Trust and technology: the secrets to sales success

30/11/2018

Trust is the primary concern for salespeople in the UK; while buyers seek out salespeople with the best understanding of their needs, according to new research.

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The UK State of Sales 2018 study, published by LinkedIn reveals that building trusted relationships with buyers is the primary concern for the UK’s salespeople.

According to the findings - based on research conducted by Market Cube on behalf of LinkedIn amongst 500 B2B sales professionals and 510 decision makers in the UK - more than a third (35%) of salespeople rank trust as the most important aspect for closing deals, and a further 22% rank it second. For top performing salespeople*, price is a primary concern (26%) followed by value and ROI (23%).

Key findings:

• 61% of the salespeople LinkedIn spoke to said they believe marketing plays a role in helping close a deal, but silos around data and targets prevent them from seizing the opportunities
• 56% of sales professionals expect their company to invest more money in sales technology
• More than half of the UK’s salespeople are now using collaboration tools (62%); CRM tools (60%) and networking platforms (55%)

However, a clear discrepancy emerges between sales professionals’ priorities and buyers’ needs, with buyers stating salespeople having a clear understanding of their business’ needs as the top reason (93%) for considering a brands’ products or services. Also featuring amongst buyers’ top considerations are the need for salespeople to share applicable content (93%); target the appropriate people (90%) and use personalised communications (90%).

When asked about their reasons for not engaging with a salesperson, buyers highlighted sales professionals lacking insight into their business (78%); the products or services being too expensive (77%); and the products or services not being relevant to their company (76%) as the top frustrations.

Rebecca Schnauffer, Director of LinkedIn Sales Solutions, UK and Ireland, said: “In a world where customers can find all the information they need on products and services online, sales professionals need to up their game in order to truly add value. Simply offering the cheapest product won’t suffice. The findings of our research highlight a clear call to action for sales professionals: business decision makers want to be approached by sellers with a clear and tailored understanding of their company. Failing to do the necessary homework, using the suite of technology and tools at their fingertips, simply isn’t worth the risk.”

Developments in sales technology are revolutionising the sector, helping salespeople to bridge the gaps with buyers, build trusted relationships and increase their relevance. According to LinkedIn’s research, more than half of the UK’s salespeople are now using collaboration tools (62%); CRM tools (60%) and networking platforms (55%) as part of their day-to-day activity. And looking ahead to the coming year 56% of sales professionals expect their company to invest more money in sales technology.

Rebecca Schnauffer continued: “While embracing new technology is critical, sales and marketing alignment also has a huge role to play here. Increasingly, businesses need to bring their marketing and sales teams together, fostering an open dialogue and encouraging them to share insight, intelligence, and even objectives. 61% of the salespeople we spoke to said they believe marketing plays a role in helping close a deal, but silos around data and targets prevent them from seizing the opportunities.”

The global State of Sales 2018 report can be downloaded here.

Methodology

The findings of this release are based on research commissioned by Market Cube, a global research fieldwork and consultancy company, for Linkedin’s State of Sales report 2018. Two online surveys were conducted between August 7th - 15th. The first was to a sample of 500 professionals from the UK who primarily work in B2B sales. The second was a sample of 510 business decision makers from the UK who have influence over purchasing decisions. Both samples were aged over 21 years old and employed at companies of different sizes and functions.

* Top performing salespeople: This is defined as those who exceeded their target by at least 25%. The non-top group would have either met their target or exceeded it by less than 25%.

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