This change has been well documented. At this stage we have broadly three sales models – inside sales, road warriors or reps and account managers. We’re already seeing the demise of the middle one – the road warriors or reps – who trail the country pushing their wares. Customers don’t need or want a rep anymore, they can get the information they need via the internet or the inside sales operation. Replacing the road warriors will be an enhanced inside sales operation and more bespoke account management for tailored solutions. selfstoragefirst.com
You’ll find customers will make contact with your company and have already done their research and discovery, and want to purchase. They’ll do this automatically or will use automated intelligence – AI – algorithms to interact with you and make their purchase. Already many emails are not from humans but from AI algorithms. These AI can read emails, understand and respond accordingly. And they’re improving exponentially. Humans need not apply.
Or Cortana, if you’re a Microsoft fan. These embryonic digital assistants remind me of Star Trek “Computer, give me all the data on… ” These digital voice activated personal assistants will begin to populate the internet. Cloud based “big” data cannot be easily accessed by you and I so we will increasingly rely on these digital assistants to do this for us. For salespeople – inside sales and account managers – this will mean the CRM – Customer Relationship Manager software – will finally come of age. You’ll be speaking to the digital assistant something like “Marie, can you give me all the purchases from ABC incorporated over the last month and let me send an email to their purchasing manager?”
This will also impact the Business to Consumer market. The amount of data companies now hold on their consumers is breathtaking and is being amplified by social media streams which provide everything you ever wanted to know about Michael Chen from Borehamwood. Companies will start using this intelligence to market products and services in much the same way as Tom Cruise in Minority Report as the billboard changes to match his needs.
Metamorphosing of Inside Sales
I mentioned earlier the rise of inside sales and this is also well documented. You only have to look at company sales expansion and recruitment figures – it’s all inside sales. I’m not talking about contact centre inbound call operations – I’m referring to consultative sales people with accounts who operate inside. Using the phone, of course, but on the internet – Skype, instant messaging, social media and virtual or augmented reality facilities, which will revolutionise the whole inside sales approach.
Basic commodity based transactions will not be handled by inside sales; the automated intelligence algos will do this. Customers may think they’re interacting with a human, but they’re not and don’t need to. Inside sales people are going to be far better than mere order takers – they will consult with your customers, and provide bespoke solutions to customer needs. So beware of your product and service – if it’s commoditised and you don’t determine this, the market does.
Inside salespeople will carry out the complete sales cycle from start to finish; they’ll manage accounts, cross sell and negotiate. The sales process will be accomplished entirely online, not face to face.
Intelligence Not Data
Inbound marketing from sales organisations will continue to be dominated by content on the web. Increasingly though, customers are not just looking for data, they’re looking for intelligence and insights relevant to their business issues. They can get data from the web themselves, they’re looking for salespeople to provide just a little more – insightful content that adds value, not merely regurgitated content already available.
This will be done by salespeople in the future, not just marketers. Salespeople of the future will be writing, recording about their customers’ challenges, solutions, insights and the industry they serve. Anything that their customers will find useful in running their business.
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