Digital selling is the current evolution of sales and marketing. Organizations have to evolve—or get left behind. They need to identify and connect with customers in ways they haven’t before. Technology enables them to do it faster, more efficiently, and more frequently resulting in better outcomes.
The idea is to be smarter, efficient, and have more targeted selling activities. This should include tools and processes to engage and sell to a customer. It’s engaging in things like digital presentations, videos, digital sales collateral, email campaigns, AI, automation, your CRM, etc. Want to learn more? Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented with Justin Zappulla!
Justin believes that any great sales strategy begins with the customer, which is why you must take the time to map the customer journey. How do your customers identify, evaluate, and make purchasing decisions? You then build your sales strategy around that. Justin notes that a typical buyer’s journey has three phases, consisting of awareness, consideration, and making the decision.
So you have to focus on how you’re enabling tools, technology, data, and the sales and marketing function to drive the best outcome at each of those stages of the buyer’s journey. How can you leverage data to make better decisions? What digital tools can be implemented by sales or marketing to get a better outcome?
What are the attributes + characteristics of a successful digital seller? Listen to hear Justin’s thoughts!
What’s the area that will give you the most impact? According to Justin, it’s the sales call. During the pandemic, sellers couldn’t meet face-to-face with customers. They learned to leverage Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, etc. to hold sales calls. In this new virtual world, Justin emphasizes that it’s critical to develop the skills needed to execute that virtual sales call. It’s the new way modern sellers will connect with customers and paramount to master.
Justin shares some of his tips to improve your digital sales:
Early in 2020, Justin was on the buyer side of a sales call. It was executed seamlessly. The rep running the presentation was adept at the program. He toggled the views so each participant could see each other and make eye contact. He seamlessly transitioned to the documents and data they were presenting. They used animation tools to highlight key points. They moved seamlessly through each team member that was speaking. It felt natural without being choppy and saying things like “Can you see my screen.” They were well prepared.
Justin got off that call and went “Wow. This will change how salespeople sell forever.” Moving calls to video and sharing media are the new skills salespeople need to develop. Sales have evolved almost overnight into a new format. This is what high-performing sellers need to do to be successful with sales calls.
Nearly everyone has moved to digital selling for the last year or so. Even though things are opening, there will continue to be a digital component or hybrid model in play. Plus, organizations are enjoying the cost-savings from doing virtual meetings. Julie Hansen points out that Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales will take place virtually.
Organizations need to have a strategy in place to handle the continued transition. How can they improve it? According to Julie, organizations need to focus on making a human connection through technology. How can you connect with people on the other side of the screen? Julie shares her thoughts in this episode of Sales Reinvented!
Most companies have enough technology and tools in place to be successful with digital selling. However, a successful strategy begins with taking the tools you have and learning how to connect with someone through a camera. You have to learn to understand what the customer is feeling or seeing on the other side of the screen. It’s an art and a science. You can’t do the same things you’d do in person and expect it to translate through video. It’s why people don’t feel seen or heard. How do you create an in-person experience in a virtual world? It’s not all about technology.
Julie believes that you have to learn how to make eye contact and read on-screen body language. If you can’t do that, you’ll make wrong assumptions, miscommunicate, and misinterpret what’s being said. You have to engage someone with a small amount of real estate. You need to understand how your customer is experiencing the interaction. Until you do that, you aren’t creating that in-person experience. It can be as simple as looking at the camera when they’re speaking to you instead of watching the image of them. You have to adapt.
Julie notes that you need all the same characteristics selling digitally as you do in person—credibility, an interest in others, empathy, curiosity, and trustworthiness. But she emphasizes that those that are successful in the digital world are those that are adaptable. You can’t just “ride it out,” you have to adapt and change from what you’ve done before. If you don’t, you’ll struggle.
The salespeople that recognize they want to have a deeper connection with their customers and make the virtual experience fulfilling and meaningful are those that will succeed. empathy, curiosity, and other traits won’t show up in a video if you don’t know how to use them properly. Someone won’t feel empathy if you aren’t making eye contact. They won’t feel cared about if your face is a blank slate. You may feel all of those things but must communicate them. Julie shares, “It doesn’t exist if the camera doesn’t see it.”
Julie sees that people tend to be very passive virtually. People show up like they’re sitting in front of a screen. They’re in receiving mode and settled into a blank “resting business face.” If you’re not aware that it’s typical on-screen behavior, you may panic. One strategy is to learn how to recognize on-screen behavior and how to interact and break through the passive cycle. Julie shares a few dos and don’ts that can help you do that:
Julie had a coaching call with a salesperson. The business development rep was sent to her because he couldn’t convert calls to demos. She watched some of his recordings and pointed out two things that were impacting his presentations:
They worked through sharing how you feel with your face and making eye contact. The next month, he converted 20% of his calls to demos. It was all about the connection with his audience. At the end of the day, it is your connection with the buyer that makes a sale, not the tools or technology.
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Many organizations are revising their go-to-market strategies to include digital and social selling. But what should that process look like? How can you find success if you’ve only known a world of traditional sales? Shane Gibson—the co-author of Real Results in a Virtual Economy—shares some of his tips and strategies in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Check it out!
What can organizations do to improve their digital selling capabilities? Everyone was forced to sell remotely because of the Coronavirus pandemic. We’ve had seven years of digital adoption happen in a year, where the consumer—both business and individuals—have made the majority of purchasing decisions digitally. It’s a larger market accustomed to making decisions remotely. Shane clearly believes that’s not going to stop.
Shane shares that most people don’t have the budget to fly their sales teams around the world. So you have to knock on people’s doors using digital tools. You have to learn to think like digital-first sales organizations. Why is it so important? Gartner predicted that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales will be conducted digitally.
Shane starts with the customer and works his way backward. He notes that sales leaders fall in love with the tools all the time. The challenge with digital tools is that they’re thrown at you and you get excited about them. Shane emphasizes that you need to get excited about your customer first.
Your strategy needs to be customer-centric. What channels are your customers on? What platforms are they making purchasing decisions on? What is their buying process? How do they use digital tools in that decision-making process? How can you develop a process that enables the buyer?
It’s time to move from giving salespeople the tools they need to giving the customer the tools they need. Up to 80% of the customer buying cycle happens before the sales organization knows they exist. So you must become the #1 source for self-education for potential customers. Content marketing specific to your target niche is a vital part of the sales process.
You must first understand your niche. The #1 challenge for most sales organizations is getting the first conversation with a prospect. You have to move from a focus on closing to a focus on starting the conversation. This starts on LinkedIn, Twitter, and even chatbots on websites. The goal should be starting contextual conversations with the customer and curating content that resonates with them.
What is Shane’s “Principle of Context?” Listen to learn more about the importance of context!
What do sales professionals need to master to become successful with digital selling? Shane shares his virtual competency skills to master:
What are Shane’s top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts? Listen to find out!
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Why is credibility so important for salespeople? Does it impact prospecting and lead generation more than one might think? In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Lee Smith argues that credibility is the thing that sets you apart—and you need to embrace it.
Lee Smith is the CEO and Founder of SalesFuel. He is also the author of “SalesCred,” and the international bestseller “Hire Smarter, Sell More!” He’s uniquely qualified to share prospecting and lead generation dos and don’ts. Don’t miss it!
Successful lead generation and prospecting are all about credibility. Lee emphasizes that too many times salespeople focus on whether or not they fit the ICP, are a marketing or sales qualified lead, etc. He looks at it differently.
Buyers are looking to qualify you and determine if you’re credible. Do they respond to emails? Do they answer your calls? Do they invite you to compete for the business? 59% of buyers are researching the sellers before meeting with them. They want to know if you’re useful—or a waste of their time.
They go on LinkedIn, check your website, and do internet searches. If they find nothing—or don’t like what they see—you won’t get invited to the table. Who do you have the most credibility with so you can earn their trust?
You have to be known. You have to show that you have the business acumen and experience to prove that you can help their business, help them achieve their goals, and help them solve their problems.
You have to be likable. Show buyers that you like and respect them. Show up on time, don’t take advantage of them, and don’t pretend to be what you’re not. Don’t try to trick them. You have to be trustworthy and full of integrity. You have to show authenticity, vulnerability, and empathy.
Resilience is key. You will face adversity. You will have doors slammed in your face. You have to learn the lesson from the loss and take it forward and do a better job next time.
Lee implores salespeople to improve their pre-call preparation skills. Do your research up front and don’t walk in empty-handed—or you’ll walk out empty-handed. You must provide value that is relevant to your buyer.
You have to ask smart questions. Then you have to shut up and listen to them all the way through. You’ll often get the most important information at the end of someone’s answer. Then you have to be curious and ask follow-up questions.
The person asking questions leads the conversations. If you’re credible, they’re more likely to answer your questions honestly because they know you can help and won’t misuse the information. It gives you the leverage you need to create a strong offer and close the deal.
What are Lee’s top 3 prospecting and lead generation dos and don’ts? Listen to find out!
A company was just bought out and was being pushed to do things they weren’t comfortable with. The person who had just taken over the team had listened to Lee’s podcast and was aware of him. Because of credibility that Lee had built through articles, his podcast, other companies that he’d worked with, made him top of mind. So Lee was brought in to work with this group.
Credibility allowed him to attract the type of client he wanted to do business with. Lee believes your credibility acts as a magnet. It either attracts people to you or repels them away from you. He notes that “The more credibility you have today, the easier sales become tomorrow.”
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In today's episode of Sales Reinvented, we do a special episode exchange with the Outside Sales Podcast. Steve Benson interviews legendary sales author Victor Antonio. They discuss the importance of the sales presentation process and how to get in front of any objection. Victor talks about the “Hero Story” process and how to gain the confidence of your prospect. This episode is packed with useful information that will help you master your sales presentations. Don’t miss it!
Victor points out that everyone has a sales process. But somewhere in that process, you have to give a presentation. Most people don’t talk about the fact that there is a process to that presentation. He needs to answer these two questions first:
Before Victor does a keynote or a presentation, he asks his customers to let him talk to salespeople to see what they’re struggling with. They give him the blueprint for what he says from the stage. It’s also important to use their language when he talks to them about their pain.
Victor likes to use the iceberg analogy. You can only see 10% of an iceberg, the other 90% is underwater. Most salespeople talk about features, benefits, and advantages. Customers focus on quality, service, and price. Most salespeople don’t look at the unstated or latent needs.
If you understand what’s holding a customer back from a buying decision, you can sell more effectively when you present. You need to find the 90% of issues below the iceberg and address them. Listen to hear Victor and Steve walk through a hypothetical scenario to drive the point home.
Victor recommends getting all of your salespeople together and asking: “What is holding back our customers from buying?” Remove features, benefits, advantages, quality, service, and price from the equation. What’s left? You’ll end up with a laundry list of things holding them back. Which ones come up the most commonly? You can figure out what the latent needs are.
You can then bring these concerns up in a sales presentation proactively before they even come up as an objection. Victor will go into a sales presentation and raise the objection himself. Why? Because when you raise the objection, you control the objection and how you can dispose of it. If the customer brings it up, you’re defending yourself—and less likely to change their mind.
Victor folds a sheet of paper in half four separate times. Once he unfolds it, he’s left with 16 squares. That is how you begin your presentation layout. Each box represents a slide. He chooses what he wants to start with at the beginning to make an impact. By the 3rd or 4th slide, he’s introducing the first objection. If you continue to interlace common objections into your presentation, you’ll feel the resistance lessen.
He notes that the biggest mistake outside salespeople make is that they go in and share who they are, what the agenda is, and background about the company. Then they talk about their mission statement and other businesses they’ve worked with. They’ve spent the first 5–10 minutes talking about themselves. The customers don’t care. Those minutes are the most valuable time you have most—most people waste it.
Instead, start by demonstrating that you understand their pain. Spend the 5–10 minutes on them and they’ll be ready to listen to you. How does he work the product and conclusion in using the hero story method? Listen to hear what his structure looks like.
You have to guide toward your close. It begins once you present your solution. You’re blocking objections and reducing resistance. As you show something, you look for confirmation. You’re conversing with them. Share how you do things and share insight—information beyond the obvious. When you get “huh” or “I didn’t know that” types of responses, you know you’re doing well in your presentation.
When you get to the end, it’s a natural ask: “We’ve gone through all of these features. Is there any reason we couldn’t start a demo next week to see how this works? You can then look at the data to see if it makes sense.” 63% of salespeople don’t ask for the order or the next stage in the process.
What can you do to pivot on the fly? What’s the best way to practice presentations? How should you practice to master sales presentations? Listen to the whole episode to hear more of Victor’s expert insight!
Here at the Outside Sales Podcast, we realized that while there were many sales focused Podcasts out and about, there weren’t any specific to Outside Sales. We wanted to change that. That’s why we created this space where everything is about OUTSIDE SALES. Host Steve Benson, CEO and founder of Badger Maps, talks to industry leaders and experts to learn the strategies and tactics that make them successful in Outside Sales. Hop on to discover practical tips on how to sell at peak performance.
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