When I was first told about Google; I didn’t understand it, neither did I know what a search engine was. I didn’t even know it could index all of the world’s information, and make it accessible to absolutely everyone. It seemed unfathomable; like life on Mars.
Sales (and marketing) roles are undergoing a major transformation out of sheer necessity. The reason they are transforming is in direct response to the fact that the buyer is transforming. It’s a case of sales essentialism; adapt to survive.
When I started in 2013 a Digital Marketer and Business Developer, my success lay in my ability to help people find the information at the right time, to assist empowered customers with their research, and self-education. I was aware of the key principles that underpin a successful digital sales transformation to this day:
Be where your customers are. Be noticeable and meaningful to them. Know them.
An Outdated Strategy
This customer-centricity hasn’t always been illustrative of the strategy sales professionals have embraced in order to close deals.
I remember the time when if you wanted to purchase a product or service from a company, you would call a number, because that was your only choice. You were exposed to a pushy, hostile “Always Be Closing” mentality, because that was your only choice. Sellers hadn’t progressed beyond interruptive sales strategies such as cold-calling, and strongly assumed that when it came to their sales funnel and the consumer journey, they were the ones in a position of power and control.
“According to CEB Global, 77 percent of B2B customers say they don’t speak to a sales representative until they carry out independent research. According to SiriusDecisions, 67% of the buyer’s journey is now digital.“
But very swiftly, consumers agreed they didn’t want to deal with an offensive approach. And they didn’t have to. So they gravitated towards search engines and went online to find the information they wanted.
Eventually, actually, these archaic businesses understood that they had to be where their customers were. They took their company’s oriented content, brochures, and sales collateral, and placed it online. They had to do so. From the outset, digital distribution transition was sparked by consumers who were able to self-educate through search engines and gradually through social networks.
The Slow Change
We are seeing a lot of change in the sales profession, particularly as the workforce is getting younger. In Forrester’s study, May the Power of the Millennials Be With You, Mary Shea says, “In December 2015, Millennials surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation. As the job market is flooded with workers born in the 1980s and beyond the go-to-market companies will gradually be made up of Millennials holding in-house, field and sales management roles.”
The millennial attitude of openness, collaboration and accountability, combined with unrestricted access to information on the Internet, is pushing organizations to switch from conventional, top-down, command-and-control environments to flat-rate organizational structures with fewer titled positions and a more democratic approach.
Today, not only do we have unlimited access to information, we have largely unlimited access to people through social media. For example, I can go to LinkedIn and find people like me! check for “Professional Digital Marketers” or “Content Strategist,” join groups, take part in discussions. This is valuable because the opportunity to can be a lonely place. Traditionally, sales and marketing have spoken different languages, calculated success with different metrics. One focuses on reach, the other on relationships. One gives priority to leads, the other accounts. One is concerned with perceptions, the other with sales. Digital Marketing is a vital, symbolic function. We’re the driver of translation, the bridge, the glue.
There is a growing convergence between sales and marketing functions. Both are undergoing a digital transition since the consumer has been changed. You have undoubtedly heard this before, but to a large degree, I’m not convinced that the all-important moment of insight, the “aha” moment, has yet to come. Particularly among those old-fashioned sales leaders who use techniques that date back to The modern method of sales is like a mountain when sales were pretty much invented.
Even today, if you look at the way sales managers, teams and their systems are set up, the way they carry out pipeline reporting, the way their CRM system is calibrated; there is no space for moving from 10 percent to 60 percent back to 30 percent. Power has moved to the consumer, but sales leaders are still running their teams like they are in charge.
The Method of Sales is like a Mountain
“My summit is when I can help my customer raise their winning rates by 20% or raise their earnings by 200%. Success is the summit of the client. The success of your customer should be yours.”
A number of sellers still see their sales process as linear.
But that doesn’t make any sense.
The customer is not going through a linear phase of purchasing. It zigzags and zigzags, begins and ends. The funnel, very large at the top and narrow at the bottom, is not a picture that shows this flow properly. The sales method is more like a mountain, a daunting road to buy. But it’s important to note that the purchase is not the buyer’s summit, nor should it be your summit.
I remember the day I got an email notification informing me that the EVP of one of the highly rated Financial Organization in the country, had opened and clicked through my email, “Why should CMO’s hold a quota?”
I went to LinkedIn, looked up at him, and realized that we were both studied at a University in England. I have found a dot that I can connect to; me to him. I was a low marketing manager, and he was the Squad of the Organization for Global Field Marketing at the company. And I was able to communicate with him as a sales rep because I read his digital body language. I was expecting his interests. I knew the discussion I needed to have was why the CMOs were supposed to hold a quota!
That was in 2009. Quick forward to 2020, today.
I have been through a series of project cycle with the organization. I was engaged as a possible vendor. However as a potential client, I have built a relationship with him personally and the management team; I have been involved in promoting their business success.
I told Michael that I used him as an example to illustrate how I am working towards creating and promoting customer-driven, customer-driven digital transformation in both sales and marketing.
That’s because I am aware of the fluctuating nature of the modern sales process, I am more concerned with creating lasting customer relationships than with winning deals. I was developing a relationship. I did, and I do what’s best for my customer, even if it means that I miss my number because my customer wasn’t ready to buy. Especially if they weren’t ready to buy anything.
Never Lose Sight of the Success of Customers
Dream about the mountain again. Sometime your are going to fall. There’s something new moving in. An acquisition is going to happen. However no matter what, you have a duty to your customer to do whatever you can to coax and inspire them to climb the mountain. Since the success of your customer is your success, and that mutual accomplishment is what underpins the transition of digital sales.
Excel in Digital Sales by Expanding the Skills
Traditional sales strategies are no longer adequate to maintain success; digital technologies and techniques are now an integral component of any successful sales strategy and revolutionize sales and prospecting.
If you are selling B2B or B2C, you need to equipping yourself with additional skills to generate more sales and succeed like never before. You should search on Udemy for courses and brochures.
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