How to Position Your Sales Team to Win in an On-Demand Economy

A new business model is quickly spreading throughout industries of all types. These steps will ensure your sales team is aligned with an on-demand economy.

February 13, 2018

There’s an unmistakable pattern in business these days. It is so pervasive it has a nickname, based on one of the game-changers that helped usher it in: uberization.

Although this term refers more specifically to the sort of peer-to-peer transactions popularized by transformational companies such as Uber and Airbnb, the larger trend is moving us toward an on-demand economy, wherein technological advancements are leveraged to create a more responsive, tailored experience for the customer.

With ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft, you can tap a button on your smartphone and almost instantly have a driver on the way. Netflix uses its wealth of data, and complex algorithms, to serve up uniquely customized viewing suggestions for each subscriber. Amazon’s painless ecommerce interface, rapid delivery options, and related product recommendations have made it an exclusive shopping destination for many customers.

As these models continue to spread across more and more industries, it feels inevitable that the B2B sales process will eventually need to evolve and align with changing customer expectations. In some ways it already has, and the rise of social selling is reflective of this.

I was struck by these wise words from Dave Batt, CEO of FPX, from an interview with Forbes last year: “As B2B buyers increasingly expect more from their digital experiences, an omnichannel strategy with a ‘customer-in’ approach to experience management — delivering the right solution, at the right price when and where the customer wants it — is the only path to success for B2B organizations that want to remain competitive and relevant.”

Recognizing and seizing opportunities to transition toward an on-demand experience for prospects and buyers will prove highly advantageous for sales teams in the new era of commerce. With experience in mind, here are three recommendations for developing an ultra-modern approach.

3 Steps to an On-Demand Sales Strategy

Be Easy to Find

Getting help with a B2B purchase decision will (fortunately) never be quite the same as ordering an Uber, because the skills and experience required to guide buyers from consideration to decision are more specialized and rare than driving a car from Point A to Point B.

Still, when you think about the value that users derive from being able to quickly and easily have their needs met, there are lessons we can apply to B2B sales tactics.

Think about it this way: if a prospect determines at some point in time they have a need for a solution like yours, what steps can you take to ensure that your sales rep is the first driver to get notified of the ride request, so to speak?

Timing is everything. Research has shown that the odds of making successful contact with a lead are 100 times greater when outreach occurs within the first five minutes, compared to 30 minutes after lead submission. It goes without saying that if you engage a primed prospect ahead of your competitors, you’ve got a clear edge.

So at the moment a need is realized by a potential customer, you want your solution to be the one they find. Knowing that today’s buyers are more autonomous in their purchase research, that means adopting inbound principles and becoming discoverable.

Work with marketing to develop SEO-friendly content assets. Stay active on social media, and post often about challenges that your target audience frequently encounters. Use Daily Mobile Briefings in Sales Navigator to receive prioritized alerts on intent signals from your Saved Leads and Accounts.  

If you’re not first, you’re last. In the world of B2B selling, statistics tell us this adage often rings true.

Tailor Your Approach

We talk about this imperative quite often on the LinkedIn Sales Solutions blog, so we won’t rehash it too deeply here, but personalization is undoubtedly an essential component of the new-age model.

The State of Sales 2017 report showed that 64% of B2B decision-makers won’t engage with a salesperson if the communication isn’t personalized, and that practice doesn’t end with plugging a person’s first name into a cookie-cutter template. Ideally you will want to bring a fully customized, context-driven approach to each interaction. That means taking the time to research a prospect’s LinkedIn profile, as well as seeking out information about their company, their industry, their competitors.

For further guidance, this post on creating a repeatable personalized sales process is a good primer.

Create a Seamless Process

One of the hallmarks of successful new ventures? Minimal friction for the customer. People gravitated toward Uber and Lyft because they presented a vastly more convenient experience compared to taxi cabs.

If you haven’t lately, now might be a good time to review your organization’s purchase funnel and each touchpoint within, to make sure they are consistent, simple, and frictionless. Is your website easily navigable and structured with the most important functions front-and-center? Is it completely optimized for mobile? Does it offer a chat function for visitors seeking immediate assistance? Are you using PointDrive for sharing sales collateral rather than burdensome email attachments?

Small adjustments like these can make a big difference on the other end. You want your solution to be the one customers turn to when they get fed up with clunky interfaces elsewhere – not the other way around.

What other measures can you implement to place your sales team on the cutting edge, both today and tomorrow? Download The Future of Sales: Rise of the Strategic Seller for insights that will put you in the driver’s seat.