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Article 3 (Jan 2019): Social media has changed buyers and salespeople

January 31, 2019
The world's leading research and advisory company, Gartner, Inc., declared in 2011 that by 2020 customers will manage 85 percent of their buying without interacting with a human.
That leaves us one year.  Is it happening?

According to the sales experts at Accent Technologies, it hasn't happened quite yet, but it's on the way, especially if you consider how comfortable people are with automation.  Even 10 years ago there was some hesitation with highly automated online sales, something you don't find today.
 
About 25 years ago, most customers still made their purchases in a physical environment--and salespersons were the go-to professionals.  Not anymore.  With an estimated 2.5 billion social media network users throughout the world, consumers are five times more dependent on digital content than the early 2000s. The purchasing process is dramatically different for consumer and seller alike.
              
What does that mean for sales?  Everything.
 
When the buyer calls, they either (1) need information they cannot get online, or (2) they're ready to make a decision--and want to make it now.  As a result, salespeople must be sure they can respond swiftly to whatever the buyer needs and are prepared to accelerate the process from there.
              
In today's connected society, people have more voice than ever before.  Customers can discover just about anything they want to know about a product or service by talking, texting, or emailing each other.
              
Recent research by PwC discovered that social media influences the buying of 78 percent of consumers, and nearly 50 percent said its reviews and feedback impacts their purchasing behavior.
              
According to LinkedIn, salespersons believe relationship-building has the most significant impact on revenue, with more than 70 percent citing LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook as their most effective social media tools.  Clearly, reviewing a prospect's social media presence should be standard practice for every salesperson.
              
Still another prominent force in digital technology is sales analytics, a big-data process which can identify, interpret, and anticipate sales trends.  Relevant data is also mined from different pipelines to detect relationships and potential opportunities.  Sales analytics can help sellers close more transactions fast while also furnishing the customer with hyper-relevant messaging and resources.
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