As technology continues to change the face of B2B sales, it is so very important for sales representatives to stay ahead of the curve. More and more, we will see consumers going to search engines and social networks for their purchases and sales representatives will slowly die off. The only way to prevent this from happening is by proving that you can demonstrate value to your customers through “empathy, storytelling mastery and a focus on advocacy,” according to social selling expert Jill Rowley.
Recently, she spoke at the Canadian Innovation Exchange, and offered some suggestions for the way forward. “(Buyers) are not allergic to salespeople, but they’re allergic to being sold,” she said. “They want insight, knowledge and context around their situation. Someone who can solve a business problem and achieve business outcomes.” This means changing our tactics from the “smile and dial” and “pitch and pounce” to using a social network to gain information about our buyers and engage one on one with them in a much more personalized way. A DiscoverOrg study shows that “only about half, or 54 percent of sales pros can clearly explain how their solution positively impacts a customer’s business.” How can we expect to sell anything if we don’t even know how we’re helping our customers?
“only about half, or 54 per cent of sales pros can clearly explain how their solution positively impacts a customer’s business.”
Consumers are also tired of having sales people jump down their throats to meet quotas and move products. They are even more likely to bypass a sales rep if there’s no chance to forge some sort of relationship. And who can blame them? If the customer doesn’t feel their needs being met, it is perfectly reasonable that they would move onto a more automated system. Plus, it can be so much easier to not talk to people than it can be to deal with a sales rep. We are probably all guilty of ignoring those 1-800 numbers, which is basically the same idea. So we need to re-evaluate our process, and figure out the best and most effective way forward to increase our sales and our traffic.
How do we make this happen? Here are four steps to make this approach work for your team, according to Jill:
Get the buyer’s attention
Somehow, we have got to cut through the noise. Whether this is through implementing more creative writing, captivating videos or even a flashier logo design, the hardest part is just getting the attention you need. While you may be sending out those emails and making those calls that have work so well in the past, more often than not this traditional approach will be ignored by many buyers. The fact is, you will have their attention when you can prove that you have something they need. Sure, it’s Basic Sales 101, but it’s so much easier to point that out then it is to implement the technique. Try it and see if they don’t pay attention.
Invest in sales enablement teams
With the right team in place, you can get anything done. Investing in a sales enablement team, people who can get at the very heart of what you need to engage with your customers is a great way to change your selling process. Whether this is through great digital content or a one-on-one with your customers, these teams will be able to strategize with and equip any client-facing team member. When you equip your team the right way, you will accomplish your goals.
Foster digital communication
Now that technology is so pervasive in our businesses, it’s about time we use it to get things done the right way. Using social networks, we can project a consistent brand voice that will increase our brand awareness and reach those who are out of our range. Social networking and content marketing platforms are an excellent way to introduce and foster digital communication within your company.
Implement digital communication for the whole team
Everyone needs to be on the same page here. The cool thing about technology is how it can make all of our lives easier, and with certain content marketing platforms, you can implement these as a tool to spread your brand’s message through “social employees.” What’s a social employee? Anyone who uses their social media to spread the gospel of your brand. Employee advocacy gives your team an excellent chance to brag about their job: the company culture, product or even what their position is. With a tool like Yip Yip, you can streamline your social network communication so that your team can share consistent brand material with people on their friend list you haven’t reached yet.
“You need a brand that is ‘liked, trusted and remembered.'”
Many people will talk about the extinction of the B2B sales representative, but we don’t have to lie down and take it as fact. We just have to adapt and learn how to do our jobs better in a digital age. Personal branding is the answer for sales reps who desperately need relationships to actually build those relationships and achieve quota. You need a brand that is “liked, trusted and remembered.”
The bottom line is that without a personal brand, you’ll have a lot of trouble finding and building business relationships over the next few years. In order to connect buyers with sellers, businesses need to take a serious look at their buying cycle and if goals and organizational thought are shortsighted rather than long-term focused.