While closing deals remains a top priority of sales teams, only a quarter of companies surveyed are investing in sales team training, and improving existing technologies. Shoppers, on the other hand, are doing more and more of their research online, through a variety of channels, before making the decision to purchase. Buyers are delaying their contact with sales, and trying to control as much of the process as they can, and by doing so have turned traditional sales tactics on their head.
Here are 5 ways your sales tactics may be missing the mark with today’s shoppers:
- Sales is telling one story, when shoppers want to hear something else.
During that first critical sales call, sales tends to focus on pitching and qualifying. Buyers report the key information they want in that first touch is the price, how the product works, and how it fits with company needs. Unfortunately, most sales pitches start by why the company needs to buy the product, how it fits within the buyers goals, who is responsible for the buying decision, and how quickly will the purchase be made (source: state of inbound).
- Sales reps think they are being helpful to prospects, but buyers think sales reps are pushy.
Perceptions of a sales call varies widely between sales reps and buyers. In the Hubspot Sales Perspectives Survey, sales reps and prospects differed by 48 percentage points when asked whether a sales rep provided value to the prospect. The report also shows a whopping 34% difference in whether the sales rep avoided being pushy.
Looked at from the buyers’ perspective, if you enter a conversation looking for information about how a product works, and you are questioned about who has the power to pay, and when will they buy, a buyer will feel rushed to close when they may be much farther upstream in the sales cycle.
- Buyers want to talk to sales later in process.
Very few shoppers are interested in speaking to sales when they first learn of a product. Sixty-percent would speak to a rep once they’ve narrowed their choice to a short list, and 20% of buyers don’t want any contact with sales until they are ready to buy. Think about this and take a hard look at your sales team training: 1 in every 5 buyers wants to connect with sales until they’ve already decided to buy. Is your current platform meeting the customer’s desire?
- Customer service and marketing content generate the most trust, followed by sales.
No one completely trusts product information from a brand, but information from customer service representatives ranked highest with buyers as being somewhat trustworthy (54%) to very trustworthy (13.8%). Information delivered via traditional sales reps ranked even lower than marketing content. Sales reps rated at 33.6% as being somewhat trustworthy, and only 6.7% of respondents felt their information would be very trustworthy.
- Buyers product research has evolved beyond traditional SERPs.
Shoppers are definitely using search engines (625) to do their research, but they are also reinforcing that search by visiting the business’ official web site (42%), reading newsletters (37%) and publications (31%). Buyers are also doing in person research by consulting peers, attending events, and seeking out third-party reviews.
When people want to learn more, they use a search engine (62%) or visit the business’ official website (48%). Only 29% want to connect with a sales representative during the awareness stage – (HS Research)
Yes, buyers expectations of sales are pretty low, but your team can beat those expectations by providing them with an experience they prefer. A robust inbound marketing plan will reinforce shoppers research efforts during the awareness and consideration stage. Sales teams with a culture of excellent customer care from the start will delight prospects, and help close the length of your sales cycle.