About Pascal Persyn

Pascal supports organisations in delivering commercial excellence in the areas of Sales Enablement, Content Strategy and Buyer Journey Enablement. His pet projects are about helping companies overcome challenges due to the empowered customer and thus evolving into buyer-aligned organisations. His executive experience in private, VC-backed and public companies enables doing the right thing at the right time with the right people. Don’t hesitate to contact Pascal for expert advice: pascal@perpetos.com


It’s been said before: Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

What do you call a corporate sales program that impacts teams and culture? Right, a happy meal!

Frédéric had his team enrolled for an international corporate change program of the sales organization and participated too. He talked us through the experience of the entire program and the impact on the team and himself as a sales leader.

Frédéric, how did you experience the sales program? What feedback did you receive from your team?

The overarching program dealt with enabling growth. When Perpetos rolled out the first part of the program, that was directly linked to our go-to-market approach, we realized that this sales program was more than just providing a sales approach.

For example, the sessions were organized with mixed groups, meaning employees from different business units in one group. During the training, it became clear that those initial perceived segment differences, weren’t so different when approaching it from the customers perspective. Even more, because the teams saw the sales methodology worked independent of segments, a bond between the participants was created.

The workshops with role-play and realistic client cases, created an excellent opportunity to adopt a uniform and new way of working, which meanwhile all teams had bought into. Group learnings were brought to an individual level by individual coaching and it allowed further progress.

Extract from the interview

When did you see behavioral changes, signs of adoption and changes of habits?

Let me state clearly, that adopting new ways of working requires focus and effort. Applying the methodology demands people to take a step back and question themselves. Throughout the learning, the importance of an open mindset and the willingness to adopt, are stimulated by the approach of the training and the learner engagement support by Perpetos.

The Perpetos’ methodology was perceived as refreshing and just what sales teams need in today’s market. Our sales team was already a highly experienced team, so that was very important for the buy-in right from the start. Perpetos implemented a common vocabulary focusing on the customer buying cycle instead of traditional linear steps of sales. The use of the terminology across the different teams and departments became part of our day to day allowing everybody to know what to do when. The customer verifiable outcomes in combination with the common language heavily improved both the efficiency and effectiveness.

Extract from the interview

How did this methodology impact your teams and success?

Throughout the process, there were two important recurring elements.

First, the methodology and approach assured our teams which actions to take and gave them the necessary structure, avoiding too much tension at important moments.

Second, there are no bad actions, but you must know what to do at what time.

The combination of both these elements provided a structure to our teams and ensured we moved in the same direction. We learned to do less, with more focus. When we apply the methodology well, it significantly increases our chances of winning. During the 18-month period we were able to win all our ‘must-win’ targets, with involvement of our Perpetos’ coach.

Extract from the interview

Final observations?

The program brought not only a changed way of working, but also created a mental and culture shift. We no longer push our activities but align our activities with the customer’s decision cycle. Even in another business context, a similar program can help to install a more efficient structure amongst sales teams. It plays a bonding role in the context of restructurings and adapting sales teams to the new reality in the field.

Frédéric, big thanks!


Koen is part of the Perpetos team from beginning of December and has over 30 years of experience in sales & marketing management.

What is a typical challenge today, that touches both Sales and Marketing

What is a typical challenge today, that touches both Sales & Marketing

Throughout my career I have seen the need for a better collaboration between the two, and this is where I believe I made a difference. All too often Sales and Marketing are still siloed in many organisations, leading to inefficiencies and missed opportunities. 

Looking at today’s marketplace, where the increased complexity to reach existing or new clients requires a commercial approach with different sets of sales messaging. This has become more than ever one of the big challenges to tackle.

I have all too often seen a disconnect between (product) marketing and sales, limiting the messaging to the traditional presentation, brochure, data sheet as usual suspects. When considering the current speed of the market, most ‘sales collateral’ is not adapted to the context at hand or gets outdated quickly, often leading to every salesperson adapting marketing materials to their own insights and not using the latest approved versions.

This leads to a multitude of messages that are not necessarily representing – completely or partially – what the company, products or solutions stand for. Add to this the need to align sales messaging to the different buying phases individual stakeholders are in. And it’s clear why in this continuous change and increasing complexity the gap between Sales & Marketing remains in many cases.  

At Perpetos we implement journeys that align sales and marketing actions in every buying phase of each stakeholder. This allows the use of a common language and process, which automatically lowers complexity and eliminates the silos.

Can you give an example of a challenge you see in the market today that is industry neutral? 

Example of a sector neutral challenge you see in the market today

During my career, I noticed that in each of the companies I worked for, the (sales) processes were different but the customer buying processes showed even more differences. It is necessary to observe and interact with all people involved aligned with their individual buying cycle as not everyone is on the same page nor evolves through their buying cycle at the same speed.  Hence the need of a common sales and marketing approach, including process, which stimulates aligned activities with the right messaging.

Scientific research has shown buyers go through the same buying phases while taking decisions. The sales challenge is that everyone goes through these different phases at a different speed depending on the experience and impact your product or service has on each stakeholder. Read more on this topic: Improve your sales with a better understanding of the buying cycle

In my experience, 9 out of 10 salespeople, and sales organizations in general, still pitch too much from their or the company’s point of view and the reason why customers should choose them. While actually many opportunities require an approach taking into account that the customer hasn’t decided yet or that they want change.

Starting from the needs and aspirations, influencing the need for change, can shorten the decision-making process and increase conversion ratios. Read more on this topic: 3 answers that every Sales rep needs to know

Knowing what you know today, what would be your suggestion to do differently?

What would be your suggestion to do differently

When companies look at optimizing their commercial performance, they usually focus on max 1 or 2 aspects. A typical example, of course, is sales training focusing on closing skills and objection handling or with more emphasis on the sales process itself.

Historically there has been a focus on improving the individual sales while today, more and more, we should score as a team.

Over the years, I’ve seen the best results coming from a systemic approach to increasing commercial performance.  

Each day, I see more and more proof that a systemic approach spaced in time, delivers the best and most sustainable results. An important additional advantage is that the changes are implemented at the speed people can absorb and translate the new approach to their workplace.

This leads to a much higher adoption. This also remedies budgetary issues and increases return.


In this article we will focus on commercial forecasting, i.e. we will look at unsigned orders and contracts. Sales forecasts are never easy. However, in uncertain times it’s no exaggeration to speak about “unpredictability”. This is certainly true if the following factors are combined:  

  • Project and/or recurring sales 
  • Direct and indirect sales, co-selling and working with agents 
  • Complexity of the deal (product mix, size,…) 
  • Buying cycle variety:  number of people involved – buying experience,… 
  • Length of the selling cycle 
  • Experience of salespeople and their management 
  • Composition of the territory, regions and product mix per salesperson 
  • Market share, brand awareness and competitive strengths  

A brief survey during our webinar has made it clear that when making their forecasts, enterprises mainly struggle with delays in making decisions and the reliability of data. This leads to all kinds of complex processes, Excel worksheets outside the scope of the CRM and uncertainties.  

Fortunately, there are ways to drastically reduce this unpredictability and at the same time enable management to undertake action in time and proactively. This is even more important in uncertain times.  

An “agile forecast” is best composed of:  

  • 3 parallel scenarios that allow an analysis of the frictions as well as timely decisions. These scenarios are typical: the worst possible result, the most realistic outcome and the scenario that is feasible with some luck.  
  • No targets and forecasts on the basis of the calendar year or the fiscal year. It’s preferable to work with a rolling forecast of four quarters. In other words, a new quarter is added after every quarter.  

The combination of proper visibility and accuracy and the continuous improvement of the quality of your sales require a number of conditions or criteria to be met:  

  • The same mechanism should be used, from the individual salesperson up to management level 
  • There must be a constant visibility of 4 quarters 
  • Several parallel scenarios (as mentioned above) 
  • Use buying phases as a process rather than the salesperson’s selling phases. This is crucial as a solution for the continued delay in the decision-making process. More information can be found in the blog and the webinar about (CTA to blog 2) 
  • The criteria for the calculation of the scenarios must be based on verifiable customer information. A typical example: Has the budget been approved and is it available?  

A forecast made in this manner has major permanent advantages:  

  • Better use of the selling time and support 
  • Maximum visibility, and the possibility to make adjustments in time…  
  • Less complexity thanks to the uniform process and way of working throughout the company and the avoidance of parallel work in CRM and Excel worksheets 
  • Continuous process that significantly simplifies the annual planning, while avoiding the complex quarterly business reviews (QBR).  
  • Uniform system that makes consolidation possible in spite of high diversity 

The coaching and developing of sales talent is a major secondary effect of this way of working. Good salespeople will use this system for self-coaching and thus achieve even better results.  

View the complete webinar for more detailed examples of this way of working. 

Perpetos Webinar

[FREE WEBINAR]
Dealing with an unpredictable forecast

  How to handle supporting, monitoring and coaching commercial employees
  Quickly adding scenario’s in your reporting for better founded corporate decisions
  Enable management to implement changes


In times of uncertainty or economic recession, winning new customers is even more important than usual. As existing customers reduce or cancel their orders, there is a sudden need for new orders. This is not easy in times when everyone is concerned. Buying from a new supplier implies unknown factors and increases possible uncertainties, making it even more difficult for suppliers to win new customers. Moreover, this is not part of the sales and marketing routine.  

In the article and the webinar “value creation in times of considerable uncertainty”, we will discuss the required knowledge and skills and the pitfalls relating to this topic. The basis to win new customers is customer confidence. And the fastest way to win new customers is to know what the challenges and aspirations of the potential customer are before the first contact. However, there is no approach that works for every situation, as it depends on the experiences of the customer, the impact and therefore the importance of the purchase and the complexity of the solution, as represented in the figure below.  

Criteria influencing sequence design

An adequate sales sequence is necessary, in line with the foregoing. For that purpose you need to know the number of touchpoints, the media, the duration, the spacing of the touchpoints and the message you will use.  The figure below illustrates the components on the basis of which the sequence must be developed.  

Customer acquisition sales sequence design

Finally we will provide you with some must-do’s for the development of your sales sequence:  

  • Mix the media you use (minimally 3) 
  • Telephone calls are still an essential element 
  • A minimum of 6 contact attempts spread over time are necessary for a satisfying result  
  • For complex sales to large enterprises, you may even need 14 to 16 contact attempts spread over 22 days  
  • The follow-up of requests or reactions must take place on the same day; if not, the chance of a breakthrough decreases dramatically and the cost of sale will become much too high.  
  • The messages used must be adjusted to the industry or sector. Research has shown that capitalising on the role of the individual or enterprise results in a lower conversion  
  • During the first contacts, you enter an unknown phase of the customer’s buying cycle. Determining this phase as quickly as possible and adjusting your messages is of crucial importance in the digital era. Your LinkedIn profile must be attractive and must clearly reflect your potential contribution.  
  • Focus on building a relationship and trust by giving away “free” knowledge and experience. Selling the “arrangement”, which was the essential element for a long time when prospecting, has lost a lot of its success, is absolutely “not done” in times of uncertainty and will lead to procrastination. For example: “Call me back in autumn” 

More detailed examples are given in the webinar.  

Perpetos Webinar

[FREE WEBINAR]
How to win new customers today

  What are customers looking for? How to discover and discuss this?
  Which mix of digital, virtual and (if possible) physical conversation works best?
  How to wrap the sales message so the customer will take action?


During periods characterised by insecurity the general attitude towards salespeople changes. In addition, customers’ focus shifts to short-term solutions and the reduction of risk. Both constitute an opportunity for enterprises and salespeople who manage to adapt to this situation quickly. Adding value while responding to this situation and at the same time focussing on enhancing customer confidence.  

There are four elements that play a role in creating value for the customer:  

  • How can we improve our insight into the customer’s situation?  
  • What are the techniques we can use?  
  • How can we keep all conversations relevant?  
  • How can we ensure that customers are prepared to pay for it?  

In this respect it’s important to have a good insight into the customers’ “Buyer Journey”.  

Waarde creëren in tijden van grote onzekerheid

A few important things to take into account:  

  • A late entry in the buying cycle does not provide much room for value creation, as the customer already knows what he wants and has a preferred supplier with whom he compares other suppliers 
  • If you enter the cycle before the trigger moment, your chances of success are much better.  Nevertheless, your focus should be on messages that increase the willingness to change, i.e. messages that break through the status quo and the “loyalty loop”.  
  • As a salesperson, you must be able to guide the customer through his buying cycle by aligning the activities and messages to what is important to him.  

When you have contact with a customer, you can find out where he is in the buying cycle by asking a few questions. It’s not possible to reverse the cycle. If the customer is already at the end of the cycle, you need very strong conversation techniques to create an opening. Unfortunately, the consequence is that the price is a very important factor, unless you are lucky enough that others before you have made a significant mistake.  

The value wedge combined with the phase in the buying cycle indicate how the added value can be created.  

value wedge

First let’s discuss the typical pitfalls and mistakes that are made on the basis of the value wedge.  The salesperson:  

  1. doesn’t distinguish himself from the competition, just tells the same story 
  1. tries to convince the customer with strong points of the competition that are not at all strong points of his own offer, as it is clear how important they are to the customer.  
  1. is too focused on outdoing the competition by focusing on strong points they both have but that are not relevant for the customer 
  1. fails completely by presenting entirely irrelevant advantages and messages on the basis of his own convictions or non-identical situations, causing irreparable damage to customer confidence.  

If the right conversations take place in line with the specific phase in the buying cycle, the essential confidence will be built quickly, and the critical insights will be acquired that enable the salesperson to focus on the messages that are important to the customer and that the competition overlooked.  

A few “must-do’s” during conversations:  

  • Tell a clear story about similar situations and thus quickly build confidence for the next steps.  
  • Use the right interview and conversation techniques to not only have full knowledge of the situation but also to quantify. This will have a major impact on the price the customer is willing to pay.  
  • Once preparations are complete, your first contact in the active sales cycle is preferably the person who is exposed to the most disadvantages and at the same time has the highest decision-making power. This way you structurally increase your chances of quickly breaking through the status quo.  
  • Ask closed questions to validate your assumptions and monitor your rapport with the person concerned.  
  • Provide a solid underpinning for a possible change, so as to make it easier to minimise discounts and therefore to sell at a higher price than the competition. 

Do you want to know more about these essential elements?  

Perpetos Webinar

[FREE WEBINAR]
Selling value in uncertain times

   How to continuously improve our knowledge about our customers?
  Turning changing insights into added value
  How to increase the relevance of our interactions for the customers?
  How to get customers to buy the added value?


Customers are currently concerned with the uncertain situation and short-term results. In order to be able to act as leaders in current times, we will discuss a few questions in detail:  

  • What do we know today, and which changes will be permanent? 
  • What are the 5 new skills that every salesperson needs?  
  • What are the 4 main pitfalls?  

In our very first webinar at the start of the lockdown, we discussed the procedure for remote sales, as well as the way salespeople can support their customers while being productive themselves:  

  • Contact as many people as possible 
  • Assess the customers who are active and are even ready to make investments 
  • Subdivide your customers in groups based on similar needs and set priorities 
  • Set up small-scale campaigns in line with this temporary subdivision 
  • Be prepared and be sure to practise, as the contents of the conversations is totally different than usual and physical conversations are not possible 

A brief survey in this webinar indicated that enterprises mainly struggle with (in descending order of importance):   

  • Filling the pipeline to limit the impact to a minimum 
  • Acquiring several contacts with the same company in order to acquire a clearer insight 
  • Mixed feelings about the continued remote sales 
  • Focus on short term rather than on long term 

According to an investigation by McKinsney, 96% of enterprises have adjusted their “go-to-market” model to the current situation. 80% even state that the new approach will be applicable at least 1 year. Within the context of this new approach, it’s a challenge for salespeople to remain relevant and create value immediately.  

Three important components of leadership are:  

  • Way of selling: it’s essential to have several contacts in a company, but that’s only possible via a hybrid interaction model. This means less face-to-face contacts, less travelling but more digital contacts.  
  • Timing & opportunities: proper time management has more than ever become crucial for setting the right priorities.  
  • Value creation: In these uncertain times there are 6 factors customers are extra sensitive for. Responding to one or several of those factors with value-driven messages is an important way to have more impact. These 6 factors are the following:  
  • Social responsibility 
  • Reducing anxiety 
  • Availability 
  • Stability 
  • Risk reduction 
  • Flexibility 

This new approach also means that salespeople need a number of new skills:  

  • Building bridges for customers: By combining the insights of the different contacts within the company and linking them to the additional value your company offers 
  • Talking to customers with a beginner’s mindset and avoiding the pitfall of pre-covid assumptions 
  • Combining proactive interactions with replies to the rather reactive questions.  
  • Being able to provide structure and react to unfiltered customer information, so that the colleagues think along and work on the basis of the new insights 
  • Making use of the video meeting experience acquired in order to introduce a hybrid interaction model with more virtual contacts alternating with physical meetings 
  • Closing the gap between knowledge and competencies 

The most important pitfalls in the current situation are:  

  • Changing too slow due to a delay in translating the impact into a new approach 
  • Getting stuck in replying to short-term reactive questions 
  • Underestimating the required new knowledge & competencies 
  • Not letting go of the experience and insights acquired before covid-19 and thus missing or misjudging new opportunities 

Do you want to know more about how you can face the current challenge? 

Perpetos Webinar

[WEBINAR]
Taking the lead in the aftermath

  Which 5 new skills are needed
  How to avoid the 4 largest pitfalls
  What has changed permanently


Pascal Persyn, CEO of Perpetos, and Prof. Dr. Deva Rangarajan (Director of Professional Selling, Ball State University) discuss how traditional commercial employees should adapt to the new, digital approach to sales.

The CEO of Perpetos sees COVID-19 as an opportunity. Traditional salespeople are now confronted with a new reality, the perfect opportunity to step outside their comfort zone. This will eventually accelerate the general transition to a new approach to sales for many commercial teams. When the current situation ends, a number of people will obviously switch back to more traditional methods. However, the advantages will speak for themselves. Both customers and salespeople will realise that multichannel communication can generate added value.

Perpetos will in the near future present a five-step strategy to facilitate the transition to this digital era:  

  1. Select active customers and/or customers who see the current situation as an opportunity for extra leverage
  2. Divide customers into groups based on similar reasons to buy a product or service
  3. Set priorities based on their willingness to buy spread over time
  4. Develop short campaigns that include multiple touchpoints  
  5. Make sure you are very well prepared by practicing with colleagues 

How can you teach salespeople new skills during a lockdown period?

This is a question that many ask themselves! Perpetos has been offering virtual training, e-learning and micro-learning in collaboration with Qstream and Showpad for quite some time now. These teaching methods are often used by international companies that make use of small commercial teams spread across the globe. Perpetos supports you and your company in this transition and in the creation of momentum during the restart.

Learn more on this topic:

Watch Webinar:
Selling from home

An action-oriented webinar full of tips and tricks from sales in remote selling jobs since many years yet adapted to the current times.

Discover our Remote Sales Resource Center

Find all the info in one place, get valuable insights from practice and enjoy free webinars.


Blog in cooperation with Qstream 

Turning your company and employees in a full remote workforce is not easy. Are you capable of delivering critical information at scale? How do you connect with your colleagues to ensure they stay engaged, productive and retain knowledge?  

Remote or not, keeping employees engaged with training materials has always been a challenge. But now you have to create learning programs for an entire remote workforce. How confident are managers that this new knowledge is being learned and retained? 

Remote learning at scale 

In the current situation it’s important to ensure that learning programs are accessible and effective for  your whole workforce immediately. One of the tools Perpetos is using for its customers is Qstream.  The Qstream app has the huge advantage of being able to deliver learning programs quickly and at scale by using SaaS-based mobile and spaced microlearning technology. The method is delivering engaging microlearning challenging in just minutes a day. Peer competition and leaderboards keep remote employees excited to complete challenges while learning new content and reinforcing critical concepts. The platform makes it easy to build and deliver new programs in matter of days once the development of the program has started even if the program has to be fully custom.  

This goes much further than traditional learning management systems (LMS) which only offers learner participation and course completion data. Qstream on the other hand, provides valuable and targeted data and insights and heatmaps on specific content topics and competencies, on individual learner and team performance. 

It has even been clinically proven that Qstream’s spaced education methodology, called ‘the spaced effect’, is highly effective for teaching new materials and not only reinforcement. You can find more information about this success in a recent blog post of Dr. Kerfoot (MD eDM & co-founder of Qstream). 

A clinical study discovered that there is no correlation to when employees were last trained”

Let’s take a closer look at the clinical study of Johnny Hamilton (Senior Design and Innovation Consultant at Providence St. Joseph Health). He ran a Qstream to 3 different groups: 

  • Group 1: previous training on the materials in an instructor-led course 4 months earlier 
  • Group 2: took the formal course 9 months earlier 
  • Group 3: learning the concept with Qstream for the 1st time 

Results were impressive; he discovered that there is no correlation to when employees were last trained. All 3 groups had the same initial proficiency, whether or not they previously took the course. People forgot what they learned through traditional methods. This shows that when the learning process is started, there immediately needs to be an ongoing learning activity spaced over time. This helps to reinforce critical knowledge. 

Qstream pilot data summary

This research points out the fact that Qstream’s microlearning solution is a successful way to engage, present and reinforce critical knowledge. This helps learners to remain informed and do their job successfully. Even in the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in today with a full remote workforce.  

Circumstances may go back to ‘normal’, but implementing a cost-effective, non-disruptive, clinically proven microlearning solution will certainly stand the test of time. 

Qstream app

Perpetos Improves Customer Sales Proficiency from 53% to 80%

Qstream’s mobile microlearning application was selected by Perpetos as a continuous sales training reinforcement solution for their sales performance programs which help their customers improve conversion rates and lower the cost of sales.


Customers’ buying behaviour has changed considerably in the past few years. How can companies respond to this challenge? How do you organise sales in a digital world? Are you still sending your salespeople out like talking brochures, or will you take action? And how? A diagnosis.  

Time for a sales reboot 

Since 2012, the results of a multitude of studies about the changing buying behaviour of customers have been published. However, many companies only take action when the impact really becomes painful. And it’s often too late by then. It is therefore advisable to take action proactively. But can you motivate people and organise your sales in such a manner that the transition can take place in a timely and painless manner?  

Download our eBook “7 Criteria for a Sales Process your Sales Team will actually use

Avoid a reaction that is either too soft or too hard 

There are two ways to react to the reality of changing buying behaviour.  

  •  (Too) many companies continue to assure their clients that with some adjustments, the existing commercial solutions are immune to the changes. Unfortunately, the sales pipeline is like the arteries in our body. If we do not adopt a healthy lifestyle, they slowly get clogged up. The consequences in the long term are disastrous. Holding on to old habits is not the solution.  
  • Others call for a revolution. The world is no longer the same, which is why a drastic transformation of sales is required. We have to start over! That means completely redesigning the processes and systems and preparing for the future! That may be so, but… intrusive action often triggers a shock effect, which in turn has serious consequences.  

Opt for the human approach!  

How can you react to the constantly changing world? Doing nothing is not an option. Starting all over again is not the right solution, either. Actually, the answer is simple: we have to evolve together with our customers. Selling is and will always be a people business, even online. The impact we are noticing with our customers and prospects shows that the changes are real. It is therefore necessary to develop a change process as soon as possible. This way, the changes can be implemented gradually and on a human scale. Without disruptions or all too radical actions.  

Toward a new role for salespeople  

All change processes are based on insights. Customers are still overwhelmed by salespeople who are sent out by their employers like some sort of talking brochures, although they don’t care about salespeople bombarding them with arguments and the benefits of the products they try to sell. Some consultants take advantage of this fact by stating that salespeople will disappear altogether. Nothing could be further from the truth, but it is true that the role of salespeople is changing drastically.  

60% of the sales opportunities come to nothing because the customer does not buy or does not change suppliers.  

The sales cycles have become 22% longer since 2012 and your biggest competitor is no longer your direct competitor, but customers who do “nothing”.  Recent research has shown that up to 60% of the opportunities are simply closed in CRM because the customer doesn’t buy anything or is not willing to change suppliers. You can imagine the impact on the sales cost.  

Sales are needed as long as you:  

  • … incorporate the right mix of digital and human touchpoints in the entire buying cycle of the customer. This depends on the complexity of the product or service you offer, but mainly on the impact on the customer.  
  • … use an interpersonal approach focused on supporting customers and creating added value. This requires the salespeople to have contact with an increasing number of different persons with the customer and at other moments during the buying cycle.  
  • … adjust the sales pitches to every moment during the buying cycle and to the profile of the persons with whom the salespeople are to engage in dialogue.  

Do you want to find out how you can prepare your commercial staff for the future without having to take all too radical actions? Contact us or read more in our eBook:

7 Criteria your sales process has to meet

Are you looking for a new Sales process to find a (new) way to reduce your cost of sales, stop margin erosion or better align your approach with the customer’s buying cycle? Learn how to make sure that the selected process is right for your business.


Our customers’ buying behaviour has changed dramatically since the emergence of the internet, and since social media took over some of the salespeople’s tasks. The recent Connected Commerce paper from Nielsen once again confirms how much we’re all shopping with smartphones in hand, comparing prices and searching online for product specifications and reviews. Phenomena such as webrooming and showrooming fit in seamlessly with this trend.

Before you read on, we’d first like to reveal that showroom salespeople do still have an important role to play in the digital era! But the job is different nowadays, and certainly hasn’t become any easier.

We’re still buying expensive (customised) products from real-life salespeople

Showrooming is when customers go into a shop to look at, try on and test products such as clothes and electronics, but then place their orders online. Webrooming is the opposite: customers search for information online, but then validate their choice in the shop or showroom, and ultimately buy from a salesperson in the flesh.

However … the higher a product’s value and/or complexity, and the less often you buy it, the greater the sense of risk. You can quickly choose and pay for a new vacuum cleaner online, for example. But for bigger investments – especially when there’s some customisation, e.g. kitchens, patios, doors and windows, tiles or a car – most buyers still want to complete their buying process with some form of human interaction. This is therefore a typical product category for webrooming.

Challenges for showroom salespeople

Potential buyers of higher value (customised) products are still going to showrooms, but only less than twice on average. We’re also seeing that good, experienced salespeople are spending much more time and energy completing sales nowadays. But why?

  • Webrooming, discussed above
  • Increasingly competitive markets – sometimes with several suppliers offering similar products in the same street – mean that salespeople need to convince customers why their products are the best option. Customers don’t always have a clear overview of any differences, and so are tempted to simply choose the cheapest.

In order to convince potential customers to complete a purchase, our salespeople generally have two options, each with their own disadvantages:

  1. Immediately finalise all the details for a product sale with the customer (e.g. design a kitchen, configure options for a car, etc.), provide a quote straight away, and try to seal the deal.
    Disadvantage: this takes a lot of time. But mainly: the potential customer then has all the information they need, meaning in principle that they no longer need the salesperson, and can instead use the information gained to negotiate a price with your competitor
  2. Or the salesperson tries to make a second appointment.
    Disadvantage: waiting too long to find out all the information and receive a quote increases the risk that a potential customer will seek a solution elsewhere and buy from your competitor in the meantime

Dovy Keukens: what competences do salespeople need today?

You used to be a product salesperson who knew your product inside-out. Or you were good at building relationships, and you made sales based on the trust you earned. But you need more than that nowadays.

Johan Verbeke, Sales Manager at Dovy Keukens, a leading Belgian supplier of tailor-made kitchens:

Like all companies, we had to adapt to the digital era. We’ve realised that salespeople need to do the right thing at the right time to meet each individual customer’s wishes. So they need to work out rapidly what to do- and what not to do- and decide if it might be better to make a follow-up appointment.

Salespeople need to translate the desired experience into a proposal that makes the most of our product strengths. They also need to capitalise on the company’s strengths, because the way we approach things can also make the difference. Sealing the deal at the right time keeps us ahead of our competitors.

Salespeople are therefore expected to be real all-rounders these days. Together with Perpetos, we’re actively working to develop all these competences in our sales team. And we clearly see the positive impact this has on our conversion rates.

Important role for Sales Management: keep the team focused

In order to discuss customer cases quickly and efficiently, and maximise our salespeople’s results, it’s important that managers and salespeople speak the same language.

Sales Management can help keep salespeople focused by providing sales support and coaching the team- to take advantage of each individual situation in practice. Digital tools, such as CRM, are often still seen as an administrative burden, even though they can help with coaching and improve performance. This does require the CRM being adapted as a sales support tool, however, and not just a reporting tool.

Is there room for improving your sales performance? Do you want to optimise your margins or sales cost? Would you like to discuss your experiences without any obligation? Contact our experts

Start the conversation

1 2 3 7