Over the past 30 years, the sales environment has changed significantly. From the 1980s to early 2000s, sales teams relied heavily on telemarketing. The adoption of the internet and the rise of digital channels in the early 2000s introduced entirely new avenues for selling. From social media to advertorials, these channels have led to an increased focus on creating multiple interactions throughout the sales journey and creating truly customized selling experiences.
At the same time, consumer behaviors have changed. Those same technological advances now allow customers to access word-of-mouth recommendations from people around the world and offer their own brand commentary and product reviews. As customers get used to increasingly personalized experiences in their day-to-day, they look for the same level from brands.
It’s hard for sales teams to shift away from tactics that once drove significant revenue, even when it’s clear they’re losing efficacy. But in order to hit maximize productivity, simplify the sales process and hit revenue targets, it’s critical that sales teams continue to shift strategies with the changing times.
Without further ado, here are three sales tactics to stop doing in 2019.
Once the most championed sales tactic, cold calling is now a sign of an antiquated sales team—and brand. More importantly, it just doesn’t work like it used to:
- In 2007, it took 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it takes eight.
- For every 330 calls made, approximately one appointment is set.
- The average sales representative spends 25 hours a month leaving voicemail.
- 57% of all sellers gained a higher ROI from social selling versus 23% using traditional methods like cold calling.
That’s not to say sales teams should never pick up the phone. Calling a warm lead after they’ve downloaded a white paper or shown interest in a demo can be a very effective tactic within a longer sales cycle. But dialing strangers while they’re making dinner and pitching your services is out.
Focusing Pitches on Product Functionality—Not on the People You’re Selling
Our current sales landscape allows—and even encourages—customers to learn about products online before ever contacting a sales rep. In the sales era of in-person meetings and longer sales cycles, the sales reps’ main role was to get prospects fully briefed on the functionality and benefits of the product. Through data sheets, white papers, product videos, webinars and more, most prospects now have a strong handle on the brand, product and product functionality before they ever get on the phone.
Which means that once they do connect with a sales rep, they’re looking for more personalized and contextual information. How well do you understand my industry and company? How will this product help my team specifically? How does the mission of this organization align with my own values around this work?
While sales teams still need to know their products inside out, it’s just as important for reps to know and connect with the humans they’re selling to and be able to help bridge the gap between the product and the person, specifically. In today’s landscape, crafting your pitches from the person (or team) out, rather than focusing primarily on the product, will lead to quicker and more productive sales cycles.
Approaching Each Sales Platform In a Vacuum
With the rise of social media, email marketing and content marketing, sales and marketing teams have focused on understanding the demographics of each platform and building platform-specific strategies to nurture and sell to prospects across each channel.
But think about how you get to know a brand or product: You visit their website. You check them out on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram. You download their latest white papers. You look for reviews. You read or watch interviews with the leadership team.
It’s a fully holistic, cross-platform experience. If a prospect sees a link to the same article across four different platforms, they’re going to view the brand less favorably next to one that’s providing more targeted and personalized experiences across each channel.
We recommend using a CRM that allows your team to easily track and manage prospect and customer data and integrate it with social and email marketing analytics tools. This 30,000 view will allow you to more strategically segment and sequence your outreach and create a more holistic, cross-platform experience.
Finally, one last bonus tactic to stop doing: don’t oversell the product. There’s too much public information for prospects to get their hands on to take liberties around how you pitch the brand or product.