How Time Has Changed in Today’s Sales LandscapeArticle by Colleen Francis, January 21, 2022
Today’s sales landscape is a radically different one from just half a decade ago. It’s not just that it’s increasingly digital and that everyone keeps on adapting quickly to the global pandemic. Those are symptoms. There are deeper tectonic shifts—years in the making—completely rewriting the map of the ground under your feet.
There are four cold, hard facts that are reshaping today’s sales landscape. You must understand each one of these so you can develop a winning strategy for success in the years ahead.
The first big one: time is not on your side. Left unchecked, it’s your adversary. Unchecked time makes doing business with you seem difficult, confusing, and slow. Instead, you must ruthlessly harness time: turn it into the defining characteristic of your brand. If you don’t, you can bet your competitors sure will.
The solution here is what I call time-based branding. When you correctly reorganize and refocus your sales approach around this, everything you do makes the convincing case that you’re saving time for your customers (and for you as well). This isn’t rhetoric. I’m talking about delivering fully on your promises here. In doing so, it makes you and your buyer more profitable.
Three Key Strategies to Get Time on Your Side in Today’s Sales Landscape
To take full advantage of this, you must embrace three key strategies:
- Use speed to anticipate.
- Be a one-stop shop with a
variety of relevant products
under one roof (or website); and
- Be easy to buy from.
Let’s examine each element.
1. Speed to Anticipate
In today’s marketplace, your customer does their own research about you and what you’re selling…well before they ever call you. You must put down a trail of breadcrumbs so that when they go looking, they find you. And you must be ready to act fast when they do. Research here at Engage has found that 75% of customer orders go to the supplier who responds first to a customer enquiry. Anticipate this. Be ready to respond right away, meaningfully. Hot leads stay hot for minutes, not days.
2. Be a One-Stop Shop
Ten years ago, things were different. Back then, being specialized was how companies were winners. But today, your customer sticks with who they know…and to what already works. Here are two examples with two different outcomes. In the first case, a client of mine in the oil and gas sector picked up bucketloads of new business at the start of the pandemic. All because they made it easy for their customer to fill multiple orders in one place. In the second case, I had a client who decided they’d just keep on selling their same products to the same clients. They lost 80% of their business because product demand went through the floor.
3. Be Easy to Buy From
Time-based branding is all about finding and eliminating friction points in how your customer buys from you. Take, for example, the experience that one of my clients had when trying to purchase a CRM service. I put them in contact with a leading supplier. And that supplier put my client through a pointlessly long intake process. Only to then flip them onto a second business contact, who then proceeded to barrage them with the same intake questions all over again! Frustrated, my client and I went elsewhere. Fast.
So, get time on your side—serving you rather than the other way around. That’s the first of several ways that you and your business get Right on the Money. In the next article in this series, I’ll talk about the second cold-hard fact about today’s changed landscape: you must define and own your character both online and offline.