Traditional job descriptions and roles are no longer relevant in these difficult times. This is especially evident in the area of business development and sales. This trend is known as the “Open-sourcing of Sales.”
Sales Require New Collaboration
Companies cannot afford to keep selling in the hands of their sales team. To create a virtual sales team, companies must outsource their business development efforts beyond the sales department.
While selling used to be a job for a select few, it soon became apparent that all positions required sales. Everyone has a part, whether it’s the CFO who uses his contacts to gain access to new accounts or the project manager who adds touches to the sales database. Customer support staff can also revisit old customer contacts. Collaboration in selling can provide a new source for competitive advantage and improve revenue performance.
Crowd-Sourcing Your Sales
Your organization is in constant contact with thousands, if not hundreds of prospects and customers every day. This is more than the number of sales reps who come into contact with. Crowd-sourcing your marketing and sales is a great way to take advantage of this activity.
It is a simple idea that everyone has a part to play in finding the next customer and keeping existing customers happy. This could be a significant role for some, such as meeting potential customers or going out to meet them. Others may only need to take a small role, such as ensuring that customers are satisfied or contributing to the company newsletter. There are many ways your company can leverage crowd-sourcing to reach more people in the market. Here are some examples:
Participating more actively in events
Make more effort to network at events.
We are participating in the council of a professional organization.
LinkedIn allows you to share contacts and make introductions to people that your company should be in touch with.
Provide a referral to a brother-in-law who works in an account your company should be selling.
We are asking suppliers and customers for referrals or introductions.
Crowd-Sourcing Beats Hiring New Salespeople
There is no other way to get everyone involved in sales. It is financially impossible to triple your sales team. This is because your current team is more qualified to represent your company than any new salesperson.
Based on our experience, the success rate for hiring salespeople is just one in three to four. Even those who make it to the top can take up to nine months to become effective. Hiring new salespeople is not always the answer.
Buyers prefer to deal with professionals, technicians, and practitioners over salespeople. Sales success is dependent on your sales team’s understanding of not only the products but also the industry of the customer. This is the critical X-Factor that new sales employees won’t possess.
Crowdsourcing among your customers
You must also reach out to one final but vital group to help you market and sell. Your customers and prospects are the last groups you need to reach.
They aren’t on your payroll, and they won’t be. They can, however:
Better than any press release to grab the attention of customers
Communicate better than any brochure
You can convince better than any salesperson.
These people can speak the language of your customers and understand their most pressing issues. These are your customers.
Referrals and recommendations are often overlooked. Less than 40% of the salespeople we work with actively seek customer referrals or recommendations.
How many customers have you asked to refer in the last year? This is vital because customer referrals are likely to have a higher closing rate than average sales leads. Referrals can lead to faster buying cycles, improved sales performance, and higher win rates.
Collaboration in all aspects of the sale
Collaboration does not end with generating leads. It plays a significant role at all stages in the sale process, even after the sale is closed. This is why team-based sales have become more popular. We talked about how teams that bid on and manage major contracts are becoming more like the United Nations.
The 1980s saw the introduction of the concept of “moments of Truth” – any point of contact or interaction with customers or prospects by your business. It’s people, processes, and systems. Although this was before crowd-sourcing and open-sourcing terms were invented, the principle remains the same.
Jan Carlzon, SAS’s chief executive officer, stated that every interaction a customer has with someone employed by your company or representing it is a moment in truth. This interaction will determine the customer’s perceptions, experiences, and satisfaction. These moments of truth can also be sales opportunities – just as powerful as the salesperson’s presentation, pitch, or proposals.