The evolution of institutional selling
We are living in a competitive business environment where the sales force is engaging with an evolved version of the buyers – a totally empowered set. Buyers today are far more informed and easily disengage with sellers who provide no value and relevant information, in the given time. A study quoted by Qvidian states that 58 percent of buyers disconnect with sales teams because sales representatives are not aligned to the buyer’s specific business challenges. In addition, a survey of B2B buyers by Forrester, states that 61 percent of sales people add no value to the purchase process.
However, in the technologically empowered age that we are living in, it is often debated that the requirement of the sales person will eventually fade away. While it is a given that the environment has changed, we are of the opinion that the requirement of a salesperson in institutionalized selling, especially in the B2B scenario, will never go away. In fact, the advancement in technology has indeed helped in streamlining and automating few processes that has led to increased sales effectiveness.
Institutional selling like any other sales strategy has evolved and needs to focus on certain key elements including maximising ROI on all sales and marketing investments, anticipating and capitalising on rapid changes in uniform buying behavior, finding ways to leverage interactive database and network technologies to grow sales and keeping track of customer behavior and leverage collaborative CRM system that enhance collaboration and build customer loyalty.
Technology evolution has reduced the leg work/ face to face interaction of sales reps by increasing access to relevant information and taking charge of the back-end tasks. However, the orientation, skill and intelligence on how to leverage and apply this in the best possible manner, is still required to be acquired by them.Here are some ways in which sales representatives can leverage the technology advancement to their benefit in order to gain a competitive edge:
Sales repsneed to leverage new age technology tools in order to keep abreast of the developments. Eg., use smart database access platforms to create pre-profiled organizational map by leveraging automated information access through social media, association websites, events, blogs etc.
Use technology platforms that provide effective Account Management solutions by keeping trackof influencers/ decision makers in target organizations and connecting with them with desired information/ solution more effectively.
Leverage technology enabled sourcing tools to keep track of customer requirements.
Leveraging GPS/GPRS enabled Sales force automation tools to have real-time access to information and submission of information to enable quicker turnaround time on field actionable.
Leverage Marketing automation platformsto help create relevant leads and lead nurturing services to effectively convert a suspect into a qualified prospect
Leveraging tele-based CRM platforms such as DenCRMto covert marketing generated opportunities (MGOs) into sales wins
Trends that are driving the growth
There are various technology-driven industry trends that are driving the growth of institutional selling, including:
Technology enabled whitespace database generationto reduce the gap between the addressed customer base versus what really is the addressable segment
Smart database access platforms for a more effective targeted prospect database
Social media/ web advertising for targeting customers real-time with increased relevance
Tele-CRM collaborative solutions for imbibing a consultative approach
Marketing automation for strengthening the process right from identifying the suspect to finally move them to the nurturing phase
Technology enabled Account Management tools/platforms reducing the need to map organizations manually
The above arealso fuelled by developments such as mobility adoption, cloud penetration and analytics.
In order to address the needs of savvy customers, enterprises and sales representatives must transform the way they sell and the way they look at sales.Evolving the methodologies and the manner in which sales representatives carry out their operations to cater is important to succeed and meet the sales objectives.
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