Blog/You Need to Start Adding Value in Sales Now

Figuring out what is the future of sales involves consideration of the sociotech shifts taking place in particular market niches. Change is inevitable and creates ripples felt by everyone involved in the process. The future of sales then lies in adjusting to the rapidly progressing technological advancements and creating added value to stay relevant.

There’s a prevalent belief, rooted in facts and observations, that multiple tech and cultural developments are coming after sales people’s jobs. These include:

  • artificial intelligence
  • chatbots
  • self-checkout machines
  • automation software
  • software trials
  • customers reaching salespeople at a later stage in customer journey

Indeed, they’re all already here, however, most of them aren’t being used on a major scale. Yet. The good news is there’s time for you to get ready for what’s coming and make the most of it. As it is now, the regular salesman replacements still aren’t as good as humans in many areas. This leaves room for you to reinvent yourself and thrive.

Now, before we move on, let’s make one thing clear. The reality these days is that a regular sales rep isn’t really needed by a regular buyer. At least not as much as in the old days. The latter collects all the information needed to make the buying decision on his own. On the other hand, more of a consultant-type of a salesperson will always be in demand. I mean, someone a buyer looks up to for valuable advice, almost like a dentist, or a doctor.

It’s becoming increasingly crucial to be able to bring in some extra value in order to stay competitive against what automation solutions offer. Let’s now take a look at what awaits particular groups of salespeople, depending on the kind of product or service they deal in.

The future of sales predictions

Here’s a basic matrix to help you better understand how different types of sales reps will be affected by the upcoming future sales trends.

future of sales matrix

Simple cheap

A person dealing in products or services that are both simple and cheap pretty much ends up being a customer support representative – someone who merely helps complete the transaction. These people will be affected the most by solutions like live chats, free trials, marketing automation, and new procedures.

It seems like budgets for new sales-boosting tech will bulge at the expense of manpower. Top management will be looking to replace the employees not delivering extra value with digital solutions that actually do that. And you can’t really blame them. Customer service excellence thrives on details that are hard to grasp to low paid employees and unfortunately those jobs are usually the entry level low paid ones.

Complex cheap

Trying to sell stuff that’s complex and cheap is problematic because prospects may not have time or willingness to properly understand your offer. On top of that, you have no unit economics to actually compensate for complexity with qualified manpower to educate the client on the customer journey. What’s making things worse is that you’re possibly looking at a rather low return on the time and personnel investment in this case. But that’s not what’s coming. This is the present state of affairs, really.

Simple expensive

Here I’m talking about inside sales reps, the ones working at the office, who are making field salespeople obsolete in many industries (non-enterprise SaaS being the pioneer). The future of sales will see further cost optimization, and travelling around, visiting leads and prospects doesn’t fit the trend, as it’s unscalable and expensive.

Complex expensive

Lastly, people selling things that are complicated and expensive seem to be positioned better than anyone else because they’ll be working on involved and challenging sales issues. They’ll be able to command attractive salaries and there will be much more of them in the future – but not as many as to compensate for the job loss in other areas.

We’ve seen this in other niches before. Say, a blacksmith no longer makes his living shoeing horses, but rather manufacturing designer gates worth thousands of dollars.

Generating the ever-elusive extra value

If you want to keep customers around, you have to be of use to them, plain and simple. One way to achieve that is by becoming somewhat of a partner providing actionable advice and having their best interest at heart, not just yours.

Take time to get an in-depth understanding of your client and his needs. Don’t push your product pre-qualification. A much better strategy involves providing guidance in areas that go beyond what is purely the subject of sales.

For instance, we at RightHello offer individual consultancy which normally is a standalone service, however, enterprise clients who have purchased our more expensive plans can expect it to be delivered on top of what they already receive.

This is a very specific example and I’m sure there’s something your customers will find valuable, that you can start providing to one-up the competition. It’s all about meeting expectations and solving actual problems. That’s the way to make customer stick around.

Final word

So, going back to the original issue, is there anything that can be done to stop the looming, fundamental change?

Well, the answer is two-fold. There isn’t much you can do to stop the change altogether. It’s like a tsunami wave you have no actual protection against. If you’re determined to face the storm, be ready it’ll break your mast.

What you can do though is educate yourself to bring more value to your customers and migrate towards selling things that are complex and expensive, which should improve your bottom line as well. Most people in other fields won’t make it though, because it’s not a quarter-long journey – it will take at least a year.

That said, if you’ll take time to find your way around in this new environment requiring adding extra value to stay on top, you’ll be alright. Adapting on the go is tricky but it’ll set you better off in the long run if you manage to do it.

Keep tabs on what’s going on in your industry and take initiative. It’s better to introduce informed changes steadily than wake up in a world where you’ve become outmoded. All in all, aim for solving actual issues, instead of hard selling, and you’ll weather the storm.