There has been recent discussion in our office about the need to adapt and change the way services are sold.
For a long time, the approach has been to market first. This includes performing some sort of awareness based marketing, gathering referrals or targeting customers directly. That activity is still very worthwhile, as it is important to generate the opportunities.
We have learned that helping customers to self-educate by providing relevant content is a good strategy. This can be achieved through a combination of articles, videos, white papers, brochures and blog posts. Yes, it takes time to develop all these materials but if the products or services that your company promotes are complex, it helps make the potential customer feel a whole more comfortable during the next phase of a sales engagement.
This next phase of making the sale usually involves making phone contact with your potential client. A conversation sometimes leads to an appointment at the customer or the supplier’s office. Sometimes a second or third appointment will be required in order to complete the sales engagement. Even when the sale is not successful making the investment in time, travel and salary cost is expensive.
The cost of sales is one of the largest in most organisations. Key skills such as the ability to consult, understand, propose solutions and project manage installations require a skill set that takes years to develop.
With a limited amount of working hours in a week and limited affordable high quality sales resources, the question arises of how to get more out of your sales team without needing to recruit more people? It’s quite a complicated challenge.
With the new MIS project we have been embarking upon, we found that there wasn’t a software solution that would meet the needs of GCOMM which made us look for the right applications internationally. In total we have been seen plenty of demonstrations and presentations and because these companies are not located in Australia, their ability to showcase their software needs to be more refined and done so remotely.
We noticed that we are more often transacting with companies who are demonstrating their software via conference platforms, such as WebEx and GoToMeeting. If you haven’t been exposed to these software platforms before then it’s worth taking a look.
These applications support high voice quality, almost an unlimited amount of participants who can join a meeting from almost any Internet connected device. It really can be a great time saver both for the company making the presentation and the customer receiving it. It takes the geographical constraints away which means that not all conference attendees need to be in the same place nor the same time zone.
Clearly traveling to and from meetings is not an efficient use of time. And with most products and services requiring some form of pre and post sales consulting, effective use of these types of platforms could greatly increase the ability to present and ultimately result in more sales.
Perhaps this type of selling has yet to become mainstream. It would probably require a different type of content to be developed plus adjusted skills of the presenters.
There is however little doubt that the sales teams that master the use of conference platforms are going to have a significant competitive advantage over sales teams that fail to successfully adapt. More presentations and getting your best people on conferences is going to result in more sales.
A successful transition is probably also going to significantly reduce your travel costs.
Does that mean a lower cost of sale with a greater success rate?
It’s worth looking at, don’t you think?♦ End