How Sales Professionals Succeed in the Age of the Customer

Knowing how to thrive in the age of the empowered buyer is key to sales success. Here are three ways social selling empowers you to be a top-performing rep.

March 24, 2017

  • Time to Adapt Block Being Pulled Out of Stack of Wooden Blocks

Sales professionals need to adapt in the era of the empowered buyer. You’ve heard this before, but what exactly does this mean for you on a day-to-day basis? In its annual report, Salesforce Research surveyed over 3,100 global sales professionals to understand how the role of sales is changing and what defines success in the Age of the Customer. Here are three key takeaways from the report – and ways you can harness these insights to your advantage.

1. Customer Experience is the Top Sales Benchmark

Debunking the myth that today’s buyers want sales reps to hold off on contacting them until they’re ready to purchase, the research found that prospects want reps to act as consultants. Seventy-nine percent of business buyers say it is absolutely critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who adds value to their business. They don’t just want someone who can sell them a product or service – they want someone who can guide their decision-making process.

With customers expecting sales reps to be trusted advisors, it’s no wonder customer experience/success (for example, Net Promoter Score) is ranked a top KPI to measure the success of sales teams. Social selling can help reps establish themselves as trusted professionals who deliver valuable insights. By monitoring discussions, interactions, and activities on social media, sales reps can glean buyers’ top-of-mind issues and goals. They can then engage online to share thought-provoking and novel viewpoints that help buyers formulate a strategy and business case.

2. Sales Becomes More Connected and Proactive

The study found that high performing reps connect across the organization to increase productivity and pipeline. At the same time, they engage proactively with customers. Modern social selling tools empower you to discover which of your colleagues are connected to prospective buyers. These existing connections can help with warm introductions and knowledge sharing about people and accounts, greatly minimizing the time it usually takes to piece together this information. Once connected, you can reach out to share insights and recommendations to ease the path to purchase.

3. Intelligent Selling Takes Off

Top teams continually improve their sales processes, and LinkedIn is one way to go about this. With LinkedIn Basic Search, you can find potential buyers, easily surface look-a-like prospects, and even get notified about trigger events, such as company funding or a contact’s change in role. Complementing this is Enhanced Search in LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which allows you to identify and prioritize the right accounts. You can also use PointDrive to package up a bundle of materials, which will render nicely on mobile and desktop for a positive buyer experience. You can even track how the content is consumed and by whom. Plus you can automatically record your Sales Navigator activity in your CRM system of record, eliminating a time-consuming task for you and giving your sales leaders better visibility into each deal.

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