I’ve had two epiphanies lately. The first happened when I was recently preparing for a webinar I conducted with Ray Makela, CEO of Sales Readiness Group. We were getting our content ready, and it dawned on us how naturally what we do at Sales For Life, which is helping with modern digital prospecting, connects to some of the best global sales methodologies.
What is the return-on-investment (ROI) differential between two growth strategies?
Today I was with a Global 50 conglomerate’s learning and development (L&D) team talking about making the big plunge into digital sales. The sales team has been selling face-to-face in nearly 100% of their accounts – at the detriment of a bloated CAC (Cost of Customer Acquisition). As their L&D team puts it “we’re spending thousands to make thousands from many of our customers – it’s counter-productive”. This digital sales transformation is about to become a sweeping, universal change for the company. We’re talking about 1,000’s of sales professionals moving from 100% face-to-face, to 80% inside & 20% face-to-face with key accounts. I decided to write this blog from the voice of the customers and their key concerns about this transition.
Do you have only 10 accounts? Does your entire sales division focus on only 100 global accounts? Digital sales is not a “prospecting” motion in your mind, as you’re looking for an account management motion. While these accounts may or may not be existing customers, the 500,000,000 user database in LinkedIn is of little consequence to you.
Whether you like it or not, you can’t stop your buyer from learning. They will learn using their peer networks, and/or they will conduct online research. While they won’t buy a complex solution online like it’s Amazon Prime (the eternal excuse people use to not practice Social Selling is “my buyer doesn’t BUY on LinkedIn”), a PORTION of their buying journey will leverage digital insights, referrals and triggers.
As an excuse, you can argue with me that your buyer is not a digitally-savvy buyer today. Perhaps it’s their industry like coal mining, or their geolocation like Mongolia… I get it. BUT, you CAN’T argue with me that they’re becoming MORE digitally savvy. Come on, whether it’s pressure from the next generation (Gen Z), or cultural changes with a mobile-first economy, digital is only intensifying.
After 6 years, +300 customer engagements, and meeting countless sales and marketing leaders in my travels, I’ve seen the GREAT, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to sales and marketing initiatives and leadership. Leaders have been asking me for tactical soundbites from the strong leaders I’ve met that are inspiring, change agents, and all-around great people to work with.
Based on that popular requests, I welcome you to follow my new series of blogs and video interviews dedicated for senior sales and marketing executives. This is the first of the series.
You can argue with me by saying “my customer is not on social media platforms, and isn’t terribly digital in consuming content”. The reality is some sales leaders believe that the digital evolution will never effect their business. You CAN also argue with me that social selling or digital selling is not a proactive thing in your industry, or your country, right now…
Data is necessary for legitimizing a solution, but a story is necessary for promoting it.
In business, reliable data is needed to make sound decisions, but data can be overwhelming and sometimes cause inertia that slows or stops the buying process. To bridge the gap between the need for data and the need for clarity, sales professionals can include data as part of a larger narrative by leveraging a storytelling approach in sales.
The market has changed globally. No matter if you live in Boston or Barcelona, San Francisco or Stuttgart, customers have changed more in the last five years than the previous 100. Europe, the Middle East, and Asia (EMEA) are no different. We’re seeing EMEA sellers drive conversations via WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Xing, and video messaging, no different than in the USA.
I can always tell which phase a company is when it comes to their social selling tool maturity by asking a simple question. This question tells me if a company is in the standard operating procedure phase, the best practices phase, or into best-in-class phase.