NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As consumer demands rise, a new breed of salesperson is emerging: proactive, fast-acting and data-driven. But talent and technologies aren’t enough to compete in today’s customer-obsessed environment. According to a new ebook by Forbes Insights, in association with Salesforce, "A New Era of Selling Is Here. Are You Ready? Four Ways to Transform and Accelerate Your Sales Cycle," the strategies businesses need to grow include talent that’s trained to add value, closely allied sales and marketing teams, sales reps rich in AI’s predictive powers and leaders willing to recognize that customer experience is as much about mindset as it is about computer models.
Mastering the art of selling is more complicated than ever. Acquiring new customers is costly. Brand loyalty is in decline. Customers now expect personalized service and experiences at every touchpoint. So how can sales teams keep up in a demanding environment?
“The key factors are nurturing top talent and a marketing mindset,” said Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer and Head of the CMO Practice at Forbes Media, “as well as using your data effectively to create the right customer experience.”
“Today’s customers expect that a salesperson is with them for the long run,” says Tony Rodoni, EVP of SMB Sales at Salesforce. “They don’t want someone who is just going to sell. They want someone who will understand their problems and recommend the right product to fix them.”
The ebook explores the four ways growing companies can accelerate sales in a highly competitive environment:
Staffing your team with the right people: In today’s hyper-competitive selling environment, a brand is only as good as its best sales rep. That’s especially true for growing businesses with modest talent pools and little margin for error. The result is a new breed of sales associate—a fast-thinking problem solver and a valuable business partner. Moving beyond the traditional script of selling goods and services, this individual creates personalized customer experiences.
Smart hiring managers look beyond the basics to find individuals with curiosity, integrity, drive and passion who can kick-start the sales cycle. Companies should put effective retention strategies in place and train reps to deliver value throughout the entire customer life cycle.
Creating and instilling a marketing mindset: For salespeople, that means looking at everything through the eyes of the customer. The old paradigm of marketers generating leads and sales qualifying them is fast crumbling. Today’s sales forces are borrowing a page from the marketing playbook: seeing the selling process as a prime opportunity to build a positive customer experience. This new-found marketing mindset isn’t meant to displace marketers, but to encourage greater alignment. Sales teams must work hand-in-hand with marketing to achieve a seamless and personalized customer journey.
Doing more with automation and artificial intelligence: Once reserved for sci-fi, innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence are gaining traction as critical sales tools. By analyzing sales data and using machine learning and predictive analytics algorithms to serve up actionable insights, AI helps sales reps make smarter decisions to serve customers better. For instance, an AI system can reveal when a customer is ready to close a deal or if it’s time for a sales rep to deliver an email to a particular prospect. What buying behaviors are emerging from a particular customer segment? Which prospects are most likely to become the most profitable customers?
Connecting your data for a better customer experience: As an IT environment expands, it can become riddled with data silos—disparate and disjointed pools of customer information. Fortunately, the right technology tools can break down data silos and unlock the value of customer information. The benefits of a comprehensive customer view are twofold: for one, it’s an opportunity for sales reps to understand customer behavior in context and pinpoint the right times and channels to take action. For growing businesses, connecting the dots also creates a solid foundation for making executive decisions on everything from product planning to marketing spend to new hires.
About Forbes Insights
Forbes Insights is the strategic research and thought leadership practice of Forbes Media, a global media, branding and technology company whose combined platforms reach nearly 75 million business decision makers worldwide on a monthly basis. By leveraging proprietary databases of senior-level executives in the Forbes community, Forbes Insights conducts research on a wide range of topics to position brands as thought leaders and drive stakeholder engagement. Research findings are delivered through a variety of digital, print and live executions, and amplified across Forbes' social and media platforms.
Download the report at http://info.forbes.com/forbesinsights_salesforce_4_ways.html