Modern consumers are more educated and informed than ever before thanks to technology that brings them information quickly and with greater transparency.
Research indicates that the average buyer typically completes 60-90 per cent of their decision-making process before even engaging with a sales professional. Given that buyers are initiating the sales process without any help from sales professionals, organisations, especially those selling in a B2B space can be largely impacted.
To remain competitive, RSM Bird Cameron recommends that companies should know their customers, move out of their comfort zone, and empower their sales teams.
1. Know your customer
Engaging in today’s social business world starts with recognising changes in buyer communication patterns, product knowledge and online behaviour. Businesses must first understand why and how to engage with the educated consumer to be able to adapt to, and meet their needs.
Andrew Graham, Director and National Head of Business Solutions at RSM Bird Cameron explains that evolving consumer behaviours are changing the face of the traditional business model with business owners no longer taking orders from customers. Success will only come to those that address the rapidly-changing sales environment head-on. For instance, organisations that have a solid understanding of their customers, especially about where they go to find information, and how they want to be engaged, will have a competitive edge. Those stuck in traditional selling methods with no consideration for the modern consumer will be left behind.
2. Move out of your comfort zone
Organisations are constantly challenged by the need to anticipate and interpret the dynamics of globalisation, while understanding its opportunities and risks.
According to Graham, organisations must move outside of their comfort zone and respond with the agile and progressive thinking necessary to succeed in an increasingly connected world. He explains that businesses have difficulty sustaining profitability in the long term because of their short-term focus on profit and loss. Many businesses prefer to cut costs instead of innovating and investing; however, they are only limiting their prosperity by not investing in growth or focusing on their capacity and capabilities. Productivity is a key area for improvement and most businesses need to look carefully at how they can innovate to increase efficiency and improve their competitiveness. Innovation, research and development are areas where Australian companies can be at an advantage.
3. Empower your sales team
Although traditional sales teams are at a distinct disadvantage in the current environment of globalisation, advanced technologies and an increasingly aware consumer, organisations that approach sales scientifically will continue to thrive.
For instance, successful sales professionals provide insight to customers as the basis of the commercial conversation, teaching them something new and valuable about how to compete in their market. They also target agile organisations in a state of flux rather than those with a clear understanding of their needs. Success also comes to those that seek out a variety of stakeholders, preferably sceptical change agents, and coach them on how to buy rather than probe into their buying process.