"We will continue to see a convergence of the digital and physical world. Those who conquer that trend will be market leaders"
John Phillips, SVP of Logistics, Pepsico
Digital evolution has changed how organizations conduct business. Disruption is everywhere as change is happening all around us. Your clients and prospects now have new ways of communicating using social media, forums, product and peer reviews. They gather real-time information on your products and services as they engage with businesses in real-time using mobile phones and more.
The educated buyers of today, now research your business, your sales reps and competitors at the click of a mouse, reading reviews and seeking out advice without ever leaving their desk.
Like it or not, in the digital first world, your company's online content quite possibly are your sales reps. If they aren't providing the kind of online information your prospects are searching for, you may lose out on potential sales opportunities.
How are you preparing your sales team for success in a digital business world?
"Technology-based innovation is arriving faster than most organizations can keep up with. Before one innovation is implemented, two others arrive," said Daryl Plummer, vice president and Gartner Fellow, Distinguished. "Speed of change will require variability of skills and capabilities to address rising challenges."
Question for all technology leaders...
Are your sales reps walking, talking and acting like technology savvy sales reps or are they operating with an analog mindset in a digital business world?
How are you developing the skill set needed for your sales team to smash their sales targets?
TECHNOLOGY + RELATIONSHIPS = BETTER SALES
Are you helping your sales team adopt and adapt new tools to help them eliminate sales growth bottlenecks? Sales leaders who want their sales teams to connect with B2B buyer must empower them through useful and transparent engagement.
Many sales leaders of today cut their teeth and grew up with traditional prospecting methodologies, generating leads in person at conferences, networking events and using the phone. Folks, traditional is still alive and well but digital aspects of selling requires an entirely different skill set and mode of engagement.
For your sales reps to reach prospects in meaningful ways, they must be mobile and digital savvy; becoming a student to their online consumption and communication patterns.
This doesn't mean traditional aspects of prospecting along with the relationship building component is any less important. If anything, relationships are all the more vital in an increasingly crowded marketplace. When all offers inside the buyers mind appear equal, they in turn, tend to buy from people they like and trust. However, your sales reps must begin potential relationships where their buyers hang out as a majority of them begin searches online.
This means new buyers are coming to the table more highly qualified than ever before. However, because buyers have already done their homework, they have little patience for sales professionals who aren’t complete experts in all of the details of their products and services.
3 SIMPLE WAYS TO DEVELOP A DIGITALLY SAVVY SALES REP
Think about this for a moment...
- How can your sales team become a business partner on behalf of your clients?
- How can you redefine their role inside a digital business environment?
GUIDE THEM TO CONSTRUCT THEIR ONLINE PRESENCE
I encourage you to look at each and every one of your sales reps LinkedIn profiles then pretend you’re a potential client and ask yourself...
- Are they presenting themselves as helpful experts?
- Are they capturing their target audience with value centric messaging?
- Are they clearly explaining your services?
- Are they providing educational content?
- Are they clearly explaining why someone should meet with them?
Would I buy from my sales reps based upon how they've positioned themselves online?
Buyers are increasingly googling not just the company, but your sales reps before a sales meeting. More than likely, they will also reach out to their networks, or better yet, they may open up the digital business door; your sales rep's LinkedIn profiles. What’s behind their LinkedIn door could determine their future sales success. Repeat after me the word, “vet”… Get it?
Personal branding is about taking control of the messages your prospects and clients get back. I guarantee, if your sales reps don’t control these messages then someone else will. I recommend a great article by Michael Simmons, How To Bulletproof Your Reputation In The Digital Age. Online reputation platforms help others understand who your sales reps are and what they are all about.
Your sales reps must convey how they can help as opposed to telling everyone what they sell.
If their LinkedIn profile is designed around them, your entire sales team is missing a golden opportunity to make a great first impression.
Successful sales reps create their unique brand and rise above the noise! Think about the following: “How do your sales reps differentiate themselves enough so that prospects want to talk to them and not feel they are getting the same story they hear from every other sales rep?”
GUIDE THEM TO CURATE CONTENT ONLINE
A digitally savvy sales rep is relevant by becoming part of the buyer's decision making journey. They can do so by sharing and curating quality content as they help the buyer become educated about the business issue at hand which may result in how your company can actually help solve their concerns.
As part of their prospecting approach; relevant and educational content does drive conversation with the modern digitally driven B2B buyer. Successful sales reps integrate the use of content as an additional method of communication along with email, phone and other prospecting strategies.
In cases where sales and marketing may not be aligned, guide your sales reps to take ownership by building a digital library of content which can then be used to teach and tailor their audience (prospects and clients) throughout the buying process.
GUIDE THEM TO SOCIALLY LISTEN
The business environment is constantly changing. When your sales reps aren't paying attention to what their audience is saying, your current clients and prospects; they're basically giving key information to your competitors. What are your prospects pain points? What do they love about your sales reps, their service experience and your company? What are those in your industry talking about? What are potential clients taking about?
For simplicity sake, social listening allows your sales reps to leverage social media tools to monitor, track and uncover information which allows them to open up and engage in conversation as another form of prospecting - social prospecting.
Social listening augments prospecting by providing your sales reps with great intelligence tools. Social listening can be used to:
- Help understand the marketplace or sales territory
- Help understand the competition
- Help understand your clients
- Help understand your prospect
- Help to provide great customer service
Social listening provides the tools to help your sales reps gain better insight into what their targeted prospects and more importantly your clients are thinking. This allows them to be in better position to open up conversations to deliver what they need, when they need it.
We all know if your sales reps aren't opening up new conversations then we know what happens to their sales funnel - it dries up! It is about learning new ways to enhance their sales funnel.
SURVIVE AND EVOLVE
A digitally savvy sales rep should be someone who guides the buyer in their decision making and buying journey. I think they should educate, help negotiate, consult, seek solutions, provides post-sales services and manage the relationship as a whole.
The main point is that the digitally savvy, technologically enhanced sales rep has mastered the skills around traditional business development by blending in more modern methodologies to conform to the way the buyer interacts in their daily life, as they use technology to make their purchasing decisions.
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 B2B 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 office technology world. With great pride I transform, challenge, coach and inspire sales teams to grow new business by helping them tell their story and communicate it out by integrating the use of social media. You can follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Social Sales Academy and on my podcast by clicking on Selling from the Heart.