Tip #2: Automatically send messages to your prospects after X days (e.g. a quote reminder), via applications like Boomerang (linked to Gmail).
Every salesperson now has a smartphone to gain access to the CRM, to emails, to appointments… when on the move. So it is essential to use 100% of the smartphone’s potential and not just email or meeting scheduling.
Tools: an iPhone, an Android phone (Samsung…), the new BlackBerry PRIV running Android and with a pull-out keyboard…
Tip #3: Schedule time in your diary for action after an email, an appointment… This way you won’t forget anything and you won’t be overwhelmed by the tasks to perform.
4–Intelligent databases (Sales Intelligence solutions)
Intelligent databases or Sales Intelligence solutions let you improve your relations with your contacts and detect sales opportunities by analysing information published on the web. This kind of solution keeps you aware of your prospect’s news, any changes in the context around them and even lets you detect new leads by identifying business signals in your key market (via appointments, buyouts, funding announcements, product launches…).
Tip #1: Use alerts (appointments, changes in jobs, funding announcements, etc.) to call your prospects, re-contact a customer… These notifications all give you an excuse to expand on a relationship (i.e. the principle of a so-called “Warm Call”).
Tip #2: Set up alerts on strategic key words (e.g. jobs, solutions…) to identify potential prospects to contact.
The Sparklane for Sales solution is available on all media.
5–Multi-terminal Note Taking
With ever more numerous sources of information and ever more data to process, it is essential to centralise your information, notes, emails, etc. Tools for taking notes are used to save time when looking for information, based on two kinds of methods. Either a “mass” recording of data followed by the use of a smart search engine, or manually sorting information into related entities for a more structured classification.
Tip: Using Evernote premium you have a full text search tool that looks for keywords, even in PDF files. The classification work is simplified and you will easily find your information, expense filings, etc.
Find more on the 11 SalesPerson 2.0 tools in the second part of this article which appears in the blog tomorrow.