The pandemic, social change, and economic crises impact all of us, personally, organizationally, and how we engage our customers. It has forced each of us to rethink, reset, and change.
We all know that selling is changing profoundly. As much as some might wish that things get back to normal, we know that normal has changed forever–as it should. And as a result how we sell, how we engage customers, how we work will change–I think profoundly.
A lot has been made of “virtual selling.” Many see that as the future of selling. Looking at moving from F2F presence to remote engagement. We revel in the number of meetings we can have every day as being something that can dramatically drive performance (Every time I hear about this, I reflect on the work of SDRs over the past years, thinking, “Why do we think all this is new? Why different?”)
Many are combining the concepts of virtual selling with digital selling. But it seems the focus of this is more content through more channels, along with content that aligns with where the customer is in their buying process.
But that’s not particularly new or different. Leading organizations have recognized that customer are leveraging multiple channels in their buying process and that content needs to be relevant to them and where they are in the buying process. So that’s not particularly new, leading sellers and marketers have known this for some time.
Having said all of this, it’s an exciting time. As a profession, we seem to recognize, perhaps driven by survival, that we need to reinvent ourselves, so there are fascinating conversations and ideas around the “new selling, virtual selling, digital selling, and so forth.”
But I’m worried about these efforts. I think we are missing a huge opportunity. As usual, when we talk about the new selling, we tend to talk about what we are doing to our customers. We look at “How will our people work, how will they engage customers, what do we need to be doing to drive revenue growth with our customers?”
There is a different opportunity. Our customers are going through similar exercises within their own organizations. They are trying to figure out, “What does the new world of work look like? How do we get things done in our own company? What does it mean to become more digital in our operations? How do we work with each other, how do we collaborate when much of this may be virtual?”
It turns out our customers are trying to solve the same problems of communicating, collaborating, engaging, working together, growing, achieving,, and moving forward, that we in sales are facing. It turns out, they are facing the same issues sales is facing around decision confidence and sense-making.
Sales and marketing are figuring it out for what it means for us and our ability to achieve our goals. Our customers are facing this in developing their strategies and solutions for moving forward. And we, each, will be figuring out how we work with each other in our complementary roles of buying and selling.
We have an interesting opportunity. It impacts us and our customers alike. It impacts every organization. Doing nothing, not changing is not an option, so each of us must figure the path forward.
We are each trying to solve exactly the same problems. Doesn’t it make sense to figure this out together, rather than doing this independently? Don’t we have the opportunity to reinvent what buying and selling mean, and how we work together more effectively?
After all, we are each solving the same problem–from slightly different perspectives–but with the same shared goals.