Digital Selling: Help Your Reps Reach “the Other 90%”
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It is a well-known fact among sales professionals today that on average, only three out of 100 calls actually result in a conversation with a prospect. That means that making it through on just 10% of calls is a really good day for a seller. Figuring out how to reach the other 90% of potential buyers is a burning question for sales organizations.
The industry is faced with the challenge that buyers have gotten smarter and faster about buying and salespeople haven’t adapted to the changing selling landscape as quickly. Further compounding the problem is that sales teams are utilizing traditional sales methodologies to reach out to prospects.
Meanwhile, today’s buyers are more technologically savvy than ever and more likely to be found through social, video, texting, and other digital platforms.
With practical and tactical methods, sales organizations can give their teams the processes they need to reach the other 90% and beat the competition every time. Here are 10 essential steps to launching a digital selling program that will transform your organization’s sales process.
1. Defined Desired Outcome
The big questions to ask at the outset of a digital selling journey is: what’s our goal? The immediate thing that comes to mind might be ROI, but try to dig a few layers deeper. There are likely 20 different variables from the moment a sales representative says “hello” to a closed deal that are not controlled by the technology; they are controlled by skill set development. Organizations need to ensure they are looking at the KPIs. What data will help you understand the right types of customer behavior? What metrics do you need to monitor to identify progress towards more conversations?
2. Buyer Identification & Mapping
Invariably, companies spend large sums of money on fancy tools and technologies for their sales staff. While they are great at teaching sellers what tools to use and how to use them, but are less strong in making sure they understand who to reach with those tools.
Understanding buyer personas is critical, but organizations have to go further. Organizations must prioritize the ability to search for buyers using the existing tools and technology. For example, organizations can map buyer personas into Boolean logic search strings built within LinkedIn Sales Navigator. This helps sellers find the exact kind of buyer type they’re looking for within their region, vertical, or segment. Data details on buyer personas are critical for any sales organization to monitor.
3. Sales Content Creation, Curation & Distribution
Organizations like to launch technology and tools, but they don’t always have the right content in place to use with it. Marketing leaders need to examine the type of content they have. Is it content for sales enablement, or is it just product information? Marketing teams need to prioritize content that adds value by addressing questions that answer real business problems for specific buyer types.
This is an urgent need. Without strategic content in place to fit a variety of selling scenarios and buyer personas, sales will not succeed in meeting its goals.
4. Choose Your Digital Tools
Tools are critical to any sales enablement strategy, but only after the groundwork outlined above is established. LinkedIn is the biggest B2B social network on the planet, which is why it goes without saying that Sales Navigator needs to be in every sales organization’s toolkit for finding prospective buyers.
Then, there are content distribution tools such as EveryoneSocial or GaggleAMP to help with dripping content out to social networks.
Another key part of any sales enablement strategy is video. The tool OneMob allows users to create landing pages with content and video to engage directly with buyers. Video acceleration sales platforms combined with social networks gives sales leaders a powerful one-two punch from a digital selling perspective.
5. Develop Customized Playbooks
Another powerful strategy for a digital selling program are playbooks. When it comes to leading with valuable content, organizations should provide the sales team with strategic and focused messaging scripts. These can address such things as what to say when connecting with somebody on LinkedIn, or what to say to connect on a personal level such as when it’s their birthday or when there’s a job change.
6. Create Buyer-Centric Profiles
Creating buyer-centric profiles goes back to the importance of knowing your prospects and their personas. Every buyer today is doing their homework before they purchase, and they will expect a seller’s profile to reflect exactly what they do and the value they can bring.
Take, for instance, LinkedIn. Phrases in a headline or bio such as, “quota crushing sales rep” or “all-time top performer” don’t tell the audience who they help, how they help, what business problem they solve, and who they’ve done it for. Instead, sellers should treat LinkedIn as a digital sales page; their profiles should act as their own branded SEO-optimized mini profile that is indexable search engines. This optimized profile will empower sellers to speak directly – and with more credibility – to the buyer’s challenges and instill in them confidence that they can provide a solution.
Putting these resources together as customizable templates and including them in a playbook for the sales team will be a huge value win – equipping and challenging them to take their sales strategy to the next level.
7. Digital Sales Training
For a digital sales training program to provide true value, it must consist of an approach that is on-demand, live (virtual or in person), and includes coaching. Sales enablement focuses on behavioral change away from traditional methods to new techniques, tools, and technologies. Software providers do not teach skill sets, but rather focus on products, features, and functions. Therefore, it’s the organization’s responsibility to equip sales professionals with skill sets that will help them win at digital selling.
8. Drive Adoption via Gamification and Recognition
In general, sales reps crave recognition and are motivated by money. The power of implementing a digital sales program comes full circle when sales reps are incentivized and rewarded for the behavior changes that leaders want to produce across the organization. Share the success stories within the team, and then use gamification to clarify goals, boost learning, and provide data-driven feedback that tracks progress and rewards new behaviors within the organization.
9. Measure and Adapt For Improvement
Successful sales enablement strategies rely on continual improvement. Constantly strive to keep messaging on track and mapped to target profiles. Keep measuring, adapting, and checking KPIs. If results aren’t coming to fruition for a particular area or from a certain buyer type, then change the strategy and adjust the playbooks.
10. Coach For Continuous Improvement
Most sales leaders in organizations are older than age 40, which means this demographic grew up selling in a very different way than buyers today are responding to. This is why coaching for continual improvement is so vital to the health of any digital sales program. Work with the sales representatives to drive those crucial behavioral changes. Coaching does not end after the rollout of a digital sales program, but is instead part of a longer-term strategy that includes continual development and training.
It is not uncommon for organizations to look for an “easy fix” to slacking sales. Throwing more tools and technologies at the problem may provide temporary relief, but it doesn’t provide a long-term solution. What is needed today are the development of skills, behaviors, and a mindset that understands buyers’ needs even before contacting them. The 10 best practices outlined above represent a holistic, organized, systematic approach to sales that, if properly implemented, can lead to new patterns of engagement and adoption across the entire sales cycle. With a solid digital selling program in place, companies will begin reaching the other 90% – leading to a new era of sales performance, customer confidence, and ROI.