When I think of B2B sales, it makes me want to take a nap. It’s so boring!

I can’t imagine that being a good thing for sales in the future.

It’s a slow process, and it can be boring.

  • Pick up the phone
  • Say your pitch
  • Have your objections prepared
  • Convey the benefits of buying your product to potential customers.

You might not always close the sale after a follow-up call or two. Or you could meet someone for coffee and swap pleasantries at a conference.

I can’t support this any longer.

We need to combine the newest and best sales tactics with the basics that made us successful in organizations worldwide.

There is a misconception that only younger generations are able to keep up with changing technology. One way to change this perception would be for older people in the workplace, like myself, to embrace new virtual sales machine.

The future of selling needs to be revolutionized by the entire community.

We need to think about how the sales process will change in the future and what buyers will want tomorrow.

You’re probably wondering why the virtual handshake sales has run its course, but I’ll tell you what to do in order for it to turn around.

 


The Old Virtual Handshake Sales Rep Used Isn’t Enough

In 2014, marketing automation was the most popular new trend for sales teams across all industries.

In the beginning, it seemed like a good idea to try and hire diverse employees. But after time passed, we realized that diversity cannot be forced.

Email felt like the answer to all of our problems. We hacked it and created a virtual hand shake tool that was automated.

But there is a downside to this. Technology and channels are not the future of sales.

Email is a good example of this. We’ve been so focused on email as a channel that we forgot other ways to reach people and build rapport, which has led us back to the same top-of-funnel metrics from 15 years ago.

Automation and email have made it hard for us to sell. It’s not just because of their use, but also how they’ve taken the human out of selling.

I can’t automate the sacred pitch to that extent.

The only problem with this is that it doesn’t account for the modern buyer journey. We need to find a way to make selling more relevant and interesting, so we can keep up.

  • The way people buy today
  • A lot of people have shorter attention spans now.
  • The more informed people are, the better.

Email open rates are at an all-time low. Human interactions aren’t really happening, and automation is necessary to make contact with people.

I’ve noticed that some companies are doing this”¦

Some sellers have forgotten how to communicate authentically because they’ve automated everything, and all their communication is through email. They don’t even know how to speak with someone on a personal level anymore.

Most sellers have not been able to keep up with the digital age.

Many people have tried the same hacks on LinkedIn, and they’re all spamming each other.

With all of this, it seems as though the job market is in trouble.

I want to give you an honest look at what’s happening in the industry. It isn’t all bad.

The Pendulum Swing

It seems like companies are going back to basics and focusing on the fundamentals.

I think people are fed up with technology and want to interact more in person.

Human-to-human interaction is where sales began, and it’s definitely the future of sales.

Social media is a way for companies to distinguish themselves from bots and trigger points. It also provides authenticity that salespeople have never experienced before.

But I have one big caveat”¦

When I first began hiring salespeople, I just assumed pay along with commissions and bonuses would be enough motivation for them. With my first salespeople, however, it was clear that this wasn’t the case when they continued to request more money in order to stay motivated. Eventually we found a balance between base salary plus commission structure which seemed much better suited for their needs.

It’s tempting to take what we know now and try to turn it into a system that can be used at scale.

But that’s just another way to overload our system, like we have with email. The point is to be human not create a system out of channels which are similar but different.

For one, research is crucial.

It’s not enough to read the company annual report. You need to know what your competitors are doing, which is more important than ever.

G2 is the way that buyers will see your company for 4-5 years, so be smart about it.

Second, it’s important to come off as human because of the rise of bots and artificial intelligence.

When you are looking for a job, it is important to be human and build your network on social channels. It’s the best way not to seem like an automated process.

When you work with your local mortgage broker or agent, they know something about the industry that you don’t. So show value and build an audience of buyers who will purchase from you in the future.

Social media can be a great way to build an international network.

The Future of Sales: A New Virtual Handshake Sales Reps Must Use

I know you’ve heard my thoughts on the future of sales. I think what was working before is no longer enough, and one way to fix that is by becoming more human.

Now, let’s get tactical.

It is difficult to come off as human, but it’s important for meeting new people and making a good first impression.

It is not necessary to be human in order to be personal and relevant. In fact, when you are communicating with someone from a keyboard or email marketing department, it can seem more impersonal.

So how do you scale your efforts to be more inclusive? Let’s take a look.

Be a Human

My advice to salespeople is that they need to develop good interpersonal skills in order for them to be successful.

In a DiscoverOrg survey, 55% of companies who experienced at least 40% growth over the past 3 years listed cold-calling as an effective way to find new business.

If you are looking for a job, don’t be afraid to make cold calls.

It’s important to keep improving your people skills.

One way to improve your sales calls is review them. That’s the only way you’re going to identify areas for improvement.

Your tone and reactions need to be empathetic and upbeat, especially if you’re communicating over the phone.

  • When you’re interviewing, don’t sound like a robot.
  • Make sure you have a reason to call, and make it sound like you care.
  • If you feel like something is not working, don’t be afraid to change the script and try a different approach.

Next, I’m going to talk about

Be Social

In order to be successful in your job hunt, you need to make sure that you are active on social media sites.

You can use your knowledge of the industry and expertise to help rebuild people’s trust for salespeople, which is something that I really want to do.

While you can give information that people could find on the internet in 30 seconds or less, offer something real and insightful instead.

Don’t use LinkedIn as a way to spam people with cold pitches. It’s not the new channel for that type of behavior.

You may think you don’t have any value to add, that your perspective is limited. But it isn’t.

Here how I do this:

  • I connected on LinkedIn with someone I met.
  • I post about once a day.
  • It’s always good to follow up and contact your new connection. I send them relevant voicemails and videos through LinkedIn.

You can do this, and it won’t come off as spam.

I base my posts off of conversations that I have had with CEOs and sales reps. These chats help me to add a little color into the topic.

Sharing stories from your interactions with people and giving advice is a good way to share some of the unique things you’ve learned.

Now that you are an influencer, your opinion is welcome in someone’s inbox.

Tying It All Together

It’s never been a more exciting time to be in sales, but you have to change the way that we do things.

If technology doesn’t improve efficiency or effectiveness, it’s not worth the investment.

Automation is efficient, sure. But what’s more important is whether it produces the results you want.

When you create a sales organization, it is important to make sure that the company is both efficient and effective.

  • Utilize technology in your marketing and outreach to make it easier for potential customers to find you.
  • Provide them with information that will help their decision making process
  • When you’re trying to establish a successful partnership, it’s important to focus on building trust.

We have to find the right time and way for technology to handle certain tasks, while humans take care of everything else.

Diversity is important in many workplace environments, and it’s not just about hiring. It includes initiatives to diversify the job market.

Bottom Line

If you’re afraid of automation taking your job, make yourself irreplaceable. Cut out the parts of your job a robot could do and focus on what only humans can provide.

If we focus on the basics, then you’ll sell more. It doesn’t matter how much automation is involved because if it’s not working out for you, there are other options.


 

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Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.