Use The Right Tools For Optimal Results
We recently met with a well-respected sales rep who just resumed his traveling. When we asked how his company is supporting him in today’s new sales environment, the question took him by surprise and he acknowledged that he was not provided with any new sales tools to use in today’s completely different selling environment.
Think about that for a moment – due to the pandemic there are no in-person prospect encounters via tradeshows. Coffee and lunch meetings with prospects are limited. Monthly business networking meetings have been scrapped. The prospecting sales funnel of past years has been largely uprooted.
Over the past nine months, many companies have failed to properly arm salespeople with new tools or approaches for today’s remote selling efforts, forcing them to adjust approaches largely on their own.
The world has changed and even when safe and effective vaccines are available, sales efforts will never fully go back to pre-Covid days. Technology has grown to fill the gap, with remote sales growing in ways none of us imagined.
Studio/D offers the following insights of how agile companies can properly arm salespeople for today’s remote selling battlefield.
Insight #1 – Generate More Sales Leads Through Your Website
B2B companies feel that digital marketing is now 2-3x more important than traditional sales interactions (see McKinsey report, “The B2B digital inflection point: How sales have changed during COVID-19”). With half of B2B buyers researching online before contacting companies, it’s critical that marketing communications provide the appropriate content online. Refresh content with an eye toward the user experience. Identify key questions that your sales team repeatedly answers, and allow marketing to address them online. Add more ways for prospects to interact with your website through additional call-to-action items.
Enhance SEM and SEO efforts to bring more people to your site. Drop more electronic breadcrumbs (content) so prospects can more easily find you.
Insight #2 – Presell Through Public Relations: Replace Tradeshow Leads With Earned Media
Many leads previously generated at tradeshows came from tradeshow floor traffic, but proactive marketers have always relied on PR efforts at shows. Now is the time to double down on earned media efforts outside of trade shows to foster awareness and preference of your company through key industry publications. Use press releases to provide easy editorial pick-up for writers, and offer company experts through pitches for key stories they are writing.
With fewer sales meetings happening, prospects are hungry for new information. Feed them by taking full advantage of editorial opportunities. Realize also that these opportunities aren’t just through well-established trade media outlets. Podcasters and bloggers have gained influence, often seeking stories from subject matter experts.
Insight #3 – Focus Salespeople On Top Prospects: Automate Low-Level Nurturing And Buying Processes
Salespeople should not be expected to provide high-touch nurturing of all prospects. Shift instead to marketing automation and align key salespeople on top prospects.
Establish a quality CRM program with marketing automation tools that help inform and advance cold prospects to warm prospects, identifying and turning the higher-opportunity prospects to salespeople for their closing efforts. Work to ensure that you don’t lose the personal connection through this process.
Automate online ordering processes to fulfill the sales needs of smaller clients, freeing seasoned salespeople to concentrate on more profitable opportunities.
Insight #4 – Create New Content For Salespeople
All great salespeople are great story tellers. Arm them with new stories and produce these stories on a platform that matches your prospect’s media consumption habits (e.g.: videos, podcasts, blogs, webinars, etc.). Organize content so salespeople can easily access it and adjust it for their specific needs. Produce everything for virtual use and emphasize video for engagement.
Insight #5 – Arm Salespeople With Today’s Tech Tools
McKinsey reported that more than half of B2B businesses believe remote selling is as effective as face-to-face pre-Covid selling strategies. Acquire the tech equipment and training needed for effective on-line presentations. With Zoom and other providers having become the communication norm, it’s critical that salespeople present themselves professionally on screen: have a good background, proper lighting, and superior audio and video.
If you live stream or conduct webinars, invest in a stream deck to manage transitions and to simplify repetitive tasks. Ensure internet connections are up to the task to avoid frozen presentations. Invest in a good microphone – this simple item will earn preference on Zoom calls, as they toggle between participants based on audio pick-up. Practice with the equipment, as nothing undermines a presentation quicker than an inability to make it happen.
Imagine the difference a proactive sales rep could make if their company supported them with these tools and techniques. Not only would sales revenue increase, but the sales funnel would grow, as would staff morale as they take share from the competition.
If marketing and sales teams are not aligned to assist each-other in today’s environment, a company’s health will suffer. To determine how sales efforts can be optimized through better alignment with marketing tools, please give us a call.