Most large businesses in the UK do not have a systematic approach to sales, a study from Huthwaite International claims.
Combining a survey of over 500 business leaders with national YouGov data, Huthwaite’s research states that 70% of business decision-makers felt their organisation’s salespeople did not have “a systematic approach to engaging with customers and prospects”.
Only 22% of British business decision-makers said their organisation had a single sales methodology and 8% simply didn’t know whether they did or not.
Huthwaite’s CEO, Tony Hughes states that while small businesses might be excused for lacking a single sales methodology (the research found that 71% of companies with 1-49 employees fell into this bracket), for larger companies, this was less acceptable.
“’Sales’ is not a dirty word and giving salespeople the tools to succeed can make a huge difference to the growth of the business. A sales methodology - and the skills that bring that methodology to life - allows customer-facing staff to build the value of the product or service with buyers, along with the value of their organisation itself,” says Mr Hughes.
“[Businesses] need a systematic approach to exploring, uncovering and developing their customers’ needs and a common language for presenting solutions and calibrating their progress in the sale.
“Our previous research has shown that salespeople are not listening to their customers enough and are not asking the right questions. These are just two of the skills gaps that need to be addressed if a company wants to improve the performance of its sales force. It’s not just trying to spontaneously get better, leaders need to take these skills seriously and invest in their employees’ development.”
How to do this is a major topic for debate. A 2015 study from Sales for Life found that 57% of a customer’s buying decision is now completed online before they are “willing” to talk to a sales rep, while 71% of prospects trust user-generated reviews on sites like TripAdvisor more than a salesperson in making a purchasing decision.
Chris is Editor of MyCustomer. He is a practiced editor, having worked as a copywriter for creative agency, Stranger Collective from 2009 to 2011 and subsequently as a journalist covering technology, marketing and customer service from 2011-2014 as editor of Business Cloud News. He joined MyCustomer in 2014.