“Extinction is what happens when the shared history of what works takes us past the point where we need to adapt.”

A University of California, Berkeley, study found that animals and plants don’t just disappear because of bad luck in a static and unchanging environment. Most cases of extinction are the result of a changing environment combined with a lack of adaptation to the new environment. This is true in the animal kingdom, as well as in the world of sales.

Many businesses are at risk of going extinct because the world of selling is no longer as it was. The era of selling we have been operating in has changed and continues to change, and the businesses that fail to adapt to this new environment will no longer be viable.

According to the McKinsey Quarterly, nearly 50 percent of all B2B purchases will be made on digital platforms by the end of 2015. In addition, B2B customers now on average regularly use six different interaction channels throughout the decision journey. This is a far cry from the days of linear sales transactions that took place between a buyer and a seller. Does your sales strategy fit into this new buying process or is your business at risk of being on its way out?

Below are three signs you are (way, way, way) past the point of where you need to adapt to survive in life after the death of selling as we once knew it.

1) You think salespeople close business.
Because the number of people involved in the buying process has doubled, individual salespeople no longer close business on their own. It takes a village. Team selling is not just a catch phrase. The trend of an increasing number of people being involved in purchase decisions is expected to continue, which means you will need to add people of your own to the process if you want to avoid extinction in this new era of sales.

2) You think culture eats strategy for breakfast.
There’s an old saying that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Isn’t that a poor tradeoff? If you believe that culture eats strategy for breakfast, you are at risk of going extinct. Organizations that have both culture and strategy will be successful long-term. In fact, strategy is an essential part of culture.

3) Your sales force thinks consultative selling is “all that.”  
Most of us who were trained in sales since the 1970’s were taught the principles of “Consultative Selling,” but a new era of selling is emerging. A consultant asks, “What is your pain?” An expert says, “Here is your pain,” but an authority is able to determine, “This is the pain of your industry and how you can uniquely overcome it.” If you want to survive in life after the death of selling as we knew it, your company has to offer insight as an authority, not a consultant.

Want to learn more about how to survive in this new era of sales? Keep an eye out for the upcoming book: Life After the Death of Selling: How to Thrive in the New Era of Sales.

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