Gone are the days of transactions. Today, B2B sales is all about providing value. In order to survive in the field (or behind the desk) salespeople need to harness three core skills to create a positive customer experience and ultimately, exceed quota.
What has changed?
Consumers are researching solutions online at their own pace. When they finally do want to talk to sales, they are already 60% through their buying journey and it’s up to the salesperson to understand their needs and provide a fitting solution. Since today’s buyer is online, it is necessary to use digital tactics to reach them. Social selling, digital content , and predictive analytics are your weapons for success. However, one could get lost in the endless options for leveraging these tools. Here are some do’s and don’ts of B2B digital sales.
Your social selling success story starts with professional networks and creating an understanding of where your customers may be living and sharing. When you use social media for selling, it’s all about finesse. You want to take a light touch and provide helpful hints and solutions to build your reputation. Think of social media as a work mixer filled with uneasy people. You have to create a relationship and foster it before you make a sales pitch.
- Do — Look for prospective leads on LinkedIn and Twitter to view their interests and read about problems they may post. Look for a non-sales connection to start things off, such as schools attended, hobbies or recent work events.
- Don’t — Avoid starting out with a hard sell. Your prospect’s first impression of you shouldn’t be a random LinkedIn request with a request to meet. Instead, try starting out by following your prospect on Twitter and replying to a tweet. Social selling is about building a relationship, and it does take time.
- Do — Respond first with non-commercial fixes. Build a relationship by discussing the problem and offering a solution. After you offer it, then explain your service and offer any discounts that may be available.
- Don’t — Avoid connecting with every person who may be a lead and don’t flood an entire company with requests. Reaching out to people you don’t know will alert them to an upcoming sales pitch and they’ll be ready to say “no” right away. Sending direct messages as soon as someone follows you on Twitter may also be just as off-putting.
Content is no longer a nice-to-have: it is essential. Quite simply, your prospects want to self-educate and research at their own pace. By providing the right content that is aligned to their stage in the buying journey, you are helping them along and adding value as a salesperson. Furthermore, by providing both internal and third-party content, you are positioning yourself as an expert. When the time is right, your buyer will come to you for questions and specifics.
- Do – Share content through digital channels, such as social media, email, or a personal blog.
- Don’t – Avoid sending content that is outdated or time-stamped more than 6 months ago.
- Do – Personalize content for your target. This means finding content specific to their industry and role, and tailoring your message to how it relates to their world.
- Don’t – Avoid blasting generic content to everyone. If you’re going to build a relationship, the motivation behind sending each piece of content is that it is helpful for the prospect.
Using Predictive Analytics
Predictive analytics are more important than ever for salespeople to use to reach the right targets at the right time. Being able to extract key information from existing data sources allows you to determine patterns and predict future outcomes with much more likelihood and “predictability” than without this data.
- Do – Use predictive analytics to send targeted, personalized content to unique buyers. Make sure you are serving up the right content to your audience driven by behavioral triggers.
- Don’t – Avoid the trap of limiting yourself to just lead scoring. Lead scoring is promoted as a way to help sales prioritize leads, but in reality, the sales process is more complex than that.
- Do – Communicate with marketing and report data accuracy or discrepancies. Having an open dialogue between sales and marketing is critical to bringing the teams together and clarifying misinformation.
- Don’t – Avoid the temptation to skip the upfront planning process. In order to be successful, predictive analytics programs require careful planning, well-developed predictive models and a flexible company culture.
Adopting these three digital sales tools is guaranteed to fill your pipeline. Connect with your customers in meaningful ways and it will pay you back.