Today, we do our first executive briefing on using The Wedge.We’ve chosen to do this initial briefing because many of our readers have shared that something has changed in the last year about how they sell and market their products and service. They shared several sales trends that are impacting their sales success. Many entrepreneurs have told me in confidence that they and their sales teams seem to be less effective in getting meetings with their best clients and potential customers.
Most of these men and women have grown their business to eight figures and beyond, but they feel less certain about the future than they have in the past about how they take the business to the next level. The more I talked with these individuals who sell and influence for a living, the more I began connecting the dots.
The good news for you is that we think there are many ways to empower entrepreneurs and their sales teams. We plan to share what we find with you as we go out and talk and work with people in a wide range of industries and technologies. There are several sales trends that I noticed that we will comment on today. Over the next several months, we plan to add additional experts to help you continue to grow and build value in your business. So, what are the sales trends impacting your business today?
The first of these sales trends is the number of sales professionals continues growing at a rapid pace. Over eight million people today see their roles as being in sales and business development. Think about that for a moment, over 8 million sales professionals in North America alone. If you wonder why your customers aren’t getting back to you, this could be part of the reason. They have more choices than anyone could ever have imagined. Start-up businesses continue to emerge here and across the globe. How do you compete?
The second of these sales trends is contact information is available on most entrepreneur s and their team members. It’s not unusual today for connected entrepreneurs to have several thousand connections in their social networks. I remember not so many years ago sales professionals would struggle to identify the right person to talk with in the client organization. Today, most key individuals in mid-market organizations are in several networks and online databases. It’s not that you can’t find who to contact, now you need to be able to get them to return your calls. My clients tell me they get between 10-20 calls per day from people they don’t know or companies they don’t recognize. Global call centers continue calling into many different businesses 24 hours per day. How productive can a leader be if they have to spend their days returning calls and spending time in meetings? How effective are you at screening your own calls? The email volume continues to multiply every month and every leader I know is looking for ways to manage their time more effectively.
Recently, I was reading Agile Selling, a book by Jill Konrath. She shared a fact that made shivers run down my back. She noted that many times sales professionals are not brought in until the potential customer is between 60-70% of the way to making their buying decision. This is the third of the sales trends we face in growing our business. How do we engage our clients in their buying decisions earlier? Jill shares several ideas in her book; it’s a quick read and should be included on every entrepreneurs must reading list.
I’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating that the customer is well educated about your products and services. It’s no wonder that many of our products and services are perceived as commodities by the time we get through the door. In an age of commoditized products, the buyer is usually able to negotiate an incredible price because of their knowledge and negotiating power. I find this trend translating to our businesses in an odd way. If customers begin feeling their products and services are commodities then so are yours.
So how do we compete and win more business? We must leverage sales trends to impact your results. The answer is not a simple, but one that we begin exploring today at our first leadership briefing. We must engage and empower our sales organizations to begin to winning more business in this changing business environment. It starts with having the ability to have a breakthrough initial conversation with potential clients.
I believe that The Wedge can help provide you with an edge in your markets. This afternoon, we will share several other sales trends impacting your business today. I’ve asked Keith to provide you with practical, implementable ideas that can help you win more often. You will walk away from this meeting with a better understanding of how you can excel in your marketplace. We got some great questions on sales trends from you on issues facing your organization. We begin sharing our answers this afternoon. I know you will gain an edge when you attend this briefing. Take time to sign up today for Your Foot in the Door: A Free B2B Webinar from Market Leadership Journal. You’ll get the call information in an email as soon as you sign up. Be ready for our call at 2:00 Eastern Day Light Savings Time. See you later today.