Salesforces find themselves playing catch-up and / or struggling to integrate technology into their current sales practices. Should any tried and true systems or routines from the pre-social media days be preserved? Which might be considered obsolete or potentially damaging to a sales organization wanting to continue to thrive in this new era? Is any particular technology an absolute must?
The books below offer company presidents and sales executives advice and tips for assimilating all the various apps, software and social media into their existing sales methodology.
"Agile Selling: Get Up to Speed Quickly in Today's Ever-Changing Sales World" by Jill Konrath
Sales professionals understand the Internet changed buyer behavior. If buyers want information, they go online and they're at least 50% of the way through the decision-making process when they call a potential vendor. Sales reps need to know what to do about it. Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies, details what the modern buyer wants: an understanding of their business challenges, value at every interaction, and information they need the way they want to see it - quickly. In addition, she gives reps the specifics for dealing with today's buyer, and how to get up to speed more quickly.
"Sales 2.0: Improve Business Results Using Innovative Sales Practices and Technology" by Anneke Seley and Brent Holloway
Despite the explosion of online products and changing customer buying habits, the sales profession still lacks an innovative set of sales practices that work in the new reality. The high-tech revolution hasn't led to a revolution in sales strategies. Seley and Holloway use Sales 2.0 as an umbrella term to describe best practices for predictable, measurable selling that result in increased business. The authors discuss inside sales and the web as a strategic entry point for Sales 2.0, interview companies currently practicing 2.0, and offer real-world suggestions for getting started.
"The Challenger Sale" by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
Identifying salespeople as one of five types: hard worker, challenger, relationship builder, lone wolf and reactive problem solver, the author's extensive research champions the challenger as best suited to modern, complex, large scale business to business sales. Rejecting the idea that salespeople build relationships and that sales follow, leading-edge decision makers and buyers value innovative and creative reps who tailor their message to a customer's specific needs. A good relationship between seller and buyer develops as a result of this type of service. Filled with case studies, interview tips and a coaching guide, this book helps companies identify and train reps to develop a challenger mind set.
"Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers" by Robert Scobel and Shel Israel
While some books lay out a blueprint for putting together a social media program, Scobel and Israel focus on blogging. The authors view traditional, old fashioned PR and marketing departments, with their focus on "talking at" people, as obsolete. Blogs represent "two-way" marketing by allowing companies to interact directly with their customers. They maintain companies wanting to survive and thrive must adapt and integrate blogging into their marketing plan. Today's customer insists on interacting directly with employees working for the companies from whom they purchase goods and services. Chapters 10 and 11 entitled: Doing it Wrong and Doing it Right offer specifics on a successful blogging program.