Sales is an extremely dynamic arena of any industry, including the financial domain. Be it economic lockdown, technological advances, change in consumer behavior, or just the need for improvisation, various factors are constantly triggering the evolution of sales. And the sales team is at the frontline to receive the first-hand impact of this evolution.
As it functions as a connecting link that bridges the gap between consumers and businesses, it is under constant pressure to groom its efficiencies to best achieve the revenue targets while complying with customers’ expectations. Although, at the end-of-the-day, it will be still about nurturing prospects, closing deals, and hitting the quota, but the approach and execution techniques have to be changed in light of the fact that chatbots, AI, automation, machine learning, i.e technology are changing the face of sales like never before. Will machines take over the real sales reps, and if not, then how the salespeople must evolve their sales practices to cope-up with the new face of sales?
Financial sales leaders understand the importance of evolution in sales practices for the growth and expansion of their business, and as they think of ways to best prepare their sales reps for the on-field job, the leaders need a direction to work upon. They can’t reside to the comfort of doing things in the same old way. So, as they step forward to materialize a transformation in their sales practices and processes, what should they focus on?
The right way to plan the transformation is to reinspect the existing sales processes and observe the challenges.
Here is a list of four key focus areas that are must be put into consideration, as new sales processes are being designed or executed.
Channels for customer connect are evolving, strengthen your research in this area: If you want people to buy from you, then you still need to become their favorite seller. So, your sales reps need to be active on the right channel to establish a strong customer connection. The era of cold calling is over; if not innovative then even follow-up methods irritate the customers; social media connection is currently powerful but changing at a rapid speed. So, the crux is, buyers prefer choosing the channel and demand sales reps to comply with it. Thus, to survive the competition, the sales leaders should strengthen their research around customer connect channels.
Make the best of automation to increase the sales force efficiency: Automation is increasing efficiencies of salesforce, and as the future rolls on artificial intelligence (AI) will manage the majority of sales functions, and there will be no space for excuses or inefficiencies triggered by mundane, regular repetitive sales tasks. For instance, if there is a client call or meeting, then your sales processes should have the provision to handle it efficiently by setting an automated personalized call/meeting confirmation reminder. This is a bare basic example but these kinds of simple automation make a major difference in enhancing the productivity of the sales force.
Rise of professionalism in Sales: As automation and AI is to become more powerful and intelligent, the reliance on salespeople will lessen. That doesn’t mean the ‘death of a salesman’ but ‘death of a lazy salesman.’ Salesmanship will continue to exist but it will call for more professionalism. Specialized but multi-dimensional skills to navigate complex sales, formal and educational training of sales, excellent conversational abilities, expressive email writing abilities, technology savviness, will become part of the job description.
More specialization in each part of the sales-funnel: In continuation with the above point, there is, and affirmatively in the future, there will be no space for a lazy salesman or average salesman. In bigger organizations, especially financial companies, each part of the sales funnel will require specialized attention. Lead generation, market research, pre-sales activities, deal closure or post-sales account management, the sales processes will become further specialized, and role definition will increase. This will require the salesman to garner more specific skills. Some roles will get combined, for instance, marketers who are handling branding and reputation management will also become responsible for driving revenue through lead generation. Similarly, the on-field sales executives need to take care of customer relationship building along with upselling and cross-selling.
The final words
Reliance on AI, automation, and cross-functional teams will increase rapidly like never before, and eventually, robust sales tools will become the co-workers. No businesses, no sales team, or no sales rep can expect to be on the game without embracing technology and automating their job practices around it. However, sales leaders need to adopt sales tools intelligently and must look for comprehensive solutions over a pile of tools. An ideal solution can be a Field Sales Management software suite with integrated capacities to manage every aspect of the sales process- be it field data recording, on-the-move data collaboration, sales force management, inter-team communication, customer relationship management, and beyond.