SALES TRENDS FOR THE DIGITAL AGE

The world of sales evolved from being face-to-face for thousands of years, to telephonic sales, email sales and now, we’re in the era of social selling. Rapid technological changes are happening at an exponential rate when it comes to sales and affects us in a multitude of ways. In this blog, we will look at what the future has in store for sales consulting. 

Know your consumer

This should not be something new to people in the sales world but is more relevant today than ever before. In order to sell successfully to our target market, we need to know who they are, what they want and how they want us to provide them with this great product or service. Consumer centric approaches to sales are crucially important.

Millennials now make up the largest part of the buyers over all industries. They are more focused on experiences and they want to be inspired, not just be given information from businesses and organisations. Millennials want to feel special and more and more brands are providing individualised experiences for their consumers. Engaging consumers in a hyper-targeted way can make consumers feel more appreciated which will lead to higher levels of brand loyalty. If your consumers trust your brand, they will be more willing to part with their data and information especially on important aspects such as their preferences. According to Future 100, Target, the American retail chain, does a great job at this via their Studio Connect app. This app allows customers to create products that if selected will make it to production.

As Millennials age, a new generation of individuals are entering the workforce and consumer space. Gen Z is the generation of individuals that were born in the mid 90’s to the mid 2000’s.  According to Forbes, Gen Z’s account for up to EUR118 billion in spending and they will make up the biggest part of consumers in 2020. Gen Z differs from previous generations because they were born into a hyper-connected, technologically-assisted age. They grew up using social media, online shopping, smart phones and technology on a daily basis. Gen Z is very aware of their impact on the earth and how their choices can make a difference.

Environmental issues are very important to them. They prefer sustainability and minimalism over consumerism. Surprisingly enough, they prefer brick and mortar stores over online shopping. The buying style of Gen Z is ‘hunteresque’ in the way they search, explore and source the products they choose to buy. Like Millennials, they want to feel special and appreciated, with a very high awareness level of the impact of what they consume.

Use technology strategically and educate your sales force

As technology evolves, various apps and platforms exist to aid sales. However, it is no longer sufficient to just set up technological aides. Businesses have to have a spirit of innovation along with the sales tech.

Companies have to empower their sales force to be able to do optimum work. Enabling this should ideally be done by incorporating training and technology into a coherent and actionable strategy. This will enable your company to be agile in acquiring new sales people and have them performing from the start.

Consistent monitoring, educating and coaching of your sales force is crucial. With the rapid rate of transformation, it will be hard for them to do so on their own. Businesses need to have a clear-cut strategy for sales and growth, and they have to include their sales force in the actioning thereof. Forbes recommends MindTickle for this purpose.

Social Selling

In order to sell to our target market, we need to be visible where they are searching. We need to have a strong presence on social media and relevant platforms. Different social media platforms are best suited to different industries. If you are in the health, beauty or fitness fields, selling and marketing on Instagram for example might be more suited to you than LinkedIn. However, this does not mean that you should be present on only one social media platform. The more social media platforms you can efficiently manage, the bigger your reach will be.

Buyers today are very focused on the online look and feel of brands. How your brand presents themselves online will influence consumer’s perception of you. Using video in marketing and selling is an easy way to show your brand or business to the world. By collaborating with influencers, businesses can instantly become relatable, real and more human.

In order to be able to provide their employees and consumers with the above-mentioned trends, businesses have to be very secure in what their purpose is. It’s easy to lose track of the main goal a business or company has if their purpose is not clearly defined. This is crucially important in an era where change is constant, and disruption and innovation are the norm.