The art of selling has gone through a few rounds of improvements, and it continues to evolve today. This continuous change is jointly attributed to the similarly evolving customer lifecycle as well as the maturation of sales team technology. As many already know, collaboration technology has revolutionized sales strategies, processes and initiatives – from lead generation to product knowledge to training sales representatives. But, it wasn’t always like that.
Recently, we stumbled across a great infographic by sales automation and lead management software provider Velocify that spells this all out for us. In an effort to explore how sales team collaboration became what it is today, we delve a bit deeper to see what the process used to look like, as well as what it might look like in the future.
The Past: From the “Mad Men” Era to the 21st Century
From the 1950s-1970s – or what many like to call the age of advertising – the selling process endured some serious changes. For fans of the AMC hit “Mad Men,” this is the economy of which Don Draper and Co. worked to secure big business by implementing many traditional – albeit fundamental – sales strategies, such as direct calling and targeted advertising. These were the kinds of tactics that began to peak thanks to the advent of modern technology. Once selling transitioned from personal, face-to-face interactions to the phone, sales teams were inevitably forced to begin to better understanding their consumers’ needs, as well as better relay the core competencies of their brands. During this time, sales teams had to fine-tune their pitches to resonate with consumer needs and preferences.
If you speed up to the 1990s and the 21st century, sales managers saw the rise of e-mail messaging for pitching, selling and capturing leads. Pioneered by companies like AOL and Yahoo!, the age of Internet adoption took flight, where sales teams began using e-mail and user profiles to offer custom-tailored discounts or incentives to prospects and existing customers. In fact, about 67 percent of customers are still willing to provide their e-mail address to a company to receive information about their discounts and/or promotions.
This period of time also marks the dawn of heightened consumer demand. Where customers used to have little to no autonomy in the selling process, they are now being personally addressed by brands and salespeople to help better seal the deal.
The Present: CRM, Automation, Social Media and More
From 2010 to the present day, we’ve seen selling strategies accelerate thanks to technologies like customer relationship management (CRM), social integration (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), sales intelligence – technologies (including CRM) for collecting, integrating and analyzing information to sell better – and sales automation.
According to the aforementioned infographic, today:
- 85 percent of mid-market companies use CRM to keep all of their prospect information in one place
- 77 percent of B2C companies have acquired customers through Facebook
- 61 percent of B2B marketers use social media channels to increase lead generation
- Intelligent sales automation is found to improve conversion rates by more than 400 percent
- 84 percent of top performing companies are currently using or are planning to use automation for sales
- Social media lead conversion rates are 13 percent higher than the average lead conversion rate
Today, it’s all about tailoring your sales team’s selling strategy to address each stage of today’s complex customer lifecycle. Today, about 70 percent of customers admit that they’ve stopped buying from a company after a bad service experience; 64 percent have made future purchases from a company’s competitor after a poor service experience; and 81 percent say they are willing to pay for a better service experience. Where the selling process once fully revolved around the salesperson, it now involves the customer having the ball in his or her court at all times.
The Future of Sales Collaboration
What can we say? The future of sales collaboration is looking brighter than ever. The sales landscape is expected to only continue to evolve as consumer preferences and expectations change. And with the rate at which technology is advancing and industries are growing, it seems the future of sales will only involve more talented salespeople, stronger sales strategies and more optimized results.
To see the infographic in full, click here.
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Photo generated by AMC's Mad Men Yourself.