An Actionable Approach to Sales in the Digital Era

What can a sales team do to survive in a thriving digital economy? The traditional sales strategy no longer applies to a retail environment that’s so blatantly dominated by digital options.

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The retail market has changed so drastically that it’s a question of “sink or swim” – and by adopting some new tactics, salespeople can re-position themselves successfully and become a trusted resource for modern consumers.

 Learn to Sell to Informed Customers

According to a CEB (Corporate Executive Board) report, the majority of B2B buyers say they do not speak with a sales representative until after performing independent research. According to Sirius Research, 67% of the journey taken by potential buyers is done digitally.

Today’s self-educating B2B buyer is increasingly turning to sources other than salespeople for information. This means sales has to embrace a drastically different reality in which buyers already have knowledge at their fingertips and know what they want to buy. Gone are the days when a salesperson’s success lay in his or her ability to help people find the right information, and to assist buyers with their research.

 Embrace Digital Communication

While traditional selling methods are, in many cases, no longer relevant, digital tools are now an essential component of a compelling selling strategy. The new techniques offer a different kind of sales experience. A salesperson who sends out a mass email with highly relevant content, for example, can obtain notifications about who opened and clicked through the email. This is a learning opportunity that provides a powerful window into the interests and needs of potential clients – the golden key to successful sales.

In today’s digitalized marketplace, not only do we have unlimited access to information, we also have largely unlimited access to people – thanks to social media. For example, any salesperson can use LinkedIn and other social media strategies to reach out to individuals who have specific profiles and interests. Byjoining groups and participating in discussions, salespeople can leverage the resources that are online to connect with companies and utilize these powerful capabilities to increase sales.

Build Significant Relationships

The traditional sales process was usually described as linear; the image associated with sales has always been that of a funnel. Today, the buying process is no longer linear, and no longer funnel-like. Instead, it starts and stops, with ups and downs. The power associated with purchase has shifted more absolutely to buyers – and perhaps more notably, sales leaders are no longer in control.

To make this new environment work for a sales team, it’s necessary to redefine strategies and be focused on an entirely different goal. The purpose of selling is no longer winning a deal; it’s investing in the ongoing success of your client. It is no longer about a particular purchase; but about the development of significant customer relationships.

 Your Customer’s Success is Your Success

It may always have been true that the best salespeople are thoughtful and have a lot of empathy. But in 2016, we’ve gone further. Sales functions have undergone a massive transformation, out of necessity. Sales has become personal – entirely personal.

In today’s digital reality, to win prospective customers’ trust and close sales, it’s necessary to develop an active and ongoing loyalty to your customer’s success. Provide added value and understand what’s keeping people up at night, what are their problems and how can you meet their needs. That shared commitment is what moves mountains – and what, in 2016, successfully closes sales.

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