Not so long ago, a decade to be specific, sales happened in person. Sales professionals visited their prospects in person, fully dressed to impress with all brochures and flyers in the tow.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, the tribe of walking salespeople started becoming extinct. Digital tools took over in-person meetings and demos. Today, sales professionals meet their prospects only to get the deal signed and to kick off the project or onboarding. Most of the initial discussions are carried out with the help of technology largely consisting of web applications, chatbots, live chat software, and the likes.
From prospecting to closing, digital technologies have woven themselves intricately into the fabric of selling. Unlike their predecessors who had phone books full of lead contacts, the modern generation of sales professionals are armed to the teeth with technology.
However, technology cannot make every salesperson successful. The personal charisma, the problem-solving capability, and the ability to empathize with the prospect continue to be must-have skills for a sales professional. To thrive in a digital-led world, sales professionals need more than just their innate skills and talents. They need to leverage the right best practices, some of which form the premise of this blog.
Craft the Right Pitch Backed by Data
In sales, a successful pitch is one that connects the solution to the prospect’s pain points or challenges. Since generations, sales professionals have been using inventive strategies to convince their prospects why they should make a purchase.
In today’s digital world, the customer has access to information more than ever. A simple online search throws open myriads of alternatives, information content, and also reviews by existing customers. While all this makes it easy for the customer to make a purchase, they still need a final assurance that their choice is good.
It is here that data comes into play. A salesperson who can weave data into his/her pitch will be able to win the confidence of the customer. This data could be from industry benchmark reports, think tank studies, or similar publications. If the sales pitch can be crafted to include data points, it becomes more convincing.
Let’s look at this slide from Zuora.
The slide clearly says how customers are rooting for new consumption models and the subsequent shift from traditional ownership to a subscription business model. As an enterprise software that helps businesses to automate the process of running a subscription-based business, this data point is certain to win the confidence of the user. It makes them capable of making a well-informed decision.
A confident customer who is well-informed is a hot lead who can be easily converted.
Observe The Customer’s Omnichannel Journey
In between lead to becoming a paying customer, your prospects traverse through various mediums. They discover your website through an online search or a display ad. They research the product on mobile. They sign up for a demo from a desktop by interacting with a chatbot. They consume customer reviews on peer review websites.
In short, a typical lead oscillates between multiple channels before becoming a customer. The image below depicts how the sales journey has transformed with the entry of digital tools.
From the image above, it is evident that the customer discovers the product through social media. He/she then proceeds to take a look at the product’s official Facebook page. They fetch the contact of the business and write to them. Follow which they continue exploring the company website. Any content that they find engaging and valuable is also shared on their social network. A web of similar steps is repeated before the customer makes a purchase.
Tools like Acquire help with that. For example, it helps the sales rep to understand whether, for a prospect who is in the awareness stage, a sales pitch that highlights the brand value would be ideal. For those in the consideration stage, comparisons with other alternatives and feature differentiators would be ideal. Thus, by leveraging data analysis of the customer’s omnichannel journey, the sales rep can make a customized pitch that has a better chance of converting.
Most sales professionals would like to claim sales to be an art, and each one is an artist in their own right. In the end, be it in B2B or B2C, regardless of the target audience, sales will always be a P2P process — a people to people one.
However, for the sales professional, dealing with multiple people (prospects) with varying levels of tolerance and requirements can be quite challenging. It is natural to lose track of appointments with leads, miss their unique asks about the product, feature requests upon which the deal is dependent, and so on.
In the digital world, a sales rep must be a digital native as well. They must leverage the power of digital tools like cloud-based CRM, automation, software integrations to turn a prospect into a customer.
These tools can be used as a sales enabler in several ways. It can help in three mains ways:
Populate data: customer data, including contact details, lead source, first contact details, meeting notes, etc. can be populated and stored in a single online repository. It can be accessed pre-sales folks and subsequent sales development representatives. This prevents any loss of information that could hamper the closing.
Automate recurring activities: Getting a reply to a cold email is a challenge for any sales professional. Unfortunately, they do not have the time or resources to follow-up on each prospect on an individual basis. The follow-up process is best automated with the help of an email marketing tool or an AI chatbot. These tools can send preset follow-up mails without clogging the bandwidth of the sales rep.
Integrate multiple tools: Email. Phone. Chatbot. Social media. Your customers could be reaching out to the sales agent through multiple channels. They will also expect to be reached back through the same channel to keep the conversation moving. The right digital tools like, a cloud telephony system integrated with the CRM, or a social media integration that allows replying from the CRM interface can work wonders to the sales rep’s productivity.
Mobile apps for remote selling: Yesteryear sales professionals used to have a desk phone from which they placed kept dialing endlessly until closure was in sight. Too many leads, few call connections, and meager conversions meant that the sales rep had to remain chained to the desk.
Studies suggest that it takes a sales rep at least 18 calls before they can connect with a buyer.
There is also the case of scattered appointments with prospects. When the question of work-life balance arises, sales reps always find themselves at the lower rung of satisfaction.
These tools can help them thrive in a digital world as opposed to just surviving it. They enable sales professionals to create the right pitch that will resonate with the user and yield better conversations. Similarly, these tools also help understand how the customer had traversed before they turned into a prospect. Depending on the lead’s journey and the position in the funnel, they can also drive the right conversations that will take the lead closer to signing a deal.
Ashwini is passionate about Business, Entrepreneurship, E-commerce, emerging technology and Digital Marketing. She is working with Acquire as a digital marketing expert. She is a free soul and adventurous scholar who spends her free time with herself, loved once, music, as well as watching & playing sports. She is ocean addicted and on roads being a thrill-seeking traveler to get new experiences as she looks at life as our very own works of art.