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The Sales Review

Tactics and strategies to align with the modern buyer

Dear Sales Leader: Here Are 6 Reasons Why We're Behind Our Competitors

Posted by Julia Manoukian on Aug 11, 2016 9:58:04 AM

6-reasons-why-were-behind-competitors.jpgThe truth doesn't have to hurt. The Titanic called itself “unsinkable” so much that it started believing its own hype, and everyone knows where that went. Recognizing the truth earlier would have kept it afloat, and the same is true for any business. There's no room in the budget for vanity. Here are vital stats that sales teams can use to back up their arguments when discussing social selling training with their managers. Cold, hard facts don't even know how to lie.

1. Rock Stars Have Limits

When companies hire sales “rock stars” who excel at traditional methods, they tend to see around 5-10 percent uplift in revenues. Not bad, but not good either. In comparison, training the entire sales team on social selling techniques can return up to $5 in revenue for every $1 spent. It's a smarter investment to develop the entire sales team into rock stars.

2. Cold Calling Is a Money Sink

Dial and smile, grinders make binders, canvassing for cash, sweat equity pipelining. There are a million euphemisms for cold calling but they all involve burning through prospect lists in return for a close rate that's unsustainably small. A 99 percent failure rate wouldn't be acceptable anywhere else in business. Social selling accumulates customers who bring back upsells, repeat business and referrals in their networks. Cold calling is the opposite of relationship building.

3. Lack of Content = Invisibility

It's no wonder why customers flock to companies with a strong online presence. Companies that have more than 400 pages of content indexed by search engines enjoy 6X more leads than those with 100 pages or fewer. Sales teams that start out with a narrower pipeline are working at an enormous disadvantage. Personal branding and reliable content generation can put a business of any size in competition with the biggest brands on the market.

4. The Clock Is Ticking (Digitally)

Most clocks don't tick anymore, but that's not the point. Seconds are still marching past and 2020 will be here in a short three-and-a-half years. That's when digital will be responsible for almost half of all sales on average, according to the best estimates. In industries like retail, digital will be even more important, representing 58 percent of sales. Are most sales teams ready for that? Survey results show that they aren't. Around 84 percent of companies will not have the people or skills they need to keep up in the world of digital sales. The 16 percent that have already done the hard work of digital transformation will have limited competition for the best customers.

5. The Bar Has Been Raised

How much revenue is enough? The smartest answer is that there should be no upper limit. The Aberdeen Group found that companies taking advantage of the new social channels like LinkedIn see 21 percent more reps achieving quota and 15 percent more customers signing up for renewals. Companies that aren't continually seeking improvements in these areas are becoming less competitive.

6. "Mad Men" Was Just a Show (and It's Over)

Hard sells and deals over golf games are relics of another era. Today, 61 percent of B2B marketers are building expertise in lead generation using social media. It's easy to fall back on old habits, even ones that don't work, just because they feel so familiar. Some businesses prioritize the status quo over what works, but those business belong in the past.

The truth didn't hurt after all. In fact, lack of revenue hurts much more than the truth, and results of social selling will take the sting away. Make sure to train your team in social selling to stay ahead of the competition — but don't wait too long, you never know what the next change might be.

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Julia Manoukian

About the Author

Julia is focused on creating, managing and producing everything content-related at Sales for Life. From product to content marketing, she is committed to constantly evolving the company's marketing strategy to exceed the demands of the ever-changing buyer.

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