Why Selling Is No Longer an Art
Sales has always been a tough job. It requires discipline, self-awareness, a thick skin, and a go-getter attitude.
Fifty years ago, if you asked a salesperson how he is so successful at his job, he may have said something like, “I’m naturally good at building relationships” or “I was born a people person.” Five decades ago, selling seemed like a pure art form. You had to learn how to interpret body language and phone conversations, and how to influence and motivate people you know nothing about. The best salespeople seemed to have been born with a special gift.
Today, if you asked the best salesperson how he is so successful at his job, he may say something like, “I track every phone call and email I send and analyze the data to see what is working and what isn’t” or “I have a dashboard with real-time metrics of how my sales efforts are working.” Of course, the modern salesperson still has to stay on top of communication best practices, make calls, and engage in social selling. However, this data-driven way of selling will soon become the future for all sales reps.
Here are three reasons why selling is no longer an art and why it is becoming a science:
There was a time when salespeople could only track how many emails they sent, how many calls they made, and how many responses they received. Today, there are so many more opportunities to track communication and engagement. You can track open rates and click-through rates of emails you send, how long someone spends on a page, whether or not someone opened a presentation or proposal you sent, and more. Salespeople don’t need to have any prior experience to run these tests or analyze the data, nor do they need IT or marketing’s help. They can see what works and doesn’t work as they go, in an easy, understandable way.
Selling Is Measurable and Understandable
Technology Takes Away the GuessworkRather than writing a subject line that “just feels right” and never knowing how it resonated with your recipient, today’s sales reps don’t need to guess or stay in the dark. You can track the specific words you’re using on chat or in emails and how those words affect interaction. Or, figure out what kind of voicemails lead to email replies or call backs. The point is, salespeople don’t need to rely on their instincts as much anymore. They have the data that proves what works and doesn’t work.
You Can Create a Repeatable, Documented ProcessOutreach and engagement are no longer abstract terms that vary from sales rep to sales rep. You can now create a repeatable process that any sales rep can quickly learn. You can create email templates, voicemail templates, chat templates, opening scripts, or demo videos based on real successes. You can also create the ideal workflow for a sales reps, with data-driven insights like what time and day to make a follow-up call or when to make the first outreach.
How to Apply This to Your Sales Team
Have each rep run one test each week to start out. They could choose to test subject lines, call to actions, the piece of content they share, the time they make a phone call, or anything else. The point is that they choose what they want to test and collect data to see what was successful.
However, this approach is a discipline that takes time to perfect. The goal is to learn from every customer interaction to continually improve future interactions. This comes from being consistent and diligent in how you communicate and to track everything you do. Then, to analyze that data to make long-term improvements.