By Kaitlin Dunn, Writer, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)
Holly Zoba, CHDM, knows what it takes to survive in today’s world of hotel sales. As the owner of Influencer Sales Training, she coaches salespeople to be the very best. Zoba, who previously served as chair of HSMAI’s Marketing Advisory Board, will be sharing her wealth of knowledge with attendees at HSMAI’s Sales Leader Forum in Dallas on Nov. 6, where she will give a breakout presentation called “The Convergence of Sales With Marketing, Revenue Optimization, Distribution, and Operations.”
HSMAI recently sat down with Zoba to get some insight on her upcoming presentation.
Can you give us an overview of what you’re going to be talking about at the Sales Leader Forum?
My presentation is going to focus on why it is so critical to converge sales/marketing/revenue/operations today. The lines between disciplines have been incredibly blurred. You can’t have marketing just find leads and hand them off to sales, because they might not be primed or what you want. You have to work together. Having silos, where everyone has separate goals – that are often in conflict, is not effective.
The buying process has changed so dramatically. I base a lot of my content on Gartner research that talks about how automation and technology is changing the value of salespeople. There are several typical salespeople that will see a big decrease in opportunities — such as order takers and hunters, who used to be considered the best, but their role is being diminished. The only role seeing growth is the consultative seller, which means they really need to add value to the potential buyers’ process and join forces with everybody. They have to know what marketing is doing to take advantage of their targeting, and they need to learn technology in the B2B world.
One big difference in sales today is that salespeople are only getting about 17 percent of the time of the buyer in the whole selection process. It used to be closer to 40 or 50 percent, but today buyers can do research on their own on the internet. If marketing knows who the target is, they can do a better job at getting those customers to show up than salespeople can on their own. When the customer is ready to speak to you, remember — most of what they consume is on their screen, and they often just want clarification or assurance. They consume information digitally, so you have to communicate digitally, and to do that you need revenue management and marketing help.
Another big difference in the process now is that you only talk to one or two buyers, but there are seven or eight who have a say in the decision. You really have to turn the person you’re talking to into an advocate for you by conveying property differentiators in a digital way, but also a meaningful way. You have to convey in a human way using digital formats in order to get this done, and therefore you have to more closely align in your departments.
The third difference is the speed AT which people want information, which is something we’re awful at. When people reach out to a salesperson, 47 percent don’t respond at all. Those that do respond can use technology that will make it simple to set themselves apart.
What’s the number-one thing you want people to take away from your presentation?
Embrace technology with a human touch. If you want to develop salespeople and do a service by making them better, you have to embrace technology and get to know your counterparts to figure out how to reach more customers and build relationships online.
Why is this something you’re passionate about?
I have been on HSMAI’s Marketing Advisory Board, but I’m a salesperson first and foremost in the hotel business. When I was working on the CHDM process, I realized that a lot of the information could be helpful for me as a salesperson, and I started learning more about how I could work smarter.
I recently launched a sales-training company to train people to do what I’m talking about, and I redefined the sales funnel to show how it more closely aligns with marketing and show what a person can do to move that prospect along in that funnel to a close. I also went to coding boot camp and am a full stack web developer, because I recognize the successful salesperson of the future has to embrace technology and not have a fear.