Buyers Don’t Follow a Linear Path anymore so why ask your sales team to do the same?
article by Diane Shawe M.Ed
The sales funnel relies on the theory that someone comes into the top of the funnel and sales fall out the bottom. But is that true in today’s world? Do we start at the top and make our way through to the end? Or do we start at the top, leave, jump levels, come back, leave again, come back at the beginning and some point come back and buy or totally just leave? Are sales people following a linear purchase pattern or an erratic path of engagement that sometimes results in less and fewer sales?
Distraction is the Number One Barrier to Sale
Distraction is destroying the Sales Funnel. It’s clear that buyer behaviour is erratic, but they are also finicky and overloaded with information.. Distraction may very well be the number one barrier to a sale. We get distracted and abandon our cart. We stop reading the article that brought us to you. Simply put, any little distraction means we move on to something else and we may never come back. We are also finicky buyers, what we think one day may be dramatically changed by another piece of content that contradicts our previous opinion.
Let’s take a look at the Sales Funnel Concept.
The sales funnel has been around for as long as any of us has been in business. It is a tool that has been used to visualize everything from the sales process to marketing impact on an organization. I use to be a fan of the sales funnel. But the truth is, the traditional sales funnel model has been dead for years; we just haven’t come to accept it yet. They say a picture paints a thousand words, the problem is clients are overloaded with the same information. .
Buying patterns have changed drastically in the last decade. They’ve changed so much that they have truly broken the sales funnel as we know it.
Old habits die hard, so the big question is whether or not a sales funnel is still a viable model for sales concepts. Here are the biggest challenges I see with the sales funnel in today’s buying environment.
Selling the way your customer wants to buy…Not the way you like to sell
Sales Plan Mapping is all about Rapport. Rapport is defined as:
“A state of mutual trust and respect existing between two or more people. Rapport is the primary basis for all successful communication.”
Sales Plan Mapping is all about Rapport. Rapport is defined as: “A state of mutual trust and respect existing between two or more people. Rapport is the primary basis for all successful communication.” To build rapport with someone you have not met face to face is a learned skill referred to as NLP.
Learning to Plan a Sales map requires knowledge in a new type of Consultative Selling. Planning a Sale Map would mean learning new skills in 5 key areas:
- Best Practices
- Communication Skills
- Strategy and Traction
- Sales Project Management
The strategic role of continuous education
One way to stay on top of a rapidly changing market is to implement a business strategy that maximises the synergies between lifelong learning and workforce productivity.
Without appropriate technological support, training programs appear to be less effective. No matter the size of your business, if you stand still and basque in your current success, this is surely the biggest route to new challenges.
Even though research has shown that E-Learning proves to be an excellent way to achieve quality results in a short timeframe, most users still only dabble with free flimsy or overbearing solutions that provide no tracking, evidence or further sign posting to continue competence training.
Getting the world back to work with skills we can trust
POINT OF NEED TRAINING
Point of Need Online-delivered learning, using mobile technology within a context of continuous education, is considered strategic because it:
- Keeps the workforce appraised of their job functions’ developing requirements, enabling them to make a positive impact on their role individually and as a team and help that Organisation achieve its aims and goals
- Aids succession planning, helping workers to acquire the knowledge and skills to help them progress within their Organisation
- Allows Organisations to keep training budgets under tighter control, develop and retain existing employees and reduce the costs related to external human resources recruitment, selection and on-boarding
The current speed of change means that employees need to be trained continuously for Companies to avoid the dangers of being out-thought and out-manoeuvre by competitors especially on qualities such as leadership.
A poorly educated workforce results in decreased, indeed ever decreasing, levels of productivity and reduces their ability to deliver results. Ignorant and poorly skilled staff can’t (or, at least, shouldn’t) be promoted — since they don’t have the appropriate skills to help their company reach its business objectives. So Organisations need to go to the expense, in terms of time and trouble, of recruiting staff with new knowledge and competencies from outside the organisation to cover middle and senior level positions. It’s important to realise that not only does this practice have a negative impact on the organisation, regarding high costs per individual worker, but company results show that this approach isn’t always successful.
According to recent research (Lifelong Education and Labour Market Needs, published in The EvoLLLution online newspaper) examining the need for continuing education in the workforce, 64% of executives who are recruited externally fail within four years of joining the organisation.
Ideally, every company should have a Personal Training Needs Analysis plan in place for each of their employees. This project should engage the employee in identifying training programs that will enable the employees to develop the necessary knowledge and skills specific to them.
How can we help up-skill your sales team without them taking too much time of work?
Modernising your Sales Team – Project Manage Sales Mapping Whitepaper by Diane Shawe M.Ed