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The “new normal” is always changing in sales

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- Two industry experts at the Surface Transportation Summit examined a new approach to sales.

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Two industry experts at the Surface Transportation Summit examined a new approach to sales.

The STS welcomed Jeff Pries, senior vice-president of sales and marketing for Bison Transport and Thibor Shanto, principal for Renbor Sales Solutions.

A strategic selling plan, according to Pries, must have three qualities – or the three “Es”: Equip, engage, everyone.

“It is important to teach about the sales process,” said Pries. “It enables people who aren’t typically in sales to branch out and learn the process.”

At Bison Transport, everyone is equipped with the knowledge to understand the needs of their clients.

“We also consider how to keep an employee engaged,” Pries said. “Many sales reps are motivated by money, but recognition programs are also valuable.”

Pries also looked at the difference between a strategic customer and a transactional customer.

“A strategic customer is relationship oriented, they usually deal with senior management and they are collaborative in nature,” Pries explained. “A transactional customer is transaction oriented and usually reached by customer service or systems connectivity.”

It’s important for sales representatives to understand the differences in order to service each customer to the level they require, Pries said.

It also goes beyond understanding the customer, but producing best in class sales.

“My list of a best in class sales rep includes being tech savvy, driven, a negotiator, resourceful and honest,” Pries said, noting that there are many key characteristics that make a sales representative top-notch.

Pries believes that the days are sales representatives that wine and dine customers or the life of the party are over.

“It’s understanding your business and your customer’s business to make that critical fit,” Pries said.

“Develop something in house that enables sales representatives to understand they customer through a CRM system,” said Pries.

A Customer Relationship Management system is a model that oversees a company’s current and future customers by using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.

The discussion shifted gears slightly when Shanto took the podium to define the “new normal’ in sales.

“Change is constant,” Shanto said. “The velocity of change is so rapid it is difficult to assimilate.

“The only normal is new.”

In sales, Shanto said, it is integral to develop a dynamic sales process.

“There are three fundamentals in sales,” Shanto began. “Revenue, client requisition and client retention.”

A dynamic sales process that focuses on the three fundamentals will align a company to its customers, according to Shanto.

“The value of a process – a defined and dynamic process – results in an high level relationship with the customer,” said Shanto. “A dynamic process means less turnover and losses.”

The buyer process and seller process require some E.D.G.E

The buyer needs to explore, define, get a game plan and execute it. Whereas the seller will engage, discover, gain and execute, Shanto explained.

Managing time can also be an effective tool of a detailed process.

“Take your last 25 sales, see what time was required to execute them and use a bell curve,” said Shanto. “If it didn’t happen in a predictable time frame, it probably won’t.”

Furthermore, it is crucial for a company to define the role and structure of their sales team, as well as key objectives for the business in order to keep up with the constant current of change.

Shanto suggests a shift away from outside sales, which typically cuts into revenue and move to inside sales, that negate the need for office space because a rep can work from home, a car allowance and customer entertainment.

“A process is a roadmap for how you succeed in each sale,” said Shanto.

According to both speakers, this new approach to sales will be the main method embraced by the next generation of individuals in the industry.

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