According to ThinkLab research, the average sales rep used to spend 80 percent of their time face-to-face with clients, but now it’s down to around 40 percent of their time. If you decided to become a sales rep in the interior design industry, we bet you didn’t dream of sitting behind your computer answering emails all day. If the winds of change have you wondering if there’s a better way to connect with your clients, read ahead.
Here are 6 resources to help you respond to industry changes and stay ahead:
1. Craft your A&D strategy with this research report
First things first: Whether you’ve been calling on A&D for 2 months or 20 years, taking a critical
look at your strategy can transform how you spend your precious time, empowering you to
translate busyness into business.
Discover what we learned from surveying more than 1,000 interior designers about how they work, their challenges, and more from our latest U.S. Design Benchmark Report. We consider these industry insights an essential foundation for anyone involved in the A&D sale or considering calling on this audience.
2. Find new ways to generate more leads and network in this playbook
Fifty-eight percent of U.S. workers report being on the remote-work spectrum. And according to ThinkLab research, designers are even more likely to work remotely: 75 percent say that they will be working somewhere on the remote spectrum moving forward. In other words, hybrid is here to stay, and it has dramatically changed how we connect with the A&D audience.
ThinkLab created a playbook of 100 practical ideas to revolutionize your B2B sale. These ideas were drawn from a cross-functional collaboration of designers, commercial real estate, and brands who all came together to solve a shared challenge: how to reach customers in a hybrid era. Tackle one idea per week, or flip through them all whenever you’re stuck in a rut. And while the playbook is a clear road map on its own, we’ve also created an e-learning course for those who prefer an instructor-led experience.
3. Learn to leverage thought leadership with customers in this article
A recent ThinkLab survey revealed that 71 percent of designers rate thought leadership as “important” or “very important” when considering a contract furniture brand. And when it comes to the broader B2B audience, 88 percent of decision-makers say that thought leadership impacts their perception of a brand.
One of the mainstays in our industry for sharing thought leadership has been the CEU. And while the days of getting a one-hour lunch appointment to share a CEU presentation may become few and far between, we believe the CEU in its newly evolved form is as powerful as ever. If you prefer the Cliff’s Notes version, check out this article on how CEUs are evolving. If you’re hungry for even more on this topic — including how to create continuing education content — this self-guided e-learning course is the path for you!
4. Get bite-sized insights on the go with this podcast
“I have so much extra time!” said no sales rep, ever. That’s why ThinkLab and Material Bank created Mpowered. Released weekly, these five-minute episodes cover every topic under the sun to equip the savvy seller (and get you out from behind your laptop).
A few of our favorite episodes:
- This episode on “finding your tribe” shares best practices on how to co-present with other reps.
- If you’ve ever wondered how best to leverage social media, this episode provides a glimpse into how you can use social platforms to develop a better connection with the design community.
- In this episode, you’ll get tips for expanding your outreach through video messaging.
5. Learn how to succeed with today’s B2B buyer on this podcast
Although selling to the design industry is, in many ways, wildly different than other B2B sales, we’re big fans of looking outside of our industry for inspiration.
Forrester’s Ask a Sales Leader podcast interviews sales executives hailing from a variety of industries. A recent favorite episode features LinkedIn’s vice president of sales solutions discussing how sales has changed and what the new role of a sales rep looks like today.
6. Create a winning customer journey by leveraging personas in this e-learning course
What do Ozzy Osbourne and Prince Charles have in common? Quite a lot, if you look only through the lens of demographics: male, in the same generation, raised in the U.K., live in a castle, and are wealthy and famous. And yet no one would confuse the two.
That’s where personas come in and reveal what demographics alone cannot. This course on specifier personas for the design industry helps you understand the five personas identified in our research and how to build a customized journey for each. “Ease of doing business” is the core desire shared by all specifiers. By learning how that is defined by each type of specifier, you’ll discover the true power of personas.
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to catering to the design clients of the future. Identifying a specifier’s ideal journey is the first step in creating an experience that keeps them coming back. So, pop in your earbuds, or settle in with a cup of coffee and a playbook.
And if you complete any of our e-learning courses, be sure to showcase your new credentials by displaying your badge on LinkedIn! You are well on your way to adjusting your sails to speed ahead.
Meredith Campbell is a member of the Research & Content Development team at ThinkLab, the research division of SANDOW DESIGN GROUP. At ThinkLab, we combine SANDOW Media’s incredible reach to the architecture and design community through brands like Interior Design Media, Metropolis, Luxe, and Material Bank with proven market research techniques to uncover relevant trends and opportunities for the design industry. Join in to explore what’s next at thinklab.design/join-in.