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Technology and bargaining power a sales perspective

Overview of how technology has affected the importance of the sales professional, increasing or decreasing her/his bargaining power.

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Technology and bargaining power a sales perspective

  1. 1. Technology and bargaining power A SALES PERSPECTIVE Mariana Hansen Mauricio Berlim Natalia Soares
  2. 2. Selling: an Art or a Skill? In the 1800’s , Robert Louis Stevenson stated that “everyone lives by selling something” (Hopkins, 2015). According to the Young Entrepreneur Council (2013), selling is a skill that anyone can master as everyone has been selling all their lives in some shape or form. Encyclopedia of World Biography (2018)
  3. 3. Selling: an Art or a Skill? There are many formulas and checklists … Put yourself in the customers shoes. Anticipate their pain points and provide solutions. Everybody is looking for a good deal, which does not mean cheap our without value. And understand your market.
  4. 4. The Evolution of Sales Professional selling exists for thousand of years and can be simply described as commercial influence (Hughes, 2014). The professional selling has come a long way since the “snake oil selling” in the 1800’s, passing through Grant Nablo’ science of selling adopted by Ford Motor in the 1900’s, and the manipulative barrier selling from the 1940’s (Ye, 2017). What your forehead says about you?
  5. 5. The Evolution of Sales The modern corporate selling started to take shape after WWII (Hughes, 2014 and Dudovskiy, 2013) . The 1950’s saw the origins of the five step AIDCA that is used until today. A few decades later, AIDCA was usurped with a focus on features, advantages and benefits, known as FAB (Hughes, 2014). AIDCA model (Hughes, 2014)
  6. 6. The Evolution of Sales Between the 1960’s and 1970’s, psychological techniques became more sophisticated but still manipulative (Hughes, 2014). The Needs Satisfaction Selling had Xerox as its pioneer, which developed its own learning system, the Professional Selling Skills (PSS). (Ye, 2017).
  7. 7. The Evolution of Sales During the 1980’s, the Neuro- Linguistic Programming (NPL) principles were adapted to sales (Hughes, 2014). Alongside, the SPIN Selling, where the salesperson is more of a consultor than just someone that sells something (Ye, 2017).
  8. 8. The Evolution of Sales The 1990’s focused on building influence and trust as salespeople start to see themselves as problem solvers (Hughes, 2014). Now, the costumer was at the centre (Ye, 2017). The value-based approach gained space in the 2000’s (Hughes, 2014) as Solution Selling coined the Win-Win concept, where sellers and buyers work together (Ye, 2017).
  9. 9. Supplier power refers to the pressure suppliers can exert on businesses by raising prices, lowering quality, or reducing availability of their products (Porter, 1998). This analysis is made from the industry firms’ perspective or the buyers. According to Porter (1998), the bargaining power of suppliers, is one of the forces that shape the competitive structure of an industry, affecting the competitive environment for the buyer and influencing the buyer’s ability to achieve profitability. Supplier’s Bargaining Power Porter’s Five Forces model (CGMA, 2013)
  10. 10. Buyer’s Bargaining Power According to Porter’s Five Forces, the bargaining power of buyers refers to the pressure consumers can exert on businesses to get them to provide higher quality products, better customer service, and lower prices (Porter, 1998). When analyzing the bargaining power of buyers, conduct the industry analysis from the seller’s perspective. Porter’s Five Forces model (CGMA, 2013)
  11. 11. Technology as a tool The Information Era had an immense effect on the selling process and the skills required from salespeople. Technology works as change agent, reinventing the sales role (Hunter and Perreault, 2006). It simplifies and help to deliver value in a more precise and useful way. (Goldstein and Guembel, 2008). According to LinkedIn (2016), salespeople are relying on a variety of sales technology to increase revenue, close deals and build stronger relationships.
  12. 12. Technology as a tool There are a broad range of technologies used for sales such as sales bases customer relationship management (CRM), sales force automation (SFA), mobile technologies and also online social networks (Ferrell et al., 2010 and Davis, 2015) . Top salespeople are frequent users of sales intelligence and social selling tools, and are more likely to attribute their success to sales technology, which are considered critical to close deals (LinkedIn, 2016). Millennials are 33% more likely to use sales intelligence tools, which generates contact and background information on leads (LinkedIn, 2016).
  13. 13. Technology as a tool According to LinkedIn (2016), CRM still is the main tool used by sale professionals.
  14. 14. CRM: Customer Relationship Management Practices, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyse customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle (Rouse, Ehrens and Kiwak, 2018). CRM technologies allow businesses to organize, automate, and synchronize every facet of customer interaction, analyzing and improving the customer relationship (Salesforce, 2018).
  15. 15. SFA: Sales Force Automation Software applications designed for salespeople to help with the sales process. It includes either contact management or opportunity management, together with email and diary sharing (Really Simple Systems, 2018). SFA is usually a part of a company’s CRM system that automatically records all the stages in a sales process. The idea is to track all contact made with a customer and any follow up that may be needed (Really Simple System, 2018). SFA vs CRM One of the most fundamental difference is that while SFA looks at the entire sales process and tracks the efforts of salespeople internally, CRM is all about the customer (Select Hub, 2016).
  16. 16. Social Selling Tools It is the use of social media to research (Sexton, 2017) and interact directly with prospects, providing value by offering meaningful information until the prospect is ready to buy (Kusinitz, 2017) using relationship building strategies (Sexton, 2017). It allows sellers to get back into the buying process, regaining control and influence the buying decisions (Hughes and Reynolds, 2016). 90% of top salespersons use social selling tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as they are considered to have the highest impact on revenue (LinkedIn, 2016). Salespeople who excel in social selling tend to create more opportunities and are 51% more likely to hit targets (LinkedIn, 2016).
  17. 17. Is the end of the Salesperson? For a long time it is believed that the Internet will cause the death of the sale professional (Ahearne and Rapp, 2010), with predictions that 50% of sales jobs would be reduced (Rackham and DeVincentis, 1999) .
  18. 18. Is the end of the Salesperson? Internet gives customers more interacting means with companies (Sheth and Sisodia, 1999) as it moves the exchange relationship from face-to-face to face-to- technology, providing a greater reach than personal selling (Ahearne and Rapp, 2010). In B2B environments, technology is normally only viewed and used by the salespeople, whereas in a B2C scenarios, technology is developed for both, giving consumers more autonomy (Ahearne and Rapp, 2010).
  19. 19. Prescriptive Sales Concept Suppliers believe that customers are higher empowered and need sellers only at the end of the purchase process. Yet, customers are overwhelmed by information and choice, and struggle to make good decision (CEB, 2017 and Toman et al., 2017).
  20. 20. Be One Step Ahead Uncover the struggles with any supplier and look for patterns. Deeply understand the customers’ purchase journey. Be unbiased and credible. Reduce indecision and compel action Facilitate the purchase journey Prescriptive organisations are perceived as being one step ahead. They anticipate and eliminate obstacles, which is translated in business results. They are 62% likelier to win a high- quality sale (Toman et al., 2017).
  21. 21. Based on the Evidence… The customer-centric approach gave more bargaining power to consumers. Technology is helping salespeople to regain part of their bargaining power and to get closer to their consumers. The need for salespeople’s ability to close deals, find relevant solutions and add value remain constant (Dudovskiy, 2013). The adoption of sales intelligence and social tools will keep increasing as it helps to build and manage relationships. Technology will lead companies to restructuration and the customer linking technologies will become complementary parts to a multiple channel strategy (Piercy and Lane, 2003).
  22. 22. References Ahearne, M. and Rapp, A., 2010. The Role of Technology at The Interface Between Salespeople and Consumers. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 30 (2), pp. 111-120. CEB, 2017. Prescriptive Selling. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 April 2017]. CGMA, 2013. Porter’s Five Forces of Competitive Position Analysis [image]. Available at: [Accessed 23 April 2018]. Davis, C., 2015. History of Sales: 6 Things You Should Know [online]. Available at: leads-generation.html [Accessed 15 April 2018]. Ding, W., 2011. The Art of Sales [image]. Available at: [Accessed 21 April 2018]. Dudovskiy, J., 2013. The evolution of selling: a study of historical and contemporary sales methods and attitudes. Research Methodology [online], 06 September. Available at: and-contemporary-sales-methods-and-attitudes/ [Accessed 15 April 2018]. Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2018. Robert Louis Strevenson Birography [image]. Available at: [Accessed 21 April 2018]. Ferrell, L., Gonzalez-Padron, T. and Ferrell, O.C., 2010. An assessment of the use of technology in the direct selling. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 30 (2), pp. 157-165. Goldstein, I. and Guembel, A. , 2008. Manipulation and the Allocational Role of Prices. Review of Economic Studies, 75 (1), pp. 133- 164. Hopkins, T., 2015. Selling for Dummies. 4th ed. New Jersey. John Wiley & Sons.
  23. 23. References Hughes, T.J., 2014. The Evolution of Selling [LinkedIn]. 02 December. Available at: [Accessed 18 April 2018]. Hughes, T. and Reynolds, M., 2016. Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers. London. Kogan Page. Hunter, G. K. and Perrault, W. D., 2006. Sales Technology Orientation, Information Effectiveness, and Sales Performance. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 26 (2), 95–113. Kusinitz, S., 2017. The Definition of Social Selling [online]. 30 November. Available at: selling-definition-under-100-words [Accessed 15 April 2018]. LinkedIn, 2016. State of Sales 2016 [pdf]. Available at: solutions/resources/pdfs/linkedin-state-of-sales-2016-report.pdf [Accessed 15 April 2018]. Piercy, N.F. and Lane, N., 2003. Transformation of The Traditional Sales Force: Imperatives for Intelligence, Interface and Integration. Journal of Marketing Management, 19 (5-6), pp. 563-582. Porter, M.E., 1998. Competitive Strategy – Techniques for analysing industries and competitors. New York. The Free Press. Rackham, N. and DeVincentis, J., 1999. Rethinking the Salesforce: Redefining Selling to Create and Capture Costumer Value. New York. McGraw-Hill. Really Simple Systems, 2018. What is Sales Force Automation [online]. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2018]. Rouse, M., Ehrens, T. and Kiwak, K., 2018. CRM (customer relationship management). TechTarget [online], January. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2018].
  24. 24. References Salesforce, 2018. 4 Examples of Businesses Leveraging CRM to Improve Productivity and Efficiency [online]. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2018]. SelectHub, 2016. Sales Force Automation vs. CRM: What’s Unique to SFA Software [online]. Available at: [Accessed 15 April 2018]. Sexton, K., 2017. How the Evolution of Technology is Changing the Sales Process. Social Selling Labs [online], 17 July. Available at: process/ [Accessed 20 April 2018]. Sheth, J. N. and Sisodia, R.S., 1999. Revisiting Marketing’s Lawlike Generalizations. Journal of The Academy of Marketing Science, 27 (1), pp. 71-87. Toman, N., Adamson, B. and Gomez, C., 2017. The New Sales Imperative. Harvard Business Review [online], March-April. Available at: [Accessed 10 April 2018]. Ye, L., (2017). A History of 21 Sales Methodology. HubSpot [online], 28 July. Available at: [Accessed 21 April 2018]. Young Entrepreneur Council, 2013. 4 Steps to Master the ‘Art’ of Sales. Forbes [online], 05 April. Available at: [Accessed 17 April 2018].