Today’s sales rep has the world at his or her fingertips. In just a few keystrokes, the modern sales rep can:
- Find out who in the C-suite they need to contact.
- Log (and automate) every interaction with a prospect through their CRM.
- Automate AI to remind them of their prospect biases.
- Use predictive analysis to determine the best times to send emails.
- Learn the subject lines that get emails opened.
- Leverage the best types of video content that get prospects to take action.
We’ve gone from this sales rep: Hitting the streets to prospect with no plan or grabbing a page out of the phonebook to blindly cold call.
To the modern sales rep: Sitting in front of two or three computer screens tracking metrics while engaging in social listening or a webinar.
ALSO READ: Going Cold Turkey on Cold Calling Scripts
Thanks to the innovation of cutting-edge sales software, today’s sales reps are more productive and in a better position to add extreme value to their clients than ever before. And just like today’s better-used-as-doorstop, relic phonebooks, old school sales tactics have been pushed out the (nicely propped) door by new technology.
These five sales tactics are now extinct thanks to new innovations.
1. Pressing a Hard Sell
It doesn’t feel good to be backed into a corner. When’s the last time you bought from a sales rep trying to shove a product down your throat? The last person you’re going to buy from is the person that’s trying to force a decision rather than guide you to a decision.
“With the smart use of inbound and quality content marketing, the buyer is already 67 percent to his/her buying decision—pressure does not need to be applied. Educate, provide value, and service.”
Today’s buyer already knows your competition, their pricing, and their plans—high pressure sales tactics need not be applied. Instead, put your prospect in the driver’s seat by inviting them to a product demo through a service like GoToMeeting, Uber Conference, or Join.me.
Everyone likes the opportunity to be in control. A test drive allows the service to sell itself. Your buyer is already two-thirds of the way there, show them the value and be the navigator as they cruise to the close.
2. Feeling Entitled to Inbound Leads
Back in the dotcom boom a company could slap a “.com” on the end of its name and watch its stock double in 10 minutes. Afterall, they were now an “internet company.” But today everyone is online. It’s not enough to just set up a Facebook page, Twitter handle, Instagram account, and LinkedIn profile. Social media has long passed the Field of Dreams. Just because you have it, doesn’t mean they will come.
Generating inbound leads through social media requires the constant application of quality organic and curated content pushed out through the appropriate social channel. This positions the sales rep as a thought leader in the space, keeps them top of mind, and makes them an authority to buyers seeking your service.
It’s like Gary V. says, “Don’t just create – document.”
- Visually and authentically tell your story on Instagram to solidify your branding.
- Engage with the c-Suite on Twitter because of its reach.
- Own your space with the millennial market on Snapchat with short bursts of content.
Given the ridiculous over-saturation of traditional B2B channels like cold calling, modern sales pros can now leverage social selling to engage prospects—but you have to put in the work. B2B social sellers who leverage LinkedIn Sales Navigator achieve 7x more pipeline growth and 11x more revenue growth, on average.
This is no coincidence. It’s a sign of the times.
3. Spray and Pray Prospecting
Cold calling isn’t exactly extinct, but it’s evolved. The phone is still one of the most powerful tools a sales rep has at his disposal, but the days of blindly cold calling out of the phonebook or business directories are long gone.
With today’s technology, sales reps have auto-dialers at their disposal to save time. Entire companies are built to cold call and set appointments from targeted lists. More productive time can be spent on sales demos, follow ups, and closing activities while the bulk of your outbound is handled by other people or tools that speed up your sales process.
An inbound marketing strategy that replaces blind and random prospecting will add more leads and positive results to your targeted outbound strategy. Compelling content draws prospects in and creates leads. A well-crafted CTA that a prospect clicks on is a definite buying signal. Your content can be disseminated across social and email channels, providing an efficient and effective way to drive additional numbers of potential clients then smiling and dialing.
A well-targeted sales & marketing strategy is the one-two punch that leaves lazy random prospecting flat on the canvas. Draw them in with your content and use that interest to warm call, educate, and close.
4. Manually Tracking Contacts
What’s a Rolodex? Exactly. Still trying to figure out how to use the Franklin planner? Notes on napkins, Post-its, and spreadsheets that get lost or take hours to update have been replaced by intelligent CRM software that organizes, documents, and analyzes data to reduce wasted time and optimize prospecting time.
The smartphone may be one of the single best tools in a sales rep’s pocket because it’s so many tools in one. On-the-go and at the touch of a button, a rep can save e-signed documents and contracts and access apps to keep organized; close deals; transfer money; prospect by text, email, or call; and creating videos on iMovie.
5. Doing Things The Way They’ve Always Been Done
While technology has helped to replace outdated sales strategies, it will continue to evolve and replace itself once again. The modern sales world is no place for dinosaurs. Finding new ways to prospect, qualify leads, and close deals will keep you one step ahead of the curve.
Just because you were the top rep last month doesn’t mean you can put it on autopilot and reap the rewards. The sales reps who continually educate themselves through online learning programs, webinars, and cutting-edge conferences will continue to outpace extinction and continue to close deals.
What are you doing to make yourself better?
Make it a daily habit to improve your skills by watching videos, checking relevant news, and reading sales books to take your sales game to the next level and top of the leader board.
Tech for the Win
That old phone book and Rolodex have no place in the modern office (though maybe they’ll come in handy elsewhere). Things go extinct for a reason—they can’t keep up with the environment. But to remain successful, you’ll have to. And that means adopting new technology as it arrives. With each new service, you’ll be able to make the best use of your time so you can do what you do best: prospect and close business.
Max Altschuler is the CEO and founder of Sales Hacker, the leading community for the next generation of sales professionals. He’s the author of Hacking Sales: The Playbook for Building a High Velocity Sales Machine. Before entrepreneurship, Max was the first sales hire at Udemy, followed by running business development at AttorneyFee (acquired by LegalZoom).