For more than 25 years, Mike has worked closely with business leaders and sales and marketing managers to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and great sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase closing rates. Today, salespeople can schedule an appointment with a prospect and send materials, samples and other resources online immediately. Through social media, salespeople can find out who the key decision makers are at the company and gather other useful information. About 77% of buyers say they won’t even talk to a salesperson before doing their own independent research. Sales managers can analyze data to understand which salespeople are successful and why. Thanks to CRM platforms and other tracking technologies, companies can now streamline the sales process. Customers can now do most of their own research and only contact a salesperson when they are halfway through the sales cycle. CRM systems streamline the sales process and allow teams to share knowledge, making the team stronger and thus increasing sales. These are some of the ways the Internet has changed the way companies build, train and deploy their sales teams. Prospects are better informed, and when salespeople can act quickly, they can convert leads faster. Salespeople can now research their prospects and find potential pain points before the first meeting. While the Internet and smartphones have impacted all types of industries, they have had a particularly strong impact on the sales world. Salespeople often work alone, and sales methods are different. Technology has also made it easier to bring sales teams together. They must be able to communicate with potential customers on multiple platforms and respond to inquiries via email, phone and social media. Analytics and data collection have shortened the sales cycle.