According to research by Gartner, only ‘43% of sales leaders feel fully prepared to deliver the same level of value in virtual sales and engagements…’
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As the future of selling continues its transformation towards digitalisation, sales teams must work harder to implement new tricks and strategies.
Successful sales efforts come from a team as a whole, and every member must be on board with the change. With B2B buyers being in control of the buying journey more than ever before, sellers have to adapt to the shift and find new approaches to meet customer demands.
According to Forrester’s research, ‘B2B buyers may require more than two dozen interactions (both human and non-human) throughout their buyer’s journey to complete a purchase.’ And to guarantee a sale, reps have to balance virtual face-to-face interactions with digital information exchanges.
The selling journey requires perfectly timed, as well as properly selected, tools and strategies from start to finish.
Use Buyers’ Digital Data and Signals
Early on in the selling journey, your sales teams are in the ‘getting to know you’ stage of their buyers’ journey. In this stage, the buyer’s interactions with your organisation will likely be self-guided.
According to Forrester, these self-guided interactions give your organisation the chance to use buyer research to their advantage by translating the data signals into a strong foundation for the next step.
Sales teams can follow three main ideas in order to use buyer research to their advantage: follow intent data through forms and history; find opportunities in signals by organising data into categories and gauging customer journey timing, and planning next steps by watching customer behaviour and reacting with a well laid-out plan.
In Forrester’s words, ‘Using these steps, sales organisations can become more adept at harnessing value from digital interactions.’
‘They can do so by defining the value of their CRM and introducing strategic initiatives as well as precise execution and optimisation techniques.’
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Place Value in Social Media Platforms
Your sales reps’ use of social media can be beneficial in more ways than just a marketing tactic or a way to directly approach customers.
According to Forrester, sellers can use these platforms to join groups and create a sense of authenticity.
‘Social platforms should not be used for overt selling. Sellers should use these platforms primarily to better understand prospects and build credibility,’ the report says.
Spend time with customers and gain insights to foster more personalised interactions when the time is right.
Message with Meaning
Messages aren’t made to close the deal, but instead, when well crafted, should encourage the reader to learn more. Customer-centric messages that reflect knowledge of their needs will entice the reader to click or engage in conversation.
Messages should make the customers feel that their journey is not made up of unconnected chats, but functions as a continuous dialogue.
Follow-up emails, for example, should take the previously discussed topics in social media engagement and progress to the next step.
Personalisation is key as dialogue messaging makes customers feel engaged and, in turn, is more likely to drive effective outcomes.
Maximise, Customise and Optimise
Virtual face-to-face communication is becoming more popular as it’s more convenient. Sellers need to maximise their time by being fully prepared for these meetings. In order to do so, they have to understand the tools in front of them, eliminate potential distractions, personalise presentation materials and engagement tactics, and practice delivery.
Your organisation’s teams have to work together to identify what works best for the entire buying journey and the customer lifecycle.
In Forrester’s words, ‘…sales leaders need to ensure their teams are as effective and equipped as possible when they engage with buyers.’
Digital and virtual exchanges are both important parts of the customer journey, but they aren’t areas your organisation has to navigate alone. With over 15 years of experience in consultation, we at redk are here to help you implement the right tools and strategies for digital and virtual success.
CRM Transformation Practice at redk
Hideki applies over 15 years of experience in the field of CRM and Customer Experience to overcome business challenges in the customer cycle.