Adapting to rapid consumer change

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is often misquoted as being ‘the survival of the fittest’ when, in fact, it is ‘the survival of the most adaptive’.


And that is how we need to be if we want to survive and thrive in these ever changing markets – adaptive.


This series of ‘Survival of the Adaptive’ articles will look at the key things we need to do as sales teams to contend with the many changes afoot in our 21st century world and marketplace.


One of the ways sales teams can adapt and really get ahead of the curve is by paying attention and focusing on how customers and prospects are buying, how their buying habits are changing.


The digital revolution and the explosion of social media has profoundly changed what influences customers.


When considering a purchase now, buyers (with easy access to literally hundreds of alternative sources of supply) tend to read online reviews and compare suppliers and price.


Once face-to-face with a salesperson customers are obviously in a stronger position than ever before.


After the purchase buyers become reviewers of service delivery. They have become more demanding about ongoing relationships with suppliers who they pressure for added attention, incremental service and support.


And because they have the negotiating upper hand, they can usually get what they want. If a supplier decides not to meet their demands, buyers are able to quickly and easily switch.


What is surprising is that many salespeople – even though they are aware of these changes and their managers have access to terabytes of data about buyer behaviour – still fail to assess just what influences their customers and prospects today.


One way to rectify this is to have a sales strategy that proactively monitors buyer behaviour and builds responsiveness into sales activities.


Those who do this by replacing traditional above-the-line advertising with internet-based social interactions and deploy salespeople to help buyers integrate solutions, rather than simply push their products and services, are generating more business, at better margins.


Remember everybody lives by selling something.


Sue Barrett is the founder and CEO of the innovative and forward-thinking sales advisory and education firm, Barrett and the online sales education & resource platform


This article was originally published on StartupSmart.


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