As we are onboarding some interns with a sales-focused role in a few weeks, we kicked off discussions about what sales and marketing are all about. For people new to sales, it can be a bit confusing and there remains a range of perceptions about sales and the value of sales – from “used car salesman” analogies, to the highly professional sales leader.
There are many personal attributes of effective solution sales that are rooted in the DNA of the individual – like empathy, patience, intelligence, listening, questioning, sense of humor, ability to articulate ideas, being likable. This post is focused more on consultative solution sales – selling a complex, often intangible, product or service to discerning buyers and often, complex organizations. Solution sales requires an approach centered on the client or customer. This sounds obvious, but is often forgotten.
Trends are changing the role of sales.
- Buyers are using the web, mobile and social to self educate and they are often far more knowledgeable by the time they engage with sales
- There is a bigger role for marketing now because the web plays a much bigger role in the sales value chain including inbound lead generation
- Leading companies are aligning the processes of marketing and sales end-to-end recognizing the importance of a collaborative effort
While inbound is increasingly important, there is still a critical role for outbound prospecting and sales. More leads are generated from inbound marketing with valued content and lead gen tools, but sales must qualify and manage these leads while also developing prospects using more traditional outbound strategies.