Is New Business Sales Dead as We Know It?
By Alex Low | @Alexander_Low
Based on recent conversations with Microsoft and LinkedIn it would seem so. Microsoft now market Dynamics 365 and Sales Navigator as a relationship sales tool. LinkedIn are focussing more on Sales Navigator for account management rather than out-and-out new business. I also see it supporting Account Based Intelligence as well as the account management side of things. This play makes perfect sense if we understand how your buyers now behave – 84% start with a referral
It is generally accepted that the cost of sale for net new business is considerably higher than that of generating new business from an existing customer – up-selling or cross-selling if you will. Which in theory means that existing new business wins should be more profitable.
We all accept, or are coming around to accepting that buyers in the 21st Century are buying completely differently to how they did, 10 even five years ago. This is nearly all driven by technology, and access to more information than they could ever need.
Not a single cold call in the last 12 months
This means they self-educate, self-select and don’t want to be sold to. They want to partner and build trust with a vendor. Although at the lower-margin, higher-volume end of the market, the role of a sales person is being diminished by technology and buyers’ desire for self-service.
I am not saying that you cannot win new business, far from it. We are 12 months into building a business from the ground up, all our business is new. We are now starting to grow some of our existing customers, but are still predominantly driven by net new business. However, there has not been a single cold call made in the past year. Not one.
All of our business has been driven either through relationships or social, underpinned by a purely digital approach. Of course, we make phone calls, attend meetings, pitch for business and so on. The approach and mentality we take though is very different to what we would have done 15years ago. This would have been the aggressive cold calling approach, not letting a prospect go until they didn’t return our calls. You know what I am referring to if you remember those times. Maybe fondly.
I know that every call I make, every meeting I attend, I am selling. Yet I don’t sell. I share as much information as I can about what we do, how we can help, and what is happening in their industry. All while offering advice they can put into practice even if they choose not to engage with me. I focus on giving them as positive an experience as possible at every single touch point. If there is no opportunity immediately available to close, I don’t. I keep the information sharing going. I treat them as if they were a colleague rather than a business opportunity.
Yes, this approach may take a little longer, but the opportunities are higher value and deeper in these kinds of relationships.
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