Today selling cannot be restricted to a product / service

What is your view on “Changing Sales Strategies” Where do you see sales in 2020?

Traditionally Sales meant sell a product / service and move to the next customer. Then the strategy was understand customer needs, pitch, sell and build relationships. Today selling cannot be restricted to a product / service. Customer is ready to give business to the one who gives an end to end solution (from a Life Time value Stand Point), one who is ready to partner with the customer during the sales process and afterwards also (after sales is now becoming a key sales pitch tool), one who promises an atmosphere of complete peace of mind for the consumer. And in this new approach one can bind the customer so that he / She stays on board and one also makes more money. Typical examples are additional/cross selling products given by banks – Shares trading (3 in 1 account), Insurance etc OR Selling a Customized Truck + Annual Maintenance Contract + Fuel Card + Extended Warranty + Vehicle Insurance + Driver Insurance + Driver training + Buy Back Guarantee.

The economy world over is going through a tough phase. Countries are resorting to protecting domestic firms by levying higher import taxes. There is going to be some turmoil before the dust settles.

What are the top 3 sales strategies every sales leader should be adopting?

  1. Listen to end customer and also all other stake holders. They are the best teachers.
  2. Don’t try and sell a product or a service. Rather pitch an end to end solution – which gives peace of mind to customer.
  3. Be in touch with existing customers regularly and genuinely keep them happy. Word of Mouth is still the most powerful sales tool.
  4. Build a brand so as to get a good sustained pricing. No point in getting into price wars.

3. What is the impact of technology on sales processes? Your thoughts on this?

Technology in the sales process is very important. Especially where the volumes/scale is big. The big challenge is to ensure that the entire ecosystem is aligned to it. Otherwise garbage in leads to Garbage out.

On the other side while robust sales processes throw early trends, it is still a reactive medium. It tends to take away things like creatively pushing the business in a new direction, risk taking ability (this one is a 2 edged sword) etc.

What are the most common challenges sales leaders are facing today?

  1. Teams resorting to shortcuts to get success faster. This is damaging, as in the medium and long term one cannot succeed without building a brand.
  2. False promises made while selling. These lead to dissatisfaction and bad word of mouth.
  3. Yesterday companies within industry were competing with each other. Today the competition is between industries. And there is a threat of extinction if one is not alert. For example traditional music and clock players got wiped off by Smart Phones.
  4. Given customization is the new buzz word, for balancing the supply and demand side managing inventory is becoming a big challenge.

Your views on The Economic Times “Sales Strategy Summit” and how important do you to feel is the need of organizing such summits?

The Economic Times Sales Strategy Summit is the right knowledge Sharing platform – a must in today’s ever changing world, where the best minds cutting across industries come and share notes so that one gets to learn not just about new techniques in the sales world but also how companies can leverage by adopting the best practices into their businesses.

Viplav Shah

Head – SCV Sales & Marketing at Ashok Leyland

For more information about the Sales Strategy Summit, please visit:

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