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Sales 3.0: How to Survive and Thrive in the New Landscape

This post is based on a podcast with Barbara Weaver Smith. If you’d like to listen to more #FlipMyFunnel Podcast episodes, you can check them out here and listen to this episode below!

Sales 3.0 has arrived and could be about to destroy your sales job.

When account-based marketing and sales enablement platforms meet artificial intelligence, the salesperson needs to add more value than merely taking the customer’s order.

Just as McDonald’s is striving to replace human cashiers with self-order kiosks, Sales 3.0 will eliminate any sales position that doesn’t help the end customer with their business.

To prepare for this future, listen to today’s episode of the Flip My Funnel podcast. We spoke with Barbara Weaver Smith, Founder and CEO of The Whale Hunters.

Here’s What We’re Unpacking Today:

  • Fun Fact
  • Whale Hunting = Sales 2.0
  • Sales 3.0
  • The Future of Transactional Sales Is Bots
  • The Future of Complex Sales Is Very Human
  • Sangram’s Summary
  • Barbara’s Challenge

Fun Fact

I wrote the words to my high school’s alma mater song. So I’m legendary at Dallas High School.

Whale Hunting = Sales 2.0

Smith’s book Whale Hunting: How to Land Big Sales and Transform Your Company outlines how technology has transformed sales over the last ten years. She’s also written a series of articles on LinkedIn talking about how Sales 2.0 is evolving into 3.0.

In this context, Sales 1.0 was traditional sales methodology. Sales 2.0 is marked by the birth of digital sales and social sales about ten years ago.

Sales 3.0

Today, Smith sees Sales 3.0 in the advent of account-based marketing.

The size of the marketing technology stack is exploding. Many of these technologies use artificial intelligence to enable sales.

What worries Smith is that artificial intelligence can’t look at the sales process comprehensively. This makes it difficult for many small to medium-sized companies to assess the technology options for them.

Technology has expanded the capabilities for sales teams, and given companies the opportunity to be much more customer-centric.

In Sales 3.0, there is just one team. Sales and marketing move closer together to create a comprehensive business development process. Other departments such as operations and customer success work with sales and marketing to make sure that the company can deliver for the new client.

The Future of Transactional Sales Is Bots

Smith defines transactional sales as anything that can be sold directly from any kind of catalog to the buyer where there’s an order-taker.

All of these industries have been disintermediated over the past decades, and it’s continuing to happen. Wherever the customer and the product can come together directly without any middle person, that’s going to happen. It’s inevitable.

Machines are going to buy from other machines. The dishwasher’s going to order its own soap. That’s already happening. The big machines are going to order their own replacement parts.

With these transactions, there will not be order-takers on the phone. There’ll be customer service people who will take a back seat to technology. Think about your recent Amazon experiences, how many of them required a phone call, chat, or email to a person?

The Future of Complex Sales Is Very Human

Salespeople will have to be better informed. They’ll have to know a lot more about business in general, more about the industry, more about how businesses make money. They will have a different kind of conversation, be completely focused on the customer, not on the bells and whistles of whatever they are selling.

Sales compensation will have to change as well to reflect this new way of selling. The compensation standards are evolving as we speak.

Sangram’s Summary

  • You should read Smith’s book Whale Hunting: How to Land Big Sales and Transform Your Company.
  • Ask yourself “what will it take for me to be Sales 3.0?” which is technology plus AI plus sales enablement. I think this is going to be incredibly important.
  • You close the sale with one team; marketing and sales are joined by a very important team member which is operations.
  • There are two futures for sales, transactional and non-transactional complex sales. Figure out where you stand. If you are doing more order-taking, then your job is going to go away.
  • Wherever customer and product come together, that’s where the magic is. That’s where you need to focus. If you can make that work, then you’ll have a great sales career.

Barbara’s Challenge

When I was researching my latest book, Whale Hunting With Global Accounts: Four Critical Sales Strategies to Win Global Customers, I talked with a lot of big company buyers.

What they told me is, “We are tired of sellers who are shallow, who come in and talk about their products and services and what they can do. We need sellers who can help us devise and achieve strategic objectives.”

So my challenge is how can you educate your sellers and help their clients to devise and achieve strategic objectives?

This post is based on a podcast with Sangram Vajre and Barbara Weaver Smith, Founder and CEO The Whale Hunters and author of Whale Hunting: How to Land Big Sales and Transform Your Company. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below.