Time flies when you are having fun.
Having been in sales for three decades or so, I sometime lose track of just how much has changed in the lives of sales professionals and, born out of necessity, our sales training workshops and seminars. Comparing our company to just a decade ago, there have been some pretty marked changes.
Here are a few big ones.
Social media explosion
Ten years ago, Facebook was seldom used by businesses. YouTube was mostly cat videos and other silly content, and Twitter was only months old and viewed as pretty weird with its 140 character limit. At the time, LinkedIn finally managed to turn a profit after 4 years in operation, but still only had 4.5 million users, as compared with over 330 million today.
Since then, these platforms and others like them have transformed the way we sell, and new disciplines called ‘content marketing,’ ‘inbound marketing,’ and ‘social media marketing’ were born. Brands became publishers, uploading billions of tweets, blog posts, videos, status updates, pictures, infographics, podcasts, and more to the web, with the hopes of building audiences and eventually, sales.
A lot of companies are still trying to figure it out, so we have added social media modules to our corporate sales training seminars to meet the demand.
Loss of buyer control
A tremendous shift has occurred in sales thanks to the internet: salespeople are less relevant to buyers early in the buying process. Rather than rely on salespeople for information, buyers are researching products and services on the web and contact salespeople much later in in the buying process.
The good news is that by the time a prospect contacts you, they are already pretty well informed on your product or service – saving time.
The bad news is that by losing early control of the buyer, they can go anywhere to buy without you getting the chance to prove you are a better choice than the competition.
At Asher, our sales training workshops and seminars teach how to better reach those buyers early in the buying process, so you can prove your value as a knowledgeable salesperson and RAMP them up to a sale.
Technology keeps changing the art of salesmanship, and one of the most important changes has been marketing automation. This has reached the point where you can arrive at an airport, get within 100 yards of a Starbucks, and receive a notification on your phone welcoming you to the city and offering you a steep discount on coffee if you stop by now.
One caveat: sales training seminars should emphasize that while automation can help you push people along your sales process or funnel in powerful ways, you must retain the human connection with an occasional call or handwritten note, and not leave it all up to software.
Finally, our corporate sales training seminars today deal with serving foreign populations more than ever before.
Globalization means that we, and the people we train, must sell to different cultures – and the practices certain populations employ when doing business can seem quite alien to us.
Asher sales training workshops and seminars take note of all the markets that client companies do business with, and devote some time towards educating on the nuances of those markets and tips for landing business with them.
There are actually a few more changes I could talk about (smartphones, APQ, Crystal Knows, LinkedIn prospecting, Account Based Marketing), but these will be the topic of future blog posts.