Sales Call Preparation in the Digital Age

[date-stamp]The digital information age has made modern customers more informed and better able  to make good purchasing decisions than ever before.   Because of that, a good salesperson really needs to be a manager of information which will be helpful to the buyer.  That means a good salesperson must know the buyer's business as well or better than the buyer.  Here is where data and cataloging data come into play.  A salesperson who gathers information  on their prospects or customers and information that will be of value to them is putting themselves in position to be a partner, not just a salesperson.  Each time a salesperson schedules a call or appointment with a prospect or customer not only should previous call notes be searched, but informational files containing case studies which may illuminate the prospects situation, industry trends, competitor news, etc. should be searched, as well.   This sales call preparation is key because, if you don't do it you will have nothing to add to the decision making process and you are wasting your time and the prospects.  I'm afraid that most sales people do not follow this process because it can be quite time consuming.  One answer of course is to have a system that allows you to store and retrieve pertinent data and make sales call preparation efficient and, therefore,  shorten your sales cycle.  Use your clouds, consider combining your email client with Dropbox. Evernote, Zendesk or  the like to store  and retrieve pertinent data.  You will be well on your way to providing your sales force with the tools to be successful by becoming invaluable to your customers.