Innovative Sales Models Are Destroying the Old Ones in MENA — Will Your Business Survive?

Faris Mesmar
3 min readJun 22, 2023

Whether you are a startup or an SME, you’ll need to keep an eye on how sales models are evolving globally and there is an urgent need to adopt these models in the age of digital societies

And the fact is that market forces are changing. As millennials take leadership roles, they expect traditional models to evolve with products and services. Customers and prospects, meanwhile, are turning away from conventional sales channels and are increasingly reached through digital and more engaging platforms.

So, let’s list down what is considered an old sales model, and see what changes the new ones could bring to your organization.

Conventional, Outbound Sales Models

Whether you were going around door-to-door or calling over the phone, here is how sales used to work in the pre-digital era:

  1. Telemarketing
  2. Cold calling for meetings
  3. Walk-ins
  4. Retail outlets

In other words, sales teams were chasing buyers. This is often referred to as a “vendor push”, or outbound methods, where the salesperson has all the information and is trying to feed it to the potential buyer. Unfortunately, it tended to lead to a lack of sales productivity and pushed businesses to focus on the wrong KPIs to measure success.

Innovative, Inbound Sales Models

Contrast to the above with the complete shift we’ve witnessed in the digital era. Because of the wide availability, scalability, and affordability of online networks, social media platforms are the new battleground for attracting customers:

  1. Social media campaigns & Customer Engagement
  2. Content marketing and Online Demonstration
  3. Search Engines Optimization & Social selling
  4. AI and data powered smart shopping

And it’s worth noting that you can also accept payments directly through social tools, effectively enabling social selling as a new revenue channel.

We are now in the reverse “customer pull” model, where buyers are attracted passively (at first at least). This inbound model of information allows customers to attain information at their own pace, and to make the first step towards reaching out.

You may think of it as an automated sales funnel, where prospects filter themselves into leads, and then into customers while capturing and identifying customer needs from the first step based on data about their interests, social behavior, and purchasing trends.

Mastering the New Sales Model Tools

Of course, while the old sales model relied on hiring the most talented salespeople, the new models are a different trade, which requires different tools.

  • Online ad campaigns: you can leverage the advertising powers of engines like Google and different social media platforms to inform potential buyers without scaring them away.
  • Content marketing specialists: a team who understands how to engage users through quality content that builds your brand presence and attracts users at the same time. content to build your funnel and attracts buyers to your site, inform them, and invite them to learn more about your product or service.
  • Data collection & gathering: A team that uses different channels and types of data gathering to learn and understand consumer trends, etc.

Old Model, but Not Obsolete

In spite of all the above, here’s the interesting thing: according to Business News Daily, 48% of sales representatives globally fail to follow up with interested prospects.

Moreover, only 10% of these representatives go through the effort of making contact more than three times with the same prospect, which is particularly damaging since 80% of all sales closed between the 5th and 12th contact.

Could this mean that there is still room for traditional sales pushes in the MENA, even in the era of digital globalization and the recent digital economy developments we are witnessing in our region?

Key Takeaway — Balancing Old and New Sales Models for Maximum Success

While the shift from vendor-push (old model) to customer-pull (new model) may be difficult for more mature organizations, startups tend to be ahead of the curve. Their ability to master digital tools and to be fluent in modern marketing techniques gives them a strategic advantage.

However, founders and CEOs shouldn’t completely discard traditional sales models. A talented sales team can still help turn an underperforming company into a profitable one. All it takes is a clear strategic vision on how to balance modern marketing and effective sales techniques to accelerate your startup’s growth.

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Faris Mesmar
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Serial Entrepreneur | Venture Builder | Skydiver