Since basic information is so readily available on the Internet, salespeople have to change how they approach customers and their role in the sales relationship. Pricing and availability questions are often available to buyers so sales needs to focus on solving problems and ensuring they are more readily available to answer questions and be knowledgeable about the overall buying process. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and do your best to truly understand their business and provide direction and guidance regarding what solutions will work best for them.

Working in a consultative approach that demonstrates you’re engaged with their business can provide maximum value as they source products and place bids. With the amount of information available online, many customers believe they already know everything to make an informed decision. To succeed in sales, you’ll need to effectively move customers away from this belief that they have everything they need to make an informed decision. How? A good start is to have face-to-face and in-person interactions, if possible, which reinforce that you are there to help the customer instead of just processing an order. The goal of these in person interactions should be on what makes you unique. By visiting onsite with a customer, you’ll naturally have a better understanding of their business and can offer recommendations regarding their business process which will have a positive impact on how they view you and your company.

In the past, sales often relied solely on personal relationships to maintain their business relationship. That is certainly no longer enough. The business relationship is driven by value that you can bring to the table. You must make a concerted effort to learn about what makes their business tick and what is critical to make their business profitable. Further, when customers have questions, they expect an immediate answer. Make sure you provide numerous ways to get a hold of your sales team in real-time. The old days of a callback in a few hours being sufficient are gone. Make the required changes so that you are providing real-time feedback to your customers including how orders are processed. Automating the order process can help provide immediate feedback, eliminate costly data entry errors and will assist in processing orders in minutes, rather than hours.

Finally, build a profile of your customers through the development of a detailed understanding of their business. This will help you understand what future buyers should look like and also give you upsell and cross sell opportunities with current customers helping you drive significant growth from existing customers. Keep in mind that the pace of technology innovation is not slowing so the sooner you can adapt your sales team to this new consultative approach with a focus on understanding your customers’ business, the better equipped you will be to manage growth and distinguish your company from its competitors.