There is an art to selling. A good salesperson knows how to use finesse when listening, talking, and triangulating—all skills that separate the champions from the lack-luster. But the art of selling is waning and the science of selling is waxing.
If you were a salesperson fifteen years ago you were given a laptop and a list of manufactures and were told to have at it. As a salesperson your job was to discover attributes of any given lead or opportunity and legitimize if they were in a position to buy. They were given the burden of the entire selling process; they had to discover which was a lead from the massive list and then, who was the key decision maker, what type of revenue, company size, reported earnings, or whether they had an M&A that may slow down the buying process. An overwhelming amount of research for one salesperson for one opportunity. Those with the personal network and refined selling skills still had to put in the time. An art, indeed.
Things are different today, if you want them to be. The science of selling moves to center stage. Much of the research that sales previously had to do to qualify an opportunity can now be down with technology.
All along the way the use of technology in the selling process helps to check the boxes that qualify the lead/opportunity. Selling processes have been in place for a long time. Through each stage of the selling cycle certain criteria needs to be met in order to more thoroughly predict whether or not a deal is going to close. One of the most important criteria is: do they have budget? In the past, the only way to know, was to ask. That’s a pretty rude question to ask upfront. But, with the use of technology you can discover that information and drive a more meaningful business conversation: “I saw that you have had record earnings this year. And your CEO mentioned that X is a priority. Does this mean you are budgeting for X?”
The salesperson doesn’t need to add attributes independently, the role of technology can provide those missing attributes, letting the salesperson artfully deliver the right messaging at the right time.
Let’s say that marketing is responsible for adding in 50% of the needed attributes to qualify a lead on their end. In the past, sales had to dig around for the additional 50% needed in order to tip the scale and fulfill the pipeline. With the use of technology, sales may only need to add in 25% of the needed attributes. (Not an exact science, but moving closer). The tools available in CRMs and Marketing automation make it easier to qualify leads/opportunities by discovering the necessary attributes needed to glean an accurate picture of whether or not your forecast has attainable goals.
Now go take the art of selling baton to carry the last 25% of the race.
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