How data and technology are shaping a new sales paradigm

In a world where digitalisation is on the rise and companies are crossing boundaries into different industries, businesses are being challenged to redefine their approach to sales

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Data analytics has become increasingly important to sales teams, helping salespeople understand when to walk away from a deal, and when to chase it

In the last few years, the global business environment has undergone numerous dramatic changes, challenging companies to keep up with the transformation at an increasingly fast pace.

At present, four major disruptions are impacting the markets. The first is increased digitalisation. Second is growing urbanisation, especially in emerging economies. Third, the world is making efforts to drive growth but, because of an ageing workforce, is doing so without the labour market to support such growth.

Finally, the blurring of industry boundaries is challenging traditional companies, which must now compete with new players operating in different sectors.

A different approach
Sales departments are not moving fast enough to embrace change. At Miller Heiman Group, we know this to be a reality because the number of sales professionals meeting their sales goals has been falling over the last five years. According to a survey by CSO Insights, since the beginning of 2017 the decline in sales targets met was 53 percent, a 10 percent drop in targets met in the last five years. This proves that the old way of selling just isn’t working as well as it used to.

Since the sales climate has changed, the talent profile that sales organisations require must also change

In order to adapt to the new corporate environment, sales teams must focus on three areas. First, they need to add value and differentiation at every stage of the selling process. Then, salespeople must develop new ways to forge relationships with clients.

Finally, sales teams must take a critical look at their own organisation and assess how well it suits their customers. Succeeding in these aims is no simple task, though.

At Miller Heiman Group, we know training is important, but it’s not enough anymore. Sales leaders need a business partner, rather than a training partner. That is why we are becoming a business partner to help companies better utilise their resources and execute strategies. When it comes to talent, strategy and use of data, we’re helping businesses perform better.

Science over art
In recent years, the science of selling has become more important than the art of it. This means that it has become increasingly relevant to use tools like data analytics in sales. This technology can help salespeople understand when to walk away from a deal, and when to chase it. Moreover, data such as economic forecasts can indicate the right time to reach out to a prospective client. Miller Heiman Group has the tools to help businesses perfect the science of selling.

Artificial intelligence is a powerful tool that can help to distinguish the right stakeholders for each opportunity, facilitating deals by scheduling meetings, transcribing conversations and providing follow-up tasks.

Since the sales climate has changed, the talent profile that sales organisations require must also change. That’s why we’ve developed a unique talent instrument, capable of measuring talent and culture fit, learning agility, life experience and skills gaps.

The type of skills needed to be successful in the future will be similar to STEM capabilities. If the industry is data-rich, content driven and backed by ever-changing technology, the future profile of a seller will be more like an engineer than a business or communications employee. Only by taking these steps towards transformation can businesses embrace change and enjoy its advantages.