As the world has changed, the hybrid sales model has emerged- how can salespeople master it?
Salespeople are the guardians of industry and customer insight - and that insight and focus is invaluable. But don't just picture those nearing retirement who are seasoned sales veterans. Salespeople age more quickly in their trade and often get their wisdom faster than other employees.
It comes from the push and pull of sales interactions, the pressure of quotas, and crafting winning deals, so it creates "old dogs" at a pretty young age. An experienced, veteran salesperson can be any age - we're really talking about people that learned to sell before the digital space took over.
First the shutdown, and now the hybrid sales model
It's left lots of people experiencing what Toffler called "future shock." First, all tradeshows, in-person sales calls, and even internal meetings were shut down, and then we all kind of got used to working in our slippers - salespeople and buyers alike. Working through a stack of business cards seems like a distant memory.
As the in-person world re-emerges, the habits and preferences that developed over the last two years are sticking. Especially with buyers. They were already leaning toward talking to sales after doing all of their own research, and now that trend has accelerated in a big way.
It's a digital-first experience, and a good portion of the interaction that salespeople have is actually occurring through that (sometimes) trusty 24/7 salesperson called the company website. (Check the footer below to get a grade for your website).
The content that marketing publishes online is now the meeting before the meeting with sales because that is where the buyer is doing their own investigation. If the sales voice isn't in that messaging, then many prospects will go elsewhere, and the readiness of the customers that sales does talk will be poor. Sales and marketing alignment is vital for any growth strategy.
The hybrid sales model is what salespeople who understand the digital-first world are doing to live in both the digital and in-person sales worlds. And it's more than just using video calls.
Zoom is just Step One in learning the hybrid sales model
Looking good and managing a Zoom of MS Teams call is one of the most important parts of hybrid sales, but it is just the start. The hybrid salesperson has to start by understanding the entire buyer's journey that the buyer (and their formal or informal buying committee) is on. The buyer is comparing the digital experience they have in learning about you, getting answers from you, scheduling with you, and meeting with you to all of their other sophisticated consumer and business experiences online. If you can't stand up to that comparison, the salesperson and the company look out of date. A sure recipe for the buyer moving on to another source.
The digital natives have to help, too
True alignment between the sales and marketing team is not just a luxury, it's critical. The digital natives in marketing are responsible for the first part of the buyer journey, and sales insights have to be infused. The content that marketing creates has to be dual-purpose for both attracting and serving clients, but also as a key tool for salespeople to build trust and keep prospects warm. And the tools of digital go far beyond the digital call to mastering a single source of truth (the CRM) and using other digital communication. The role of marketing has to include sales enablement too.
Where to start? Start with a serious look at your sales and marketing alignment and a commitment to crushing any silos that exist between them. That foundation is built on a buyer journey that both marketing and sales need to inform.