“Just a little of that Human Touch.” These words from a popular Bruce Springsteen song mean more than involvement in a personal relationship. As much as technology leads today’s social-driven world, the art of business-to-business sales comes from real, live human beings. Computers are wonderful tools but they cannot take the place of personal and passionate Customer Service.
Are Computers Better Than People?
Even though person-to-person contact is preferred in many industries, American workers are at risk, says CNN Money. Robots are slowly but surely replacing workers who handle routine labor jobs. According to a study commissioned by Bank of America, automation will replace 45% of the nation’s manufacturing tasks (that are currently done by humans) within the next 20 years. Skilled workers and professionals are also at risk as computer technology becomes more sophisticated and less expensive. The study predicts that nearly 50% of ALL jobs in the United States are, or will soon be, at risk of being lost — thanks to decreasing costs of computer technology.
The types of jobs which could get swallowed up by computers do vary, but many professions that depend on real people include men and women who understand the critical needs of small and large businesses. B2B technology sales will continue to need “a little of that human touch.”
Good Customer Service Means…
Automation is a key part of business today, however, providing consumers with the personal touch and good customer service is the difference that will keep your name at the top of their list. Whether they are buying for personal needs or their business, people want to be treated with reverence and respect. They want to know that the seller is listening and able to provide solutions to problems. People want to talk about what they need, what frustrates them, what helps them, and yes… even their personal lives. A good salesperson is there to listen, interact, advise and then suggest the perfect solutions for their clients.
Technology sales in particular require good customer interaction; B2B salespeople must provide the best software, hardware and other related items and service to their clients. Videos and brochures are helpful, says FastCompany.com, but they cannot make up for one-on-one personal service.
Although the actual purchasing of goods and services through the internet is increasing, true live-and-in-person sales representatives are still the best resources for technology-driven businesses. One reason is that consumers hope to engage with someone who will take the time to explain how everything works. For B2B especially, the client (or would-be client) wants to talk actual turkey with someone who has used, or is completely familiar with, the product. Owners and managers whose jobs involve making financial decisions for the company want to deal with salespeople that know what they’re talking about … and who will follow up after the deal is made. Clients need assurances that products will resolve their problems. People, not robots, will keep clients happy.
B2B technology can be a hard sell; sales people must create solutions that fit the exact needs of their clients. So many options are available on the internet — take that business-to business sales strategy out of the box! Create sales teams to expand on the concept of actual customized solutions. Customized Solution experts go beyond selling things; they assist the customer in all aspects of the product’s use. Salespeople who are able to consult with their clients and provide practical solutions may create long-term customer relationships that most often result in repeat sales opportunities. You know what to do.
Clicks Don’t Always Mean Sales
People do love to click on advertising or products on a website, but do those actions result in actual sales? Not often enough says a recent Gallup poll, where only 29% of B2B would-be buyers take the bait. The study says 60% of B2B customers are “indifferent,” and 11% leave the pages in a short amount of time. As with any type of product, B2B technology-oriented sales that are lost online can be made up with personalized attention to the consumer. Sales and marketing employees with engaging, magnetic and persuasive personalities are the main forces of convincing the public to say yes.
The personal touch is critical to sales, especially those of B2B products. Hiring and training business solution-oriented people will bring in more bottom line sales results. Salespeople who know how to market their expertise through blogs and social media are even more valuable because they can get the word out about business in a casual yet informative way. Customers all have unique goals and problems; do not lump them into a “one size fits all” container of solutions.
Personalized and excellent customer service does not go unnoticed. Computers and technology can be frustrating, but a real person with honest-to-goodness intent on helping to solve problems goes a very long way.
The Boss says it best — we all want “just a little of that human touch.”