In the age of the tweeting refrigerator, salespeople are transitioning. The process of a sale no longer unfolds over just one platform; however in many cases it does involve multiple buyers. Bar the anomaly that is the Girl Scout Cookie, the face of the company is no longer the salesperson. As a result, marketing analytics have taken the front seat in driving sales, opening up a whole new industry of firms offering to find niches for their customer’s product or service, to build and develop online content, and to manage existing consumer bases.
Ever since the concept of currency was introduced to the Roman Empire, entrepreneurs have been developing new sales methodologies in hopes to, in today’s terms, generate leads and keep conversions high. One of the most memorable of the early strategies is often referred to as that of the snake oil salesman. In the 1800s, Chinese railroad workers brought snake oil to the US, and it quickly became popular due to its alleged healing powers.
However, when American entrepreneurs began emulating the concoction, it proved to be much less effective, and snake oil quickly became a symbol of fraud. In the time of the snake oil salesman, the salesman himself had agency. If you needed to know the price of the product, you asked the salesman. If you needed to know the specifications of the product, you asked the salesman. Although it was an informal role, he could sell his product by manipulating the consumer with an exaggerated and inaccurate description of the product.
The idea of a salesperson developed throughout the 19th century, so that by the dawn of the 20th century, it became a professional role. Whether calling upon buyers’ emotions, building trust, overwhelming the buyer with pseudoscience, or using psychological tactics, the person’s performance, rather than the product or service itself, was largely responsible for the sale.
As concepts such as marketing and publicity took form in the last half of the 20th century, the salesperson’s role started to change, as well as the role of the buyer. Buyers started to do their own research on the product or service’s reputation and brand. Generating sales was no longer a matter of catching someone off guard and convincing them that they could not live without your product. It became a matter of trust, of value, of helpfulness.
Today, the traditional salesperson’s craft has transitioned. Digital presence is increasingly necessary for businesses to thrive and interact with buyers and manage their outputs. The heightened competition arising from the new characteristics of sales increases the importance of effective marketing. Today’s tools are perpetuating that trend, as they allow sales and marketing teams to interact with their target audiences 24/7 across numerous channels. B2B services such as Salesfusion exist to deliver an effective marketing campaign using web analytics, website visitor tracking, lead capture, and a number of other tools through the sales funnel.
Companies are not only relying on brand loyalty, they are working with B2B partner companies that specialize in helping businesses gain more customers and manage online presences. This matchmaking process of sorts is done through meetings and discussions to determine if the companies are the best fit for each others needs, ultimately deciding if the specializing partner company is able to provide growth for its clients’ products.
The collaborative process involves more than just products. Firms work with companies to ensure that salespeople are equipped from within their place of work to complete the task at hand. With project planning, development, and delegation among departments, the needs of a business are determined, then technological, branding, and marketing solutions are made.
Although the traditional snake oil salesman is dead, generating sales remains very much a craft, which is gradually evolving into a science thanks to B2B relationships and services. Sales departments may be growing in size throughout the nation due to larger markets, but at the end of the day, businesses know what products hold the most value. Their collaboration with partnered firms depends on this value, trustworthiness, and helpfulness; these brand preferences can be the biggest factor in overall partner success.