The new generation has grown up with the internet, smartphones and social media at their fingertips, shaping their appearance and interactions with the world. A 21 year-old entering the workforce in 2006 had, on average, played video games for 5,000 minutes, exchanged of 250,000 emails, instant & text messages, and had 10,000 hours of cell phone use, according to Marc Prensky – known as the inventor of term, “Digital Natives.”

Staying connected is more important than ever in a world where we use technology to share and assemble information into patterns. You can find the new generation in offices using multiple screens, streaming music and interacting with their smartphones at the same time. Enabling, motivating and selling to this generation is one of today’s management challenges.

Buying and selling is rapidly changing

As a result of rapid technology evolution, customers now seek information in different ways and their purchase behavior is gradually changing as a result. Consequently, the role of sales and marketing is also changing. Josh Bernoff from market research company Forrester calls this the beginning of the “age of the customer”, which heralds the end of the previous “age of information”. I wrote an article on the impact and pitfalls specific to this transition into the age of the customer and some more insight on the age of the customer itself.

Impact on Digitalization in the Field of Sales

Let’s take the example of a seasoned sales rep having to interact with a digital native customer. He’s been trained and is an expert in asking questions, listening, uncovering pain points, and is able to prove the benefits of a solution. He’s equipped with a laptop to perform demos during meetings. He may try to avoid the use of marketing-prepared presentations as they are often not adapted to real sales situations. As a result meetings can be full of misalignment because of the customer is expecting:

  • The sales rep to be knowledgeable on the specific business, ways of working and corresponding challenges of his company
  • ROI figures and insight as to how the company could change its way of working
  • Visual support during the conversation
  • Less focus on the features of the product itself; which is often what sales is most trained on.

In addition, he may be irritated at how lack of technology use slows the meeting. So let’s have a look at the impact if the sales rep was armed with adapted materials and technology. Many things would be different, but the most important ones are:

  • The Sales Rep can analyze and prepare the content of the meeting based on the buyer’s readiness. This allows the sales rep to ensure the right topics are discussed and they are aligned with their customer’s expectations.
  • The sales rep can be armed with the right sales technology and enabled to use interactive tools in an integrated way. Provisioned with sales tools specific to the buyer’s persona, and relevant for the company. Maybe any business case he shares has been predefined with comparable and realistic numbers showing ROI and other relevant impactful key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • The interaction changed to become a relevant engaging conversation aligned with  the vision and understanding of the customer.
  • The company is able to improve the use of sales tools as well as analyze the impact of existing tool usage on close rates.

Impact and complexity

For companies to accommodate the new buyer there needs to be change. This change can’t just take the form of adding more technology to the existing environment. It requires a clear understanding of the buyer, how they need to be supported and what is of most value to them.

Join Showpad and Perpetos for an informative webinar on September 17th to learn how top sales performers increased their numbers by shifting from product pitches to dynamic and value-driven sales conversations.

This article originally appeared on the Showpad Blog.