Humanising Sales in a Digital Era

Technology | 3 minutes to read

26th Jan, 2021

As the rest of the world wrestles with the philosophical, ethical and economic implications of digital disruption, the sales industry is looking towards the past for inspiration. But this doesn’t mean that we are moving backwards.

 Digital sellers recognise that they are missing a crucial element, an element that could make their strategies more effective – the human element. Hence taking inspirations from the past to design future strategies that are built around taking care of human needs. The central idea behind humanising technology in a digital age is putting people first and keeping technology in the background. Essentially, it means understanding customers’ need and providing technology-based solutions that fulfil those needs, rather than forcing them to buy something that you think is best for them. In short, they recognise the strategic value of humanising sales in a digital era.

Humanizing Sales

Technology has permeated every stage of the sales cycles, reducing the human element to a bunch of stats and figures. Somewhere along the line, sellers have lost sight of the true purpose of selling, i.e satisfying customers.

By making sales strategies more targeted in terms of what the customers want, organisations can experience high conversion rates and inspire customerloyalty. Here’s how you can go about humanising sales within your organisation.

Understand Your Customers – Start by asking yourself three critical questions – who are our customers, what are their needs and what difference do we want to make in their lives. The insights you get from these three questions will form the bedrock of your sales strategies. It is time to move away from generic sales tactics, where you shoot in the dark and hope for the best. Adopt a targeted customer need-based approach as a starting point for your sales strategies.

Adopt a Consultative ApproachOnce you understand your customers and are aware of their pain areas, it is time to adopt a consultative approach when it comes to making the actual sale. Rather than hard-sell your product, have a one-on-one human discussion with the buyer on their pain areas and look for ways to resolve them. This will not only help you close more sales but also inspire trust among your customers. In a recent survey by SmartAssistant, 72% customers said that being trustworthy should be top priority for a company.

Create Customer-centric product experiencesRather than creating one size fits all product experiences, put the customer at the center of your product experience design. In the same survey mentioned above, 54% consumers stopped shopping from a particular website because it was difficult for them to discover the right product. From creating product lines centered around customers to generating content that speaks directly to their needs and aspirations, putting customers first will make a long lasting impression on customers and enhance their product experience.

 The Role of Technology

While it is true that in order to humanise sales, we need to put customers first and technology second, it doesn’t mean that technology has no role to play whatsoever. In fact, the insights provided by technology will enable sellers to identify customer pain areas and create strategies that cater to them. Let’s take a deep dive into the role being played by new and emerging technologies in humanising sales.

AI-Powered Voice Assistants – From playing favorite music to getting weather updates, customers are using voice assistants to order day-to-day items by simply issuing a voice command. White this is all pretty interesting, it is how sellers are leveraging insights gained by tracking customers’ personal preferences what is truly exciting. For example, by tracking how much quantity of a product is ordered by a customer and at what frequency, voice assistants can suggest buying that item to customers before it runs out based on predictive analytics.

Big Data and Analytics – Big Data and Analytics are geared towards gathering insights from a customer’s journey, shedding light on their online purchasing behavior and their pain areas as well. Essentially, through big data and analytics, sellers are able to create a virtual map of a consumer, comprising of their likes, dislikes and purchasing patterns. This map is then used to chart the customer journey more effectively, by focusing on satisfying their human needs.

Internet of Things – Internet of Things applications are a prime example of customer-centric technology solutions. By embedding everyday objects or appliances with the ability to communicate with each other, sellers have made significant strides in making customer lives easier. For example, one big online seller discovered that customers want to order everyday items online but find placing orders on a regular basis too much of a hassle. To counter this, the online seller released dedicated, physical branded buttons, that when pushed, automatically placed an order for that product.

Chatbots – Fueled by AI-powered machine learning, chatbots learn-on-the-go about customer preferences and pain areas, and provide suggestions and solutions optimised to customers’ needs. Indeed, 54% consumers feel extremely more confident of making the right purchasing decision when they interact with a digital assistant.To keep the conversations interesting, chatbots can be programmed according to a personality type, which is a plus.

What do you get when you humanize sales?

Humanising technology is not only great for customers but also for the business. In a digital economy, organisations that focus on humanising technology will be heir to the combined benefits of customer satisfaction, low operational costs and high profits.

But it can only happen when organisations understand their customers’ needs, provide technology-based solutions that satisfy those needs and find the right mix of catering to human needs and technology implementation. Let’s take a look at three major benefits can derive by humanising sales.

Customer Satisfaction – When your sales strategies are oriented towards solving customers’ problems, you get satisfied customers. The importance of having a strong group of satisfied customers can’t be overstated. They not only ensure repeat business but also act as brand advocates through word-of-mouth marketing.

Low Operational Costs – Data proves that dealing with repeat customers lowers operational costs for businesses. Essentially, you tend to spend less selling to customers that are already satisfied and are repeat customers than selling to new customers, leading to low operational costs.

Higher Profits – Customers tend to go for businesses that truly understand their needs and work towards solving their problems, even if the solution comes at a premium price, thereby raising your profit margins and boosting your market share in the process.

Rediscover The Human Element

Technology has enabled sellers to track hundreds of leads from a single dashboard. To map out entire customer journey, from first contact to closing. To implement coordinated online and offline tactics to rope in customers. Although technology has made selling easier and more manageable, it has reduced the human element in sales to a mere number. The humanisation of sales involves understanding customer needs and aspirations by deriving the right insights and offering them solutions that satisfy those needs. Organisations that reorient themselves according to this approach will be the ones to emerge at the top.

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