Marketing should play a pivotal role in your sales strategy

It is a tough time for sales in Singapore. In fact, research from Frost and Sullivan predicts Singapore’s retail sector will underperform its regional peers in terms of growth. With a growth rate of 6.4%, Singapore lags behind Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, but certainly there are ways for sales to overcome this lull period and it all starts with a tactical update.

Traditional sales tactics are simply not as effective as they used to be because consumers are privy to a wealth of information before making a purchase. And sales people globally echo the sentiment, with 57% of them agreeing that buyers are less dependent on sales professionals during the buying process compared to just a few years ago.

Shift in consumer mind-set

So, what are consumers looking to make their decisions? Here are some key stats. When trying to find out more about a new business product or service, 70% of APAC consumers used a search engine; 53% visited the official website; and 42% read newsletters or emails from the company. Only 29% of consumers connected with the sales representatives when they wanted to find out more.

So what can sales professionals do to show real value? First, they must recognize this shift in consumer mind-set to connect with potential buyers. Since consumers today conduct a lot of advanced research, they feel confident in their knowledge of the product they’re considering and have very specific expectations when they finally talk to a sales representative.

When approaching sales, consumers are ready to discuss pricing, how the product works and what they are trying to achieve with the purchase. Sales should answer and elaborate on their question instead of pushing their own agenda.

Beyond just changing the topic of conversation, salespeople have to be aware of a trust deficit plaguing their profession. While 61% of buyers want to connect with sales during their consideration phase, it is interesting to note that they trust information more when it is from customer service and marketing teams.  Salespeople should overcome this by working with marketers, not just physically, but also adopting the strategies used by marketing.

Become trusted advisors

This starts with an image overhaul. Sales representatives need to shift away from straight sellers to trusted advisors. With the help from marketing, sales can reframe content around what's best for the customer, even if it's not sales driven at first glance.

Take heed from the success of inbound marketing and consider using inbound sales techniques. This takes away the pushy stereotype that salespeople have. Keep interactions with consumers buyer-centric and start by actively inquiring about and listening to the buyer's challenges and goals for the purchase then tailor sales content to the wants and needs of the buyers with personalized messages.

Beyond this, sales representatives today can (and should) leverage a whole host of technologies to understand what buyers are saying online and which buyers are visiting your website, opening your emails, and even viewing your pricing page. Over time, organized sales teams will be able to identify the behaviors of best fit customers, leading to better qualified leads.

Businesses that take a hint from changing consumer mind-sets and adapt their sales strategies can stand out from their competitors. They will be more in-tune and connected with the consumer, in turn boosting sales and revenue.

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