Customers Rank Trust Over Technology, LinkedIn Sales Report Finds

According to LinkedIn’s annual State of Sales report that surveyed more than 500 sales pros and 500 buyers in August 2018, establishing customer trust outranks technology itself in keeping and maintaining customers.

In the survey, 40 percent of sales professionals ranked trust as the No. 1 factor in closing deals, placing it ahead of both ROI and price. And 51 percent of buyers said trust is a top factor in their decision-making when it comes to purchasing.

LinkedIn Vice President of Marketing Justin Shriber told eWEEK, “Relationships are still fundamental, but how you do that has shifted from wining and dining customers to generating trust. You have to be showing as credible and having the best interest of the buyer.”

For at least the past decade, buyers have been rejecting impersonal technology and vendors have been trying to help companies build relationships and highly personalized communication that scales. “Customers have Alexa and Netflix at home, and they expect salespeople to have that same familiarity of who they are and what they need,” Shriber said.

Luckily, the latest advances in CRM promise to deliver added personalization. In the survey, 73 percent of sales pros said they use sales technology to close more deals.

What are other ways to build and maintain a customer base? One is to know your customer. Ninety-six percent of decision-makers surveyed said they’re more likely to consider a brand’s products or services if sales professionals clearly understand their business needs. Sales could also improve by working more closely with the marketing department that might otherwise be siloed or cut off from the sales process.

Shriber also said a growing number of buyers surveyed are using networking services like LinkedIn to check the credentials or worthiness of the salespeople pitching them.

It’s important to note that while being a good salesperson requires a set of skills that no amount of technology can replace, those who don’t embrace the tools at their disposal like social networks risk losing out on opportunities. According to Shriber, “One of the fallacies people embrace is that career salespeople have a level of expertise that will carry them. … The buyers are younger and they embrace social technologies. If you’re not meeting them where they are, you are missing an advantage.”