Starting with a Clean Slate
Take look at your sales process as if you were recreating your company from scratch. There’s your products and services, markets, and clients, but do you have a legacy yet when it comes to sales teams, sales managers, marketing teams, CRM, marketing materials and so on?
Now, think about how customers buy today, how technology enables and how you can organize resources. Start designing your 2019 commercial powerhouse without boundaries. With this approach, will your outcome be different from how you’re organizing your sales, marketing and customer service?
Compare what is to what might be, and set out a roadmap to future-proof your commercial methods. There’s been a power shift between companies and customers. That starting point is how you meet the needs of today’s customers and shareholders, with their ever-more demanding personas.
Emancipated Customers: Where Sweet Dreams Meet Worst Nightmares
Disrupting selling is all about redefining your commercial approach without losing track of valuable aspects of the past. You’re drawing on a blank page, using the technological and organizational insights of today and tailoring them to the emancipated customer of tomorrow. The emancipated customer should be the focal point of your company and will prove to be your sweetest dream and worst nightmare at the same time.
Here’s how the dream goes: The emancipated customers take control. They won’t need your help searching and comparing or deciding. All you need to focus on is pre-sales and sales. The dream is obviously in the profit.
However, dreams can turn into nightmares in a heartbeat. Your emancipated customers have zero patience. They want it now, exactly the way they expect it. Mistakes are never forgiven; they are merely a reason to switch companies – or, worse, to slaughter you on social media.
Here’s Your New Philosophy
The good news is that you’ll now be working more efficiently. You’ll need less resources – and you can optimize the ones you do have in an ever-digitalizing sales process, where online ordering, self-care and self-management of client preferences is the preferred business model.
The bad news? Client-centricity will be the new dogma for your entire company – up to the smallest detail. You’ll have to invest in CRM and social listening. You’ll need to develop a culture where customer-centricity is experienced authentically and around the clock.
A Land of Enchantment
Disruptive selling is also about customer enchantment – delivering a memorable experience with every contact. It’s a high bar, one that is raised even higher by social media and television shows that format every aspect of our daily life, including restaurants and bars, renovation works, and travel. We have become experience junkies.
Theory to Action
The consultancy firm CPI has experimented with different formats focused on helping businesses implement a “disruptive selling” methodology. After three years of intensive testing, the importance of a 360-degree approach is clear.
Sales, marketing and customer service are essentially entwined. Changes in one field need to be supported by changes in the other and, subsequently, have a strong impact on logistics, operations and finance. Putting the customer in the driver’s seat requires a change in company culture, especially in the sales department. Salespeople must take on a fundamentally different role.
Implementing disruptive selling is complex. It involves identifying domains for improvement and developing a roadmap that involves every aspect of your business, from people to process, organization and technology. Its implementation must focus on the long term, introducing a cultural revolution with sufficient space for trial and error. Today, disruptive selling is seen as a design thinking methodology, introducing pilot projects and rapid iterations to achieve sustainable results.
Out with the Black-box Cowboy; in with the Connected Team Player
Transitioning a sales team from a group of lone black-box cowboys to one of collaborative, patient and connected team players with full focus on customer needs is a difficult process. However, traditional sales visits are more the exception than the rule these days. Lead generation has become a marketing activity. Customer service has integrated upselling, and forging sustainable relationships are now the customer’s prerogative, resulting in a lowered need for traditional sales qualities such as assertiveness, tenacity and boldness.
In short, if your company’s philosophy is that clients are merely there to buy, pay and leave, you’re in for a surprise. But if you’re a creative business willing to rise to the occasion, the gates to market leadership are wide open.