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Jumbo shrimp; agree to disagree; honest sales. Which of these phrases is not a true oxymoron? In the modern B2B era, actually, it is legitimately possible to conduct successful sales activities without lying, if you have a decent solution, professional training and a mechanism for delivering your value proposition that respects the time and needs of your buyer.

It wasn’t always this way, of course. In the pre-Internet days, the power belonged entirely to the salesperson, and the customer had little opportunity to validate, cross-reference or fact-check what their salesperson told them. Today, the pendulum of power in the buy/sell dynamic has swung to the other side. Buyers conduct entire buying cycles – different from a sales cycle – using the online information available to them to evaluate a company’s marketing, social media footprint and customer references without even engaging with a salesperson.

The lesson here? Salespeople can’t fake their way through any sales situation anymore. Authenticity is essential because any lapse in delivering satisfaction has the potential to instantly go viral. Given the current level of access to unlimited information on the web, buyers are more sophisticated and informed than ever before, which forces us to treat our sales prospects with elements of respect and deference that were virtually unknown in the “Mad Men” era.

Aberdeen research shows that using sales content management portals to communicate and engage with prospective customers is a highly effective mechanism for delivering this non-optional authenticity. Think of it as a sort of neutral ground in the buyer/seller relationship: instead of e-mailing an endless array of attachments, spec sheets, contracts, or proposals, with virtually no insight into whether the potential customer is opening or viewing this content, contemporary sellers in Best-in-Class companies are deploying deal rooms to respectfully show materials to their customers. With analytics in hand to reveal the extent to which the prospect is or isn’t engaging with content, it’s far easier to know whether the messaging is effective, as well as how legitimate the “I really think I’m going to close this deal!” statements from the front line really are.

Read the entire report here.

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