In this Acceleration Economy Growth Swarm, John Siefert, Bob Evans, Tony Uphoff, and Scott Vaughan have a conversation about the challenges and opportunities of sales in a digital-first world.
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01:35 — What are the greatest opportunities with sales? What are the real challenges of the digital world that have shifted what it means to sell? How do organizations manage issues of revenue generation through sales?
02:35 — Buyers and consumer habits have clearly changed, especially since everything has moved to remote. Because they have more access to information, the whole process of the traditional buyer-seller relationship has changed. Nowadays, the buyer has complete control of this process.
03:40 — The B2B sales process is broken. Relationships with buyers are happening digitally. Because this makes it a more efficient process, the majority of buyers prefer it that way. The biggest challenge with this is that sales has been disrupted by technology. Many direct sales teams are still struggling to figure out how to sell in a digital-first world.
06:45 — There are many industries unexpectedly moving to subscription models. With this, it isn’t just a one-time sale; it’s becoming almost like a lifetime sale. It has become more than just a salesperson trying to meet their quota, but the customer truly trying to determine what’s best for them and their company.
08:48 — SAP no longer has a Head of Sales position. Rather, the company has a Head of Customer Experience that encompasses much of sales, marketing, services, and support. This could be part of the ideal business model moving forward.
10:12 — Where is the value exchange? Today, most volume buyers are likely to know more about the product or service than a sales representative does. It may be time to redefine sales and re-evaluate how sales adds value.
12:30 — The pressure is shifting to marketing to deliver customer experiences. Marketing, sales, and customer success are starting to rethink the roles they play to break down barriers. There needs to be more sales and marketing integration.
14:06 — The Product-Led Growth movement provides abilities to sample a solution, product, or technology. Then, they can come in with the information and gain further guidance and resources about the product to determine what’s next.
15:11 — Integrating sales and marketing is more efficient than trying to align the two. If you want to revolutionize your company, you have to centralize intelligence and enable the integration to take place.
17:08 — How do you swarm the customer in an appropriate way? Industry-specific processes, solutions, and partners are critical to providing customers with the right tools and expertise to do things they could never do before.
18:05 — Organizations need strong partner ecosystems. The interplay between partners and vendors is no longer about potential discounts, rather it’s about how much value the partner can contribute to the customers.
18:56 — You’re only as strong as your ecosystem to be able to get the information to the right people with the right level of expertise and understanding.
19:45 — An older term, ‘Value Added Reseller,’ emphasized the value-added aspect. Although many don’t reference this term so much anymore, this concept is coming back.
20:10 — The B2B model missed self-service technology (SST) because of the legacy of the large direct sales staff. SST can drive revenue because it engages the customer in the experience.
21:58 — The changed experience comes when customers can engage with SST and talk with an expert rather than just a salesperson.
23:30 — As organizations have undergone digital transformations, their capabilities become different as they change their organizational structures to meet the new reality.
26:05 — It has to be a cultural and organizational realization with the courage to innovate and rethink how to approach the customer.
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