The Ubiquity of Technology and Data is a Double-Edged Sword.
On one hand, the sheer volume of information can make selling more difficult. It can become unwieldy, confusing, and overwhelming to you and your prospects, thus hurting your sales efforts. However, if you know how to control and use it, know which bits of information are important and which are a distraction, you are in an enviable position to sell more. How you best engage with technology and information and use it to your advantage to get the optimal return is paramount. Salespeople need to become master craftsmen, able to do things with the tools they have better than their competitors. This has always been true but more so now because of the impact technology is having.
As a salesperson, the best and easiest way to do this is to know who you want to sell to (title of person and/or industry) and use that as your filter for information. This could be in addition to the personas are developing for you in their own marketing efforts.
Used properly, technology allows us to expand our skills and markets, get greater exposure, and allow more people to find us so we have more sales opportunities. It allows us to differentiate ourselves which is becoming harder and more important.
Let’s look at one of the issues arising in today’s sales world from this onslaught of technology.
Technology and the Web Can Commoditize All Offerings
From the buyer’s side, the abundance of products and services to choose from is much greater than ever before. For example, if you enter the words “managed hosting” into a Google search box you will get more than 9 million results. The dilemma of deciphering the differences can be so overwhelming that buyers will often simplify their decisions by making price the deciding factor and lumping all the other variables into a “they’re all pretty much the same” category. This makes it easier for them to decide. They might not give you as much time, either, because of the time pressures they are under or the medium you are using. (In general, people give you less time virtually than they do in person.)
Vendors contribute to customers’ penchant to commoditize an offer in large part by using the same terms or labels as each other. For example, many vendors in the managed hosting business (companies that host websites for businesses) use the same terms, such as “24/7 support,” to compete and differentiate themselves. What this term doesn’t tell a buyer is how many people are available at any one time during their 24/7 support, or how well trained or qualified they are. Salespeople therefore need to make sure that their offer is presented in a way that is differentiated from others.
So companies and salespeople need to learn to differentiate themselves, be more skilled in a way that has meaning to the prospect and helps them stand out from the competition. This not a technology issue, this is a sales/skill issue which needs to be paid attention to.