Imagine what sales looked like around the turn of the century. No, the previous century, around 1900 or so, when our great grandparents were working hard to provide for our grandparents. Now think about what selling looks like today. There’s a huge number of very basic differences in the process of prospecting, nurturing, closing, and maintaining customers. But there’s one thing that has not changed and never will change.
How Sales Used To Be
Your great Grandpa didn’t have an iPhone. The struggle was real. Instead, he had a local (remember, no commercial planes yet!) territory, a telephone directory (maybe), his own two feet, a little black book of contacts, and his charm. The process of gathering prospects and leads, and cultivating them into actual customers was slow and manual. The closing cycle was long; however, the relationships were generally longer.
How It Is Today
In the modern B2B sales organization, tech rules the day. If you don’t have systems and processes to retain clients, sales will eventually fail. A lack of efficiency deteriorates client relationships, thwarting the efforts of your best sales professionals. We call all of these systems and efficiencies ‘sales infrastructure.’ That means feedback mechanisms, a CRM, a constant flow of data from customers and prospects, referrals, electronic support, marketing automation to capture warm leads, and automation tools to set your cadence and dial your next call for you.
How It Will Always Be
Sales automation and marketing automation tools are necessary to the modern sales organization. However, these automation tools, while fantastic and incredibly helpful to the best sales professionals, are available to everyone. Therefore, all these tools serve to do one thing: level the playing field. In other words, 90% of your job is electronic, automated, or otherwise not on paper or in a little black book.
That’s the 90%. The remaining 10% is what tips the scales. That remaining 10% is what actually happens when all the automation – or lack thereof – actually works. The scales tip when your organization’s sales team values, recognizes, and cultivates great relationships with their customers. You don’t buy from someone you don’t like. And no automation in the world will ever replace a relationship.