Small Business Marketing News

How Consumers Are Changing The Sales Process

Written by Tim Morral
Published: 6/6/2012

Technology is changing the way businesses sell products and services. But consumer trends and preferences continue to have the biggest impact on the sales process.

Advances in technology are dramatically changing the way companies sell their products and services. In both the B2B and B2C market sectors, technology has moved to the center of the sales conversation, sometimes dislodging traditional salespeople as the key driver in the selling process.

Consumer Impact on Sales Process

But according to marketing automation provider, Act-On Software, technology isn't fully responsible for the changes that are occurring in sales. In fact, Act-On argues that customers are an important part of the sales process and consumer trends are changing sales in at least three important ways:

Less Face-to-Face Interaction

Email marketing, social media, teleconferencing and other web-based selling strategies have decreased face time with prospects and potential customers. As a result, consumers have lower expectations regarding face-to-face selling, especially for low value items that simply aren't cost-effective for one-on-one selling.

Informed Customers, Fast Buying Decisions.

Historically, customers interacted with sales personnel to compare prices and research available products. Now, buyers use mobile and online technology to conduct their own research and price comparisons, making large portions of the sales process invisible to the company.

By circumventing sales staff, buyers catch companies off guard because it appears as though buying decisions are happening much more quickly than they actually are. Companies that invest in marketing automation have an advantage because they gain visibility to prospects' interactions with the brand much earlier in the sales process.

Lower Customer Service Expectations

For better or worse, consumers no longer expect a high level of customer service. Instead, buyers are often willing to trade service for lower pricing. As the pendulum swings back to commoditization, traditional selling techniques that relied on differentiation and unique product features are losing ground in the marketplace.

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