The Commercial Revolution requires radical changes

Wessel Berkman

Current commercial systems are reaching their limits of development, although there is still ground to be gained for many organizations. In recent years commercial systems have been optimized tremendously, using CRM implementations, training and coaching. New hypes, such as Challenger Sales, have helped sales departments grow. Unfortunately, many businesses still focus on a product push. Subscriptions of own products and services are often cleverly packaged, but not often enough in the form of a total package with real solutions that meet clients’ dreams.

Exponential growth?
With the current sales-centric models, commerce follows a linear model in terms of generating additional revenue and enabling more sales capacity to achieve it. It is hardly a matter of organic growth, let alone of exponential growth.

With the advancement of digitalization, customer behavior has fundamentally changed. Prospective customers have already gathered a lot of information from the internet and have done reference checks. This means the buying process has also changed. Customers often know more than salespeople, which is why salespeople should be challenging customers on their latent needs. For example, customers used to go to a showroom numerous times before buying a car. The amount of times people do that now has decreased to maybe twice before a purchase. Customers increasingly want total solution packages.

Those who do not add value, end up having to lower their prices. Newcomers enter the market with new sales methods and do not suffer from badly working and inflexible infrastructures with which some older organizations struggle. This requires a completely different approach and structure of commerce: from sales-centric to customer-centric. No small adjustments, but a real revolution.

The Commercial Revolution consists of three components that change commerce with different results:

Social Selling
Social Selling enables your organization to find out what customers these days demand and what interests them. Moreover, you know if there is real interest in your domain or product. No more endless cold calling, driving around and hoping that you might be able to make the right proposal at the right time. No, by finding, monitoring and challenging potential and current customers on the internet with interesting content, you create hot leads. Because you can only create qualified leads with social selling, every subsequent step is more spot-on. Not only for new customers, but also for your current ones.

By setting up your products and services on different levels, you cater for all customer requirements, from large to small.

Small customers play a major role in attaining larger deals, since small customers are often employees/close contacts of large organizations. Paying attention to small influencers rather than just winning the big deals (sales-centric approach) will prove fruitful for many companies. A lot of small deals create fans and help you get the bigger deals faster.

Small, medium and large deals each have their own control structure.

  • ‘Small deal’ customers are dealt with entirely by the sales contact center, via mail, telephone or video conference. Making this adjustment results in a very effective method for customer contact. No driving around, but modern and in-depth discussions using a customized business model. You’ll gain time, possibly up to fifty percent more.
  • Medium and large deals are not achieved by old school sales calls, but by a fully-equipped SalesART experience. This can take place on-site or externally. In the SalesART experience, the customer is challenged on his needs in the most distinctive way. Extreme focus on latent needs is key here. Solving more needs, even those the client did not know he had, is good sales. Sales is creating higher value for the customer than the competition. A SalesART experience is a lot of fun, shows latent needs and, if possible, comes up with the best total solution package.

Currently, sales calls are often a type of ‘black box’ with a limited conversion rate. A black box, because you as a manager do not know how the conversation really went. Salespeople often say it went very well, but the deals don’t always materialize. Conversion rates of less than fifteen percent are proof. But with a great SalesART experience you make a difference that surprises the customer and leads to exponential growth.

Fan 4 Fan Excellence and Social Selling
Fan 4 Fan Excellence ensures that customers become active fans. Not just fans, but active fans that deliver at least two new customers! By structurally incorporating this philosophy in your processes and measuring it, creating new customers becomes a sport.

Customer satisfaction is measured within many organizations (for example by NPS and other forms of digital survey mails), but why not simultaneously measure how many active fans you have and how many new customers they can recruit for you? That’s the ultimate proof that your business is doing well, otherwise nobody would recommend you. What would it mean for your organization if active fans demonstrably “sold” 25 percent of the new business revenue?

Customer dream thinking
You could also check out the customer’s dream total success as opposed to merely selling your own products and services. The latter leads to a focus on your own sales. At customer-centric organizations (unlike sales-centric organizations), it is custom to cooperate with other organizations to provide the total dream solution package. But of course then you first need to know the ultimate customer dream and how the customer success portfolio looks.

What is needed?
Technology will develop significantly in the coming years, which will further change sales structures. But how can we make a start tomorrow? Many of the necessary technical tools are available to us, as are systems that measure what customers pay attention to on the internet and which allow you to automatically send inspirational content. The fact is, there are plenty of things you can use today.

The difficulty there lies mainly in decision-making, which is often dominated by traditional (commercial) managers who don’t want to upset the current system. The shift also brings risks. ‘Is it really going to work? What do we do with the current structure?’ These thoughts make sense because improvement requires major organizational changes and changes in mindsets. Also, other competencies are needed for the customer-centric approach. What do you do with your traditional sales-centric organization and everyone who has been trained for it? Customer centric requires a completely different organizational DNA with a different type of employee. Do not underestimate that! The technique itself is perhaps the smallest problem of all.

The structure and implementation of Social Selling is entirely carried out by specialists who understand the internet better than anyone, together with specialists in the field of ultimate customer solutions. SalesART-experience coaches really know how to challenge the customer and transform them into a loyal fan. It’s an excellent team that provides the ultimate customer experience!

Your internal launch!
Converting your entire organization in one go is often not feasible. Consider a route and begin experimenting somewhere within the organization. How does creating hot leads through social selling work? How are these leads followed up by the SalesART-experience center, which approaches customers digitally (by email, telephone or preferably via FaceTime or Join Me)? Which SalesART experience do we use to replace a corny sales call?

My advice: start gaining experience tomorrow and map out a route with clear goals. Otherwise you’ll do projects without reaching the initial goals. Think big, start small, don’t wait.

Do you want to learn more about what a modern sales machine and commercial blueprint should look like? Take the test, book an inspiration session and challenge your team to find ways to make a difference with your organization.

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