The changing sales ecosystem

A client recently vented his frustration with me, and it’s a concern that I believe most organizations struggle with. We were discussing plans to expand our engagement, and I was excited for the opportunity to serve them on a larger scale. My digital marketing team had been working their rear ends off for this client and we knew they were happy. You’re always in good shape whenever you’re discussing what the next level looks like.

My team put together a plan for our next campaign sprint that included a heavy dose of what we call sales enablement. We proposed several projects, including custom dashboards for the client’s CRM (Salesforce), ongoing integration support between their marketing automation software (HubSpot) and Salesforce, and enhancements to our lead management process. As I went over the plan, my client interrupted with the following statement:

“Eric, this is great! This is exactly the stuff my boss' boss wants to see solved. We have so much information, but it’s spread out all over hell. The CEO is constantly asking for better visibility; the whole organization is really. This is the kind of stuff that could really make an impact on the entire organization.”

After a little back and forth—I expressed this is exactly the direction our agency was going and that we were committed to developing people and toolsets to improve the offering, the client stopped me again:

“I can’t imagine how every organization isn’t challenged with this stuff like we are. I’ve looked around for support options in the past and there just isn’t much out there to choose from. If you can get ahead of this, you’ll have a great competitive advantage.”

He was right. This is why I believe the overall success of a digital marketing campaign is dependent on a strong sales system. It doesn’t matter how many leads your digital marketing efforts produce, they have to turn into sales or they won’t add up to anything.

The sales landscape has changed, has your approach?

When was the last time you answered your office phone when you didn’t recognize the number? Does your office assistant screen your calls, or transfer anyone who calls right over to you? If you’re highly selective about who you speak with, you’re not alone. According to TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group, in 2007 it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. In 2013, that figure jumped to nearly eight attempts.

The dynamics of the sales landscape have changed dramatically over the last decade with the rapid proliferation of technology and information available to buyers online. We possess instant access to information we didn’t used to have. The mobile, technology-driven world we live in has changed the way prospects make buying decisions.

The amount of new technical information is doubling every two years and 95% of all of the data in the world has been created in the last two years! - Rick Bates via Main Broadcast Coalition, October 2015.

Access to information has shifted the balance of power

Your management team needs to be acutely aware of how the changing landscape stimulates the way our prospects make purchase decisions. This way, you can lead the overhaul of your sales methodology with a clear understanding of the new consumer dynamic. With the ability to access information at any time, from any place the game has changed for businesses trying to compete for consumers looking to buy. Gone are the days of potential buyers relying solely on sales people for information on our products or services.

As an example, "shopping" for cars is often performed online, rather than a dealership. People only go the dealership when they know what they want, and they’re often more educated about the individual vehicle than the sales rep who greets them in the lot.

According to HubSpot, 89% of US internet users search online before they make a purchase, even when that purchase is made at a local business.

Build an online library of information & resources

Your business needs to compete for the attention of those consumers who are surfing the web in an attempt to self-educate, because the decision making process has shifted from the salesperson directly to the consumer. If you want to empower your sales staff for success your online business presence needs to present well, present everywhere, and stay front-of-mind. Consider developing a cohesive strategy that puts resources, information, and brand messaging into cyber space as widely and frequently as possible. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Build a website that speaks directly to your prospects, educate them on your services, and confirm sales claims.
  2. Publish resourceful whitepapers, case studies, and articles that inform potential customers.
  3. Build a social community that provides your customers a platform to provide feedback and your prospects a history of your service record.
  4. Develop an email strategy that provides a steady source of resources to nurture prospects to maturity.
  5. Manage everything through marketing automation and sales management software.
  6. Monitor the right performance indicators, and make continual adjustments for improved results.

Give your sales team the power with interactive tools

To maximize your team’s potential and production, focus on enablement through development of fantastic sales tools. By implementing interactive sales tools, you’ll empower your sales staff with effective methods of answering questions, presenting features and benefits, supporting their claims, and building credibility. 

A PowerPoint bound in a spiral notebook isn’t dynamic. Bombarding clients with relentless, thoughtless emails is so 2007. These days we have amazing sales support software platforms available. These tools enable sales to be efficient, informed, and effective, more so than ever before. The ability to integrate different software solutions provides sales professionals exactly what they need to perform to their potential in today’s digital world.

Evaluate your team to see if they can execute the following tasks:

  1. Research companies visiting your website, identify key personnel, qualify them before their first interaction, and connect with these potential clients intelligently.
  2. Harvest valuable insights, contact information, and company statistics and load them directly to your CRM with a couple clicks of a mouse.
  1. Present personalized materials virtually and send interactive follow-ups that empower prospects to choose the right solutions and self-identify as potential consumers.
  2. Monitor the movements and engagement of their prospects’ entire decision making process by tracking every email, clicked link and document for real time engagement and intelligence.
  3. Work with real-time intelligence that seamlessly syncs between sales and marketing systems when re-engagement of stale leads is no longer their responsibility.
  4. Access and send interactive sales and marketing assets from any mobile device.

 

The ability to give your sales team these capabilities relies on the software solutions you choose and requires you to set them up to work together. When integrated properly, a consumer’s journey can be enhanced by the elements outlined above. The result will be an empowered sales team ready to execute effectively on every opportunity.  If you're curious as to what the possibilities might look like for you this is the kind of stuff we do at Revenue River Marketing.  You can even have a conversation about it with us without fear of being pressured and sold something.  Reach out if you're ready to improve your sales ecosystem.

 

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Topics: Sales

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