"Listening is one of the most important things a brand can do online. If your brand is just broadcasting its own agenda, it isn't truly engaging in a conversation"
It is no secret, digital and online resources are playing a major role in altering the way buyers buy. The landscape is changing rapidly as buyers conduct pre-purchase research to understand their options through a multitude of channels including search, social, and numerous competitive websites.
Sales reps must recognize and learn how to not only engage the new digital buyer but to align their online and offline resources to the buyer journey.
How far is today’s B2B buyer through the decision-making process before engaging a sales rep? Whether it is 57%, 67% or 77% the actual number probably doesn’t matter. What’s important is today’s self-educated B2B buyer increasingly turns to sources other than salespeople for information.
They must realize the one critical part of addressing the new buyer’s journey is not merely creating digital tactics, but focusing on how they engage prospects and clients once they engage digitally.
Think about it...
Does A Digital Buyer Want A Digital Conversation?
Sales reps must acknowledge the content they generate or curate must engage the digital buyer in conversation.
Sales reps must augment their prospecting efforts by generating new business conversations online by focusing on making their LinkedIn profile a desired destination stop for information with custom content. Why? According to the 2014 State of B2B Procurement study from the Acquity Group, 94 percent of business buyers do some form of online research:
- 77% use Google search
- 84.3% check business websites (This could be your LinkedIn profile)
- 41% read user reviews (This could be recommendations on your LinkedIn profile)
3 REASONS WHY CONTENT & CONVERSATION FUEL A FIRST-IN MEETING WITH A DIGITAL BUYER
As part of your prospecting approach; relevant and educational content does drive conversation with the modern digitally driven B2B buyer. Sales reps must learn to integrate the use of content as an additional method of communication along with email and the phone.
Calling all sales reps, how you... Capture, Converse, Collaborate, and Connect by providing insightful Content to grab the attention of the digital buyer will determine your sales success in the 21st century.
CONTENT DRIVES A DIGITAL CONVERSATION
My friend Jack Kosakowski says it best, "Content drives value, value drives conversation, revenue is a result of both of these combined once you go offline." Content may include blogs, social posts, videos, webinars, white papers and more. All the content your company produces to engage customers is marketing collateral that translates directly into sales. Posting content online (LinkedIn as an example), one of the most important things to remember is you are starting a conversation.
The content posted must be relevant, educational and worth reading. As opposed to a bunch of self-centered sales propaganda. The goal is to teach, tailor and encourage conversation.
CONTENT NURTURES THE RELATIONSHIP
As sales reps speak with potential customers, they need to remember it’s a conversation involving talking, listening and hearing. Selling in today’s connected digital space is about building long-term business relationships. Before you can get to the closing opportunity, you need to understand each potential customer on a 1-1 individual level.
Learning their business challenges, what problems or concerns they have, and what is important to them allows sales reps to make better recommendations and most importantly educate. Getting to the first-in meeting starts with small conversation and listening; as content is fuel to engage the digital buyer.
CONTENT PERSONALIZES THE START OF THE BUYERS JOURNEY
Conversations are personal, by nature. Unfortunately, most sales funnels are not very personal. This may leave sales reps struggling to engage with prospects who may or may not know much about their brand and how they can help.
The only way to overcome any initial disconnect is through education. However, bombarding prospects with general marketing materials is not the answer; 1-1 personalizing is. It’s time to change the pace of sales by changing the way you sell. Sometimes just slowing down allows sales reps to sell faster. Check out more by reading...
Sales is just relationship-building at scale. It might be difficult for sales reps to spend the time to get to know each prospect or customer personally, but this doesn’t mean they can’t personalize their approach integrating the use of content.
Let's face reality, most prospects feel sales reps are full of Sh%T. As you capture, converse, collaborate and connect with your prospects; share with them with your posts, educate them and help by guiding them in the right direction. One direction you can point them to is to your LinkedIn profile. This is where you promote your business professional brand, your story, how you have helped your clients and what your prospects can expect when the get engaged with you. You can check out my profile here...
PROVIDE VALUE TO FUEL THE FIRST-IN MEETING
Courtesy of the Acquity Group, "Digital content is becoming a deal breaker for consumers who are looking for information online. Companies (I will add in sales reps) that aren’t there with answers to prospects’ questions will fall off the radar, while brands that anticipate questions and provide useful resources will win brand awareness and, eventually, conversions."
Being completely honest, authentic and genuine will greatly enhance your credibility online and face to face. Make you as a helpful resource known by offering your knowledge to the rest of your community by driving a digital conversation. Whenever possible, put your potential prospects at ease by reducing the amount of risk associated in doing business with you. The fewer roadblocks and red flags the more they’ll be able to trust in you.
Position yourself as the expert by providing value to your prospects. Answer questions, socially listen and provide relevant information that will help the digital buyer engage with you. Offer solutions and share your expertise as I guarantee you will earn a sit at the first-in business table. This is another flow of communication inside the modern business world.
Remember, nothing happens in sales until you start a conversation!
I understand, I get where you all are coming from. Every day, I walk in your shoes. I am fully committed to helping your sales team integrate social aspects and modern strategies into your current sales process to grow new business. I want you to get results. This is why I am passionate about doing this the right way, the genuine way, the authentic way!
In 2016, I was recognized by ENX Magazine as, “The Difference Maker,” as someone who is making a difference inside the office technology sector. I am passionate about helping sales reps succeed in creating their online brand image
You can find more advanced training material inside the Social Sales Academy website.
I appreciate getting the opportunity to share my LinkedIn stories. Integrating the use of LinkedIn was my “game-changer” in the highly competitive copier world. With great pride I transform, challenge, coach and inspire B2B Office Technology Sales Professionals to grow new business by helping them tell their story and communicate integrating the use of social media. My commitment is to help office technology dealers thrive in a drastically changing marketplace. You can follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Social Sales Academy and on my podcast at Selling from the Heart.