Sales, like any other aspect of businesses has transformed over the years. There has been a complete shift in the way customers buy. Let me share how to best go about Sales Marketing in the Digital Age, as we have progressed alongside this journey.
Customers no longer wait for a sales rep to guide them through their buying process.
Research suggests that around 81% of buyers conduct online research before making a purchase. Therefore, it is especially important for sales teams to be where their customers are.
When the default for business becomes digital, your organization needs to follow suit.
From researching customer information to predicting the possibility of landing a deal, the utility of today’s digital sales tools has great potential to positively impact the ROI of businesses. The digital age has opened up a variety of avenues for sales teams to engage in with their customers.
What has changed with Sales Marketing in the Digital Age
The sales process in the digital marketing age has changed but the psychology behind the buyer has not. The successful salesperson has upgraded their toolbox.
The role that marketing and advertising plays has changed but the need to generate leads has not.
The uniqueness of the digital age is the lead source.
Did the prospective customer initiate contact from the physical sales process (walk into the facility, phoned in, met during an event) or through the online sales process (filled out a web form, engaged via social media or called after reviewing your web site)?
Let’s consider how marketing and sales look from a digital point of view…
The Role of Sales Marketing in the Digital Age
Delivering personal service to online customers can increase sales and build your customer base.
This can be done by following a six-step process as part of your digital marketing strategy.
A successful online sales presence can guide your customers through the selection and purchasing process.
Successfully marketing a product or service to a customer means understanding their psychological needs.
What are you selling
If you are selling a product, you are selling the idea that it will solve a customer’s specific problem or meet their specific needs.
If you are selling a service, you need to get in touch with the pain of your potential clients. This will draw their attention, and enhance their interest in what you are offering. This can be done by incorporating a six-step sales process into your digital marketing strategy.
Make sure that you represent and court your visitor through the five levels of the sales process, on your site, as this creates a successful online sales presence.
What are Sales?
So, let’s look at the definition of a sales process:
A sale is a planned series of activities at every stage of your sales pipeline, that is used as a road-map for moving the sale forward. The sales process begins with the receiving of the lead and subsequent contacting of a lead and ends with the closing of a deal.
There are no two businesses that are the same, and the same logic applies to build a sales process.
Ideally, your sales process should replicate the buyer’s journey and it should be clear and self-explanatory, even for a newly recruited sales rep to understand.
To understand where the sales process fits within an organization, it’s important to understand the marketing and sales funnel and how a lead flows across the top part of the funnel.
As a sales manager, you should define a sales process that ensures you meet your specific set of goals or KPI’s at every stage, and that leads flow through the funnel without any hindrance.
Sales play a huge role in the middle and at the bottom of the funnel. It becomes paramount for you, as a sales manager or rep, to have the right process in place, to convert the leads passed on to you, by your sales team.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Sales are all about getting the right data at the right time. CRM’s have considerably improved the ability to do that, by providing an organized sales pipeline for any business. Any information that enters and exits the business cycle, is easily captured in a CRM application. This ensures that you won’t miss out on any key information when dealing with customers.
Greater efficiency of sales teams, higher lead conversion rates, an increase in automation, and improved customer engagement are some of the benefits that CRM software has brought to an organization’s sales management process.
So, let’s look at the integrated 6 step digital marketing and sales process. This process is not complete and is only digital in terms of the marketing process.
Let me provide you with a very basic process to help solve your sales problem.
Sales & Marketing going Digital
3 – Step Digital Marketing Sales Process
In order to meet customer needs and have a successful sales presence in the virtual world, it requires an online digital marketing strategy involving a six-step process.
The six-steps of the marketing and sales processes are the core components that will move your lead from visitor to customer.
By representing each step and courting your lead or potential customer through those steps, you will have the power to move your leads from failure to success (customers).
It is important to know that the six-steps build on each other.
A digital marketing strategy that is done correctly will clearly define all steps of the process.
The strategy will then assist you in setting realistic and attainable digital marketing objectives.
It will also assist you in using each step to build and influence the others so that the process continually moves toward the successful closing of the sale.
Let’s Go Through The 3 – Steps of Sales Marketing in the Digital Age
- Step 1 – Lead research
The inbound lead generation process you follow plays a major role in your research and qualification process.
So, make sure that you ask for the following basic information in your ads:
- email address
- contact number
- type of business
- business name or business URL
The more information you have at your disposal, the more it will help you to do proper research on your B2B leads and to score them properly.
This research and score will help salespeople to focus on all the high value leads instead of other leads.
Leads you get from the digital marketing process are in some instances different compared to what you may be used to when you did your own marketing. We will discuss that a bit later.
- Step 2 – Qualify leads
A lead is a prospect who has shown interest in your service or product that you have on offer.
Digital marketing companies use various qualification frameworks (processes) to assist in designing their advertisements.
Where possible they try to design the ad in such a way that it will assist in the qualification process.
Salespeople’s initial responsibility is to qualify the leads so that they know which lead to focus on.
They will qualify the leads using pre-set criteria so that they can be scored from cold, warm, and then to hot leads, or remove most of them completely from the list if they don’t meet the qualifying standards.
- Step 3 – Qualify potentials
A potential is a lead that has been qualified to be followed up by salespeople. They should be driven in the direction of closing a deal, as they are in fact, potential customers.
Once you’ve established initial contact with your prospect and you’ve clearly understood their needs, the next logical step for a sales rep is to address the problems that the prospect currently faces.
Remember, every sale is a solution to a problem.
Your customers can give you clues (underlying concept) about the problems that they face on a daily basis.
Thus, selling doesn’t just stop with you pitching your product or service.
Today’s customers have a variety of choices as they look for a product solution in the market.
Leads or potentials can evaluate other competitors and it’s your responsibility to highlight your product’s value to your prospect’s business.
Show them why you’re the best!
During the negotiation process:
- You have worked hard to demonstrate the value of your product or service
- The buyer is considering purchasing and you’re one step away from closing the deal
- It’s the stage of your sales process where you and your prospective buyer will decide on the terms and conditions, validity, and services offered as part of the deal
- The buyer can always ask for discounts, and the sales reps will have to negotiate within their organization’s policies on discounts
A quick tip for those of you who didn’t know:
A customer is a prospect, who went all the way from being a lead and potential, to buying from you.