The primer sales handbook written by Joseph H. Crane, the brother-in-law of John Henry Patterson of NCR, describes the sales process in 4 steps:
- Approach: helping the businessman for increasing the profits
- Proposition: describing the product and the benefits
- Demonstration: actually demonstrating the product
- Close: a number of closing techniques were presented
Content marketing might just have replaced the salesman in this part of the sales cycle.
The salesman can still try to help the customer but most of the answers will have been answered already.
Long before the salesman has a meeting with the prospect, the influencers and decision makers have visited the website and know all about the product and solution.
Instead of the salesman proposing the product, the probable buyers will query the salesman on issues and matters about the proposed solution. With a bit of bad luck the inquirers will know more about a specific product than the poor salesman with many products to sell.
A lot of B2B products are very hard to demonstrate as the set-up or installation is far to complex and costly.
A video or screen cast can replace the demonstration, but again the salesman is not required.
Although during all the previous the salesman is hardly involved or required, but for the closing the salesman is irreplaceable as he brings a part of trust. He needs to take away the risks involved in the purchase. Let’s just hope he didn’t screw it in the proposition stage by knowing less about the proposed solution than his inquirers.