What does Sales 4.0 mean?

Sales 4.0 as the new way of selling - What is changing?

The digital transformation has led to a change in information and buying behaviour. From a sales perspective, this means dealing with the needs of the target group in order to successfully address new customers and providing the appropriate information for each phase of the buying process. This is where sales marketing comes in, and it is an essential part of Sales 4.0.

Every company lives from sales. Its task is the acquisition of customers and continuous incoming orders and profitable turnover. To do this, the sales department enters into direct contact with the customer and in this way represents the company to the outside world. The better the marketing and subsequent sale of a product is matched to the target group, the more beneficial this is for sales and for monetary metrics such as turnover and profit. The know-how for the perfect approach and its targeted implementation comes from both sales and marketing. This is where efficient sales marketing comes in. Because no department can do everything and handle the process of customer acquisition alone. By bringing the skills of both departments to the same table, a benefit is created for the customer that has a noticeable effect.

The areas of sales and marketing must therefore not be viewed in isolation from each other. They complement, promote and condition each other. Consequently, sales marketing plays a central role in corporate management.

It is therefore hardly surprising that digitalisation does not stop at this area of the company – on the contrary!

What information is your customer looking for?

Compared to the past, potential customers have much easier and faster access to information. That is why the internet plays a central role today already in the procurement phase, also in B2B. More than 90 per cent of buyers in B2B use the internet for their research, as Buyersphere already found in its 2015 report – be it to research directly on a supplier’s website (56%) or to get an overview with the help of a search engine (36%). Before they take a closer look at a potential supplier, they already research a wide range of information, for example prices, technical information, competitive analyses or references. Customer acquisition that does not take the customer’s need for information into account, or does not do so sufficiently, is therefore more likely to fail.

This is where Sales 4.0 and sales marketing come in. First of all, it is important to understand which parameters influence a customer’s decision to buy. The more precisely these parameters can be determined, the better the chances of success. Almost every purchase decision is individual. It is therefore all the more important to collect and evaluate as much information as possible about the customer, his industry and the contact person.

There are numerous ways to do this. A good start is to gather information in social networks such as LinkedIn, Xing and Facebook. This often opens doors for small talks and an emotional introduction.

How can Sales 4.0 be shaped?

Sales 4.0 means carefully studying the requirements of potential new customers before making contact, for example via the websites of industry associations. Valuable tips are also provided by relevant studies by management consultancies, which are often even available as a completely free download. If you have an insight into your target group and know what makes them tick, are informed about their strengths and weaknesses, legal regulations and possible points of contact, the door will literally open for you when it comes to acquisition. If you know exactly where the shoe pinches, you can successfully tailor your solution to it and argue accordingly in the conversation.

Conclusion: Sales and marketing go hand in hand

The customer will feel understood and build trust – an important prerequisite for doing business, especially in B2B.  Sales 4.0 and sales marketing go hand in hand down this path. Because both departments have valuable competencies and knowledge to address target groups and bring them to a successful conclusion. Especially in the digital world, there must be a constant exchange of knowledge between both departments in order to meet the increased customer requirements. Sales 4.0 therefore does not only include the use of digital CRMs or mobile devices. Sales 4.0 means first of all understanding the changed information and buying behaviour of your target group and reviewing and adapting your own processes accordingly. It is equally essential to evaluate the information available about one’s own company from the customer’s point of view. How quickly and easily can it be found? How comprehensible is it? How up-to-date is it and does it meet the information needs of new customers at all?

The findings should be collected and reviewed in a structured process in order to create the basis for a new customer approach that focuses on the needs of the new customer.

Ich bin Marketing-Coach mit 20 Jahren Berufserfahrung in PR und Vertriebsmarketing im B2B. Aufgrund fundierter Ausbildungen im Systemischen Business Coaching und in Psychologie liegt mein Schwerpunkt im Personal Branding Coaching auf Persönlichkeitsentwicklung in Kombination mit Social Media Marketing und Content. Meine Überzeugung ist, dass es in einer immer unsicheren Welt Führungspersönlichkeiten braucht, die kluge Entscheidungen treffen und diese auch digital kommunizieren können – an Mitarbeiter, Kunden und Stakeholder. Mit diesem Ansatz unterstütze ich Interim Manager, Geschäftsführer, Selbstständige und Führungskräfte beim Aufbau ihrer Personenmarke und in ihrer persönlichen Positionierung. Ich bin Autorin des Amazon E-Books „Social Selling Praxishandbuch – Werde zum Influencer für deine Kunden“ und mehrfache Preisträgerin und Jurymitglied für Marketing, PR und Kreation der German Stevie Awards und der Asian-Pacific Stevie Awards.

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