Even though sales managers understand the role of web content in the buying process, many still run their teams the same way they did twenty years ago. Intellectually, we all know what’s happening because we all use the web to research products and services. I find it fascinating that many VPs of sales I’ve met go online regularly, purchasing expensive products without talking to a salesperson, a set of golf clubs perhaps, but then say their market is different and insist on the cold calling, hard sell approach to sales they learned in the 1980s. It’s amazing that sales directors will go to the mailroom and systematically throw all their “junk mail” into the recycle bin without reading it and a moment later march down the hall and insist that the marketing department create a direct mail campaign. There’s a huge disconnect between the sales strategies and tactics that worked last century and what works today. And one of the biggest changes is that today, buyers are operating in real-time. This means that sales strategies must be agile to match.
The good news is that just because you already rely on salespeople to interface with buyers, it doesn’t mean you need to stick to the same old strategies and tactics. After all, as you’ve read throughout the book, buyers are now in charge. Therefore, I’d advocate for a new way that salespeople operate. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, all evidence I’m seeing points to an agile approach to sales working best. Agile refers to both the individual and an entire sales team focused on being hyper responsive to buyers. Instead of forcing buyers into the company’s sales process, an agile company responds to individual buyers based on what they are doing and how they are interacting.