Don Draper, the famous advertising genius from the widely revered 1960s sitcom Mad Men, may not strictly be a salesperson but he has become a sales icon nonetheless. But wining and dining prospects over an elaborate lunch or hoping to secure a deal over a bottle of scotch Don Draper style is an old fashioned and misguided approach to sales as we move into 2016.
Sure, his tactics were (at times) successful, but the consumers of today are of a different breed. They won’t be distracted by fancy lunches and bottles of champagne; they want promises that will become reality, and proof that what you’re offering them will really improve their lives. They’ll cut straight through any BS.
Winging it won’t cut it
For the modern salesperson, Don Draper will become a relic: a fictitious reminder of what sales culture used to be like.
That’s because by 2025, 75% of the world’s workforce will be Millennials - the first generation to grow up with tech influencing their everyday lives. They are used to technology informing their decisions in their personal lives which includes everything from which new belt to buy to where to go for dinner, and even which college course to pick. And they expect the same in their professional lives.
That means if you want to sell to them, you’ll need to be a lot smarter about it than Don was.
Clients have become more demanding. With heaps of information about their business available online and 24 hour access to emails, they expect a near instant response, they expect you to know everything about their business, and they expect to be treated like your only customer.
The right technology can make this considerably easier. Automated zero click data capture and activity tracking mean that in the face of constant distractions and interruptions and a multitude of clients to keep happy, you’re always equipped with the information you need for that all important call or meeting. Need to check the history of one account before shooting off to a meeting? Need to get a new team member up to speed on an account quickly? Or simply need to remember what your last client call was about? No problem. With the right technology this information is one click away.
Having access to this level of information means two things. The first is that you’ll never have to wing it Don Draper style again and the second is it gives you the time to focus on what matters: building clients relationships, not wasting time inputting data or trying to find the information you need.
Imagine a tool that assists you in working like a human, while still doing more than most people would deem humanly possible. Sounds too good to be true right? It’s not. Technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent times. While it still facilitates the gathering and sorting of data, it’s more effective, more efficient, and more intelligent than ever.
So intelligent, in fact, that it can help businesses pre-empt potential disasters before it’s too late, or even stop them from occurring altogether. Today’s CRM tech uses data to analyse a customer’s behaviour so that minor and often avoidable issues can be spotted and dealt with long before they become exponentially worse.
Tech like this, although new to the market, is revolutionising the way salespeople work and manage relationships. And, while it was yet to be invented, CRM certainly would have helped Roger Sterling anticipate Lucky Strike’s decision not to renew its contract with his agency in the fourth season of Mad Men.
If the customer is approaching you with their wants and needs, you’re doing something wrong. Use intelligent technology to its true potential by anticipating clients’ needs and getting in touch with them before they decide to pick up the phone to your competitors. The right tech will automatically collate and analyse historical data to build up a picture of a customer’s needs and preferences, allowing you to make accurate predictions about their future behaviour. From whether a contact likes to be called in the morning or after lunch to what sort of vocabulary they use, automated data capture technology has the answers.
Don Draper may be a legend (in 2009, 500,000 voters on AskMen.com voted him the ‘Most influential man’ even though he doesn’t really exist!), but his approach to sales and customer relationships is outdated.
Interestingly enough, in Mad Men series 3, a client tells Don that “when I want the moon, I expect the moon”. But that was the 1960s, and Don couldn’t give it to him then, even with his supposedly fool proof methods.
Yet in 2016, Millennial aspirations will soar past the moon and beyond, with no signs of slowing down. And, armed with the very best technology, modern sales professionals will not only be able to give their clients the moon, but also the stars and the planets too. The sky is certainly not the limit.