How does the digital world impact businesses, and how has the actual sales process changed? CEO of Innovate+Grow, Gopal RajGuru explore these questions at the Aalto EE’s Divia seminar in Helsinki.
Gopal RajGuru is a sales, leadership and innovation trainer and coach based in Geneva, Switzerland. His background is in high technology sales, marketing and management. He is also coaching in Aalto EE’s “Negotiation Skills” program.
At Divia RajGuru spoke about the change he has witnessed in the sales process. Digitalization has meant much deeper cultural shifts than just trading turning digital.
”The speed has changed. The speed with which decisions are made these days is significantly faster. This something sales management and sales processes need to adapt to. Before it was acceptable to react within weeks. Now you need to be able to react within hours.”
Digitalization also profoundly changes the seller-customer relationship, Mr. RajGuru argues.
”When I started selling - back in the dark ages - it was actually meaningful to ask questions like ’What is your company’s vision? What is your mission?’ To get to know the client by talking to them. Now, if we ask those kind of questions we demonstrate our lack of preparation and expertise. ’Haven’t you checked our website’, they’ll ask.”
So, in a way, digitalization challenges sellers to understand their customers and customer’s needs better than before.
”The amount of data and need for customer insight has grown dramatically. Today it is much more about actually understanding the customer. It’s not enough to be an expert in what you sell. You need to be an expert in what the customer needs.”
Mr. RajGuru talks about the digital footprint a potential customer leaves. We can learn a lot about the customers by tracking their interactions in social media, for example.
"How you sell is how you win. It’s not about the product - many times it is very hard to differentiate. It’s about the way we engage the customer. The way we sell is the reason we win.”
However, in the midst of this big change, Mr. RajGuru warns not throw away all the old tools.
”We still go to trade shows. We still advertise in print magazines. Customers still contact us directly. There are a lot of customers who haven’t gone trough the digital transformation themselves. We need to be able to serve them, too.”
But no matter how traditional or modern the customer is, one big paradigm applies in this digital era: "The customer is driving the process.”