Digital life is the reality today. We all are at that inflection point where the digital and physical world is merging, consequences of which are still at nascent levels of understanding. Technology has sure eased lives in terms of mechanising the chores and physical labour. However, in the process, it is impacting the understanding and human sensitivities that is a by-product of service. In the era of the digital disruption, it is pertinent that we focus on human experience and explore, invent and develop technologies around it, not vice-versa. For a salesman, it is all the more important that he views with complete customer-oriented vision, maps it against the right technology and devise the best interplay of human needs and technology at hand.
The interplay of needs and technology
Data deluge via IoT and increasing digital presence has enabled marketers and salesman to devise targeted approach within their business scheme. It has become easy to reach key decision makers and deliver the right information at the right time. Here, please note that ‘right’ is subjective at the best. While Automation has systematised most of the manual work especially at the grass-root level, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has enhanced managerial work and made it more effective and efficient. Data entry and quality of data at disposal have long been the bane of the sales function. A demand Gen Report states that the biggest challenge encountered by sales reps is a lack of accurate data and we understand that the accuracy of data is instrumental in research and analysis reports. The hurdle is being slowly decimated with emerging technologies as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and advanced CRM tools that are integrated with ML, AI and Analytics. Data accuracy has improved and disbursement of relevant data to a salesperson in real time is helping in weighing and articulating their sales pursuits. Further, a simple dashboard outlining customers buying behaviours and purchase patterns has become instrumental in analysing market potential and growth. No wonder, many sales pundits have declared this to be the advent of an era of smart selling practices.
With all the real-time knowledge and mechanisation, the bottom line in sales closure is the decision-making. Segmenting target audience basis job roles doesn’t ensure deep human insight or personality insights which are pivotal for decision-making. Technology at the best needs to be in sync with cognitive capabilities and must be optimised around people and their personality traits/buying behaviour. Simply put, a salesperson’s job is to identify problems, provide solutions, enabling customers to make apt purchase decisions, acting as personal assistance across digital channels – precisely going beyond selling products and services. This shall ensure legion of satisfied customers and high RoI paving way for business growth
No wonder, businesses are putting relevant context behind their customer communication, making them easy to understand and people-friendly. Have you noticed how voice commands in smart speakers mirror the human tone and voice modulation? Conversational interfaces are in vogue and are being widely adopted. Chatbots, voice recognition and natural language processing (NLP) that not only catch the accents but try to analyse the tone and feeling in the voice are all oriented towards capturing the ‘human’ angle of the customer.
The Human Angle
Humanising technology is an approach that keeps human at the centre of all sales processes. Let us look at some of the ‘sales’ steps with ‘human’ angle.
Identifying customers and recognising the need: This is the primary element in sales – getting to know your customer- their needs and demands, it aids in devising precise sales strategies. Instead of shooting in the dark and applying common sales tactics, adopting targeted customer need-based approach will help to form better strategies and realising the desired outcome.
Consultative approach: One-on-one human interaction to understand the pain areas of customers and taking initial steps in resolving them. It works in two ways: closing your leads and building the trust factor. To support the statement, a recent survey by Smart Assistant states that, “72% of customers said that being trustworthy should be a top priority for a company.”
Crafting customer-centric product experience: Marketeers and sales team need to focus on the customer while developing marketing content, designing products. This not only helps in better educating the customer, but it also makes it easy for the customer to discover the right product.
Dawn of Robust Sales Strategies
Technology has given us robots, but do we trust robots for making purchase decisions on our behalf? The answer to the question percolates every segment of sale strategy from identifying the prospects to sales closure to long-term business growth. Emerging technologies like AI and analytics can help anticipate customer needs and customise solutions and service to fulfil that need. It can also be used to identify customer orientation and preferences in real time lending an edge to the sales efforts. Establishing a strong foundation for customer relationship and inculcating brand loyalty then is a cake-walk! Rightly said – technology is all encompassing – the value addition in terms of ‘being human’ is the clinching factor in lead conversion and works as a great differentiator in the ever-competitive landscape.
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Bhattacharjee is Denave’s Global Chief Executive Officer, which he founded 19 years ago with a vision to fill the void in the industry of a service provider that can provide end-to-end sales enablement solutions with clear focus on revenue acceleration, ROI optimisation and measurable impact. In his role, he has a clear focus on operational excellence, innovation, expansion and profitability. Prior to Denave, he has worked with multinationals like Wipro and Microsoft.