RAB Insights

RAB Research Archive

Selling After the Crisis

The pandemic has changed all our lives. It has also changed the path to purchase, and some say forever. To maintain effectiveness in selling means identifying how these changes have affected our customers. Customers now navigate between various streams of activity, and this can dictate when to interact with them.

In his article, How Leaders Can Drive Sales, Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer Frank Cespedes gives the example of the automotive buyer:

J.D. Power data indicates that U.S. auto buyers now spend about 13 hours researching cars online and just 3.5 hours at dealerships prior to purchase. Although the vast majority of cars are still purchased from dealers, customers’ expectations of them have changed. Buyers now come armed with prices, product reviews and other information, and more than 50% say they will leave the dealership if a test drive is required to get the vehicle’s list price. Nearly 40% will not patronize a dealer whose website doesn’t list vehicle prices (many still don’t), and about 40% will leave the dealership if prices aren’t posted on vehicles. Yet many dealerships still train salespeople not to discuss pricing until after a customer has taken a test drive or committed time to the process, increasing dissatisfaction and hurting revenue.

The good news, according to Cespedes, is that particularly in B2B sales, most buying journeys require knowledgeable sales help. In other words, solution selling and account management still matter, but the activities they entail are changing.

The complexity of today’s sales process, customer path to purchase and what buyers demand is evolving. As marketing professionals, we have an obligation to understand the changes of the retail customer so we can advise our clients and we must be aware of the changes in B2B selling to adjust our sales model. According to Cespedes, “Few companies have adequately adapted their sales models to fundamental shifts in the way customers make purchase decisions.” These changes mean we have to evolve and redesign our sales model and organizational process on a regular and consistent basis. It’s not a one-shot deal.

Frank Cespedes will be our guest this Wednesday on the RAB live presentation, Sales Management That Works. (Click on the title to register free for RAB members)

It’s this type of information that will ensure our continued success.

Jeff Schmidt is SVP-Professional Development at the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach Jeff at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. or follow him on social media: Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB