A digital sales strategy involving digital selling and social selling is now a key consideration for any business looking to drive sales via online channels including social media. But what is a digital sales strategy what can it do for a business is less understood. How can my company benefit from having a digital sales strategy? is a question being asked by many business leaders.
In theory, most sales leaders can tell you who they sell to and what profile of buyers they target. However the change in the buyers journey well means the B2B buyer is very aware that they can get a similar (or in the case of products, perhaps identical) offer elsewhere. So it is often the sales experience which will differentiate a business from their competitors and get the sales, all of which is shaped by the way a business goes about selling. The sales process and the sales profession is going through a major transformation.
The web, social media channels, video, and digital information means buyers are now better educated and rely less on sales people in their buying journey.
A Digital Sales Strategy Should Make Buying Easier.
The goal of a digital sales strategy is to achieve is a more seamless buying experience that reflects how buyers want to interact with a business. The modern B2B buyer doesn’t care whether their engagement or questions is with marketing, sales or service; they just want insightful answers or information.
Think of it as a digital sales strategy which has a mantra of “Let’s simplify the customer’s buying journey”, to make it easier to engage and get information they need to pursue a purchase. For the salespeople to be able to provide insights, guidance and collaborate with the buyers along an increasingly noisy purchasing journey.
Sales leaders need to replace the “I think I know what you need” or the “Tell us what you need and we’ll sell it to you” with “Let me help you, I’ll work with you in whatever way you require to show you what needs to be completed in order to make a purchase happen.”
Salespeople must be able to map the buyer’s journey online, understand “Ideal Customer Profiles”, use content to deliver compelling insights, how to use social media to differentiate the companies offerings and communicate this value to attract more buyers into their social reach. Ultimately a digital sales strategy is about empowering the sales teams to use the social networks to help them have sales conversations and influence buyer perceptions of value.
A digital sales strategy may have many connected goals, but in the end striving towards optimisation in the sales processes, extending the social reach of the business within the social ecosystem and building the right connections with the right people at the right time during the buyers journey is the key to success. The positive news for sales leaders and sales training experts is that with re-tuning the sales teams for the digital era, they will acquire the capabilities to impact the buyer’s journey to become a valuable influencer, a source of information and a provider of insights to the buyers’ of self education on the social networks.
The major themes of Digital Sales Strategy
More and more buyers are discarding their participation in the traditional sales models. They seek self-determined, more seamless, and rewarding buying experiences. They want more of really useful information at the right time, more value from the sales interactions and they want them on channels of their choosing. For many sales leaders getting their heads around this is hard, especially if it involves transforming the sales activity in mature or emerging markets. But future looking sales organisations are finding ways to improve digital interactions, the availability of quality content plus maximising connections with customers. Using social insights and digital selling they are cracking the code of how to integrate digital into the sales process. No business can win today using the old sales methodologies, so the forward looking ones are using digital as a plank into a multi-channel approach, to ensure consistency with messaging, in maintaining close contact with customers and extending their influence on the market. The best sales leaders are integrating online with inbound and digital sales, orchestrating more lead generation activity via social media and using data to drive activity.
Using Technology in Digital Selling
The use of data, technology and digital sales tools must evolve to keep pace with customer preferences. Part of the planning in a digital sales strategy is to ensure the investment enables success instead being viewed as just more tools that are time consuming to use.
Embed Digital Sales into the DNA of the Business
Digital sales transformation is not about achieving some short term wins but embedding it in to the genes of the business for long term sales growth. The companies who will win out in digital to connect with the digital savvy buyer will create a culture that embraces social channels. They will prioritise digital selling or social selling training and throw the spotlight onto people who are playing a starring role as agents of change. They will facilitate social collaboration between sales, marketing and customer support that goes way beyond any individuals skills. It's about a mission to create digital sales capabilities embedded into the DNA of the entire business.
Implementing a digital sales strategy could be deemed as nice to have, but be warned, the insights into future buyer preferences remove it as an optional choice. The continued rise of social media influence and social data brings enormous opportunities for sales growth. Yes, there will be challenges along the way. For any business planning to acquire customers and drive more revenue, they should already be preparing for a major overhaul of how they sell. No business and no industry will be immune.