The Future of Selling
The world of selling has evolved very quickly in the last eight or so years. We are in an age of technology and consensus buying. Consensus buying means it’s no longer a case of identifying and connecting with the decision maker in the room. According to a recent study by CEB (now Gartner(, there are, on average, 5.4 stakeholders involved in a B2B purchase. These buyers report they are having a harder time differentiating between the competing products and solutions being presented to them.
Look at the dramatic role that technology plays in our buyers’ behaviors when looking to solve a problem or address a need. Buyers now report being nearly 57 percent of the way through the sales process before engaging a sales professional, regardless of the price point.
Here’s the rub for those of us working in the sales profession: CEB's research also shows that sales professionals’ selling behaviors are not evolving quickly enough to keep pace with their buyers’.
What does this mean? It means that the product training you likely receive coupled with a robust sales process—the one you hopefully experienced during your sales onboarding—is no longer enough to arm you to successfully navigate a changed and still-changing selling environment. The traditional methodologies and sales processes don’t work, because buyers are no longer using traditional methods to make purchasing decisions. The traditional methodology of matching solutions to buyers’ needs is no longer a differentiator.
Our presence can be the difference. Successful sales professionals “become the value themselves, work with buyers collaboratively, and create real change for their customers.” Great presence means we have the ability to read the selling situation and seamlessly adjust our behavior to authentically and purposefully connect with our buyers. We are persuasive because we have genuine regard for our buyers and convey a passionate belief in what we are selling.