The New World of Sales

Have you missed sales targets and seen profitable sales revenue decline, putting pressure on your cash flow? What’s more, maybe you know things have changed in the new world of sales but are unsure what to do about it?

If so, you're not alone. In view of what is happening, for many business leaders, the new world of sales has flipped the selling process, causing significant problems.

In reality, there is no doubt that Business-to-Business selling is very different from five years ago, and even more so since the global pandemic.

Evidently you will see from the data below, that many companies and their salespeople have yet to adapt to the New World of Sales. Your B2B sales strategy may need some serious updating. We provide insights on how in the following article. If you need advice, SVC Solutions can help.

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The Out-of-Date Sales Process

To illustrate the problem, perhaps at some time you have been on the receiving end of a pitch about a product or service? For example:

An excited salesperson describes all 'the bells and whistles', and different options to you. Significantly, you may not have had the opportunity to say much at all, and felt less and less interested as the salesperson continued the 'performance'. Eventually you cringed when you heard the words, "to be honest I like you, so I have a special deal just for you".

Likewise, you received the scarcity tactic "but this is only available if you order it today". Eventually you became on the receiving end of range of slick rehearsed objection handling tactics when you tried to escape.

Lastly, the deceit hits you when you discovered a few days later that the price was still discounted. The offer and availability statement was not genuine.

So, the above example is hypothetical but this author can recall several such situations. In reality, such tactics are outdated. Moreover, it is also very uncomfortable for the potential customer because it's not anything about them. The reality is, it's all about the salesperson's need to make a sale.

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The New World of Sales Process

Instead of the dreadful approach above, put yourself in the potential customer's position. What if a salesperson took the time to get to know you first?

Without being intrusive, and when it is convenient to you, you are asked about your business, and what you need and want. Additionally, without any selling you get honest options and opinions, so you feel connected.

Not only do you get to know about the benefits to you, but you can actually feel what the outcome would be like. In other words, that warm and happy feeling you get when you trust how the product or service will transform your problem.

In addition, you are not under pressure. Furthermore the conversation can continue another time. So you gladly agree to a follow up meeting either virtual or in person, when you have the time to further explore how the product or service can help you.

You can access the salesperson or their team when you think of a question, by a number of different and convenient real-time methods of instant messaging. 

How does the New World of Sales work?

In the new world of sales example, you experience conversational selling, a relationship built on trust instead of someone putting you under pressure to make a quick sale. With mutual respect and trust, you can develop a long-term relationship built up during real-time interactions similar to the way you communicate with your friends.

With the new world of sales, customers and prospects are encouraged to talk about their wants and needs. Indeed, instead of a sales pitch to satisfy sales targets, the focus is on you the customer.

Therefore you willingly engage in conversations and explain what you want and need, and asking questions as you think of them, guided by the salesperson's empathy and genuine interest. Also, you look to the salesperson for answers during your conversation and have respect for them when they find out if they don't know.

Thus the salesperson nurtures long-term relationships, which makes customers and prospects feel respected, and in so doing, they demonstrate the company's expertise and builds trust.

Build Trust with The New World of Sales

People increasingly choose brands on trust.

For example, the percentage of people who say that by default, they distrust something until they see evidence it is trustworthy:

Almost 60 percent!

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Trust comes from personal experience with a brand representative and their product or service. So the emotional aspect is essential, it may be business-to-business, but the process still involves people. Indeed, it is human-to-human.

You can only genuinely demonstrate how your product or service fits a prospect's needs when you engage in two-way conversations and gain their trust. Undoubtedly, the prospective customer will only buy when they are ready, not when you try to push them into it with a pitch.

Old-hat sales tactics no longer work in the new world of sales.

"The way the business world - from CEOs to sales representatives - tends to view the sales role remains mired in that traditional idea of, essentially, a walking, talking sales brochure. Unfortunately, not only is that method of sales no longer effective, it's downright detrimental."


Build expertise With The new world of sales 

When you have a conversational sales discussion with prospective customers, you have more opportunity to demonstrate relevant knowledge you and your company have. You also magnify integrity and expertise, as well as your trust.

Is this Really new?

Yes, and no. Indeed there has been a lot of sales effectiveness and behavioural research carried out over the years. To illustrate, below are just two examples.

Example 1

Spin Selling.

  • Huthwaite International carried out extensive observational research and analysis of sales behaviour. Evidently they studied over 35,000 sales calls made by 10,000 salespeople in 23 countries over 12 years.
  • Subsequently, the investigation led to Neil Rackham's book 'SPIN Selling' (first published in 1988).To illustrate, the book claims to enable salespeople to acquire a deeper understanding of their customers' needs, build a persuasive case around specific problems, and provide effective solutions.
  • In light of the research, the title SPIN is from asking questions about the customer's current Situation, Problems, Implications, and Need-payoff (i.e. the importance of solving a problem).
  • In addition, the book acknowledged that the customer's buying process is more important than your own sales process. Also, these steer the conversation away from the salesperson and the product or service to focus on the customer.

Example 2

Do You Really Know Who Your Best Salespeople Are?

  • Harvard Business Review published the findings of Lynette Ryals (professor at the Cranfield School of Management) and Iain Davies (lecturer at the University of Bath), in 2010.
  • In short, the study observed 800 sales professionals in live sales meetings, looking at their behavioural tendencies. Basically, they discovered eight different sales 'types':
  • The Best: Experts, Closers and Consultants.
    The Rest: Storytellers, Focusers, Narrators, Aggressors, and Socialisers.
  • Significantly, only 37% of the salespeople were consistently effective (The Best).
  • Markedly, of the remaining 63%, some behaviours actually drove down performance.

The percentage of sales meetings that result in a sale:

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The number of salespeople who exceed their targets:

Only 1 out of 250
  • Therefore, most costs associated with selling are wasted. In addition, they discovered that the additional cost of paying for failure in sales, raised selling prices by an average of 9%.
  • However, the good news is that sales performance results from behaviour (not personality), and therefore, anyone can perform well with an appropriate sales training and development programme.

Evidently, the New World of Sales embraces these and more. 

"Certainly, we know from our clients' results, that the cause and effect of a salesperson's behaviour can be improved to boost sales and achieve happier loyal customers. However, in the New World of Sales, it is surprising that some sales courses and salespeople are either oblivious to this, or choose to ignore the evidence."

Amanda Coulson
CEO & Founder

Worrying Sales Statistics

The following may be uncomfortable reading, but look at this:

First Meeting Sales Success (%)

People often hope to do business the first time they meet a prospective customer.

However, the percentage of sales that occur when two parties meet for the first time is just two per cent.

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Specifically, this isn't based on any "people", it is the performance of salespeople and senior management! Furthermore, this 2% of prospects who buy have already done their research and already know what they're looking for!

Salespeople Performance (%)

Furthermore, the percentage of sales made that happen after a minimum of five follow-ups is:

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To clarify, at least five (5) continuous follow-ups after an initial non-routine sales contact are needed before a customer says YES.

Whereas, the percentage of salespeople who give up on their prospects after they get one or more "no's" is:









So, 92% of salespeople give up after four "NO's", and only 8% of salespeople ask for the order a fifth time.

What has changed?

In truth, the new world of sales demonstrates that customers and buyers are tired of generalised and out-dated sales tactics, and scripted pitches. However, although studies have discovered what sales methods work best, far too many companies and salespeople seem stuck in the past.

Of course, in the past buyers obtained information from meeting salespeople to make informed decisions. However, suppliers were often thwarted with excuses rather than valid objections, because the buyers wanted the data rather than the conversation.

Meanwhile, compelling evidence shows that for many years, busy companies and their buyers have researched online instead of relying on face-to-face meetings with salespeople. Even before the pandemic lockdown, companies and their buyers wanted less face to face intrusion. However during the pandemic, virtual rather than face to face meetings rapidly increased. Indeed, it seems there is no going back. So, welcome to the new world of sales.

In summary, the result is that salespeople have been transformed from the usual way to obtain access to suppliers to one of various ways. Accordingly, most buyers have become savvy enough to research online first.

More Awareness with The New World of Sales

Undoubtedly, your prospective customers are overwhelmed. In this case, maybe like you they have challenges, uncertainties, and confusion. Consequently it is hard for your prospects to sort through it all with their business, and deal with endless sales approaches.

Hence, in the new world of sales prospects are not interested in sales pitches or conversations with salespeople who merely want them to buy. So, unless you recognise this and change your approach, your success is likely to be limited.

In view of this, prospective customers today expect value and guidance without being sold to. Thus it is is your opportunity to demonstrate expertise and empathy about the issues and problems they face.

It's Time to Adapt and Transform

There is no getting away from the fact that attitudes have changed, and the global pandemic accelerated technological change in the way companies and people buy and sell.

However, we cannot ignore the fact that businesses have changed forever, and consequently, so too has the world of sales. Undoubtedly, many companies and their salespeople have yet to adapt to The New World of Sales. Therefore your B2B sales strategy may need some serious updating.

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Five Essential Tips for Moving Ahead

  • Adapt
  • Be flexible; salespeople want to impact their role positively and need help.
  • Maintain focus and invest in your sales training and development
  • Your marketing function also needs to adapt and work closely with sales.
  • Work with a partner that understands your business.

Each of the above issues can consume enormous amounts of your management time. Also, we understand that it may be challenging to know what to do for a positive impact on you and your company.

Get Help With The New World of Sales

SVC Training can provide you and your team with a wide range of other virtual classroom skills-based courses and training to help you and your business. For a no-obligation confidential chat about how can help your company:

  • Message us privately by using the Contact Us button below.
  • Or call us on 01206 262117.

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