5 Fundamental Changes in B2B Selling

I ran into a friend who sold Payroll services with me in the early 1990's. We exchanged war stories about what it was like to be a payroll sales rep in those days... we hit the phones hard and, after sales calls, literally knocked on doors of local businesses. WOW have things changed... Lots of laughs. On my ride home I began to think how the whole sales process has changed. The way I sold then isn't the way I would sell now.

Here's why:

  1. Awareness is not generated by the sales rep. The "feet on the street" sales model, where the sales rep is responsible for creating awareness about your product or brand is obsolete.
  2. The prospect is much more educated when they engage. Using the Internet, the prospect has learned about your products, company and competition without your knowledge. They come to the sales cycle armed with knowledge.
  3. Buyers control the sales process. This is the most difficult for all of us to accept - but it is true. Since the prospect does not need you or your sales rep to learn about your product - they are in control of the sales process. They are researching and learning and making decisions without you. Your sales reps are needed after they go through this process IF you make the cut.
  4. Access to decision makers is harder. Technology can be a double-edged sword. Today we have wonderful communication technologies such as Cell phones, blackberries, and email. However prospects have the ability and technology to screen us out and prevent our access.
  5. We live in a "me too" world. So much of what we say and sell has been commoditized. Prospects are bombarded with sales messages every day on the Internet, on TV and print ads. Standing out and differentiating has never been more difficult.

I will always be grateful for my experience but we really used "Stone Age" tactics