"Cold calling isn't working anymore. What WILL work for me?"
The sales world has evolved. Sales reps have always been able to connect with their prospects via phone, email, or walking into the building for a drop in. This is now a thing of the past. Welcome to a new world, where it's extremely difficult to catch your prospect via phone, your emails are deleted and you can’t just stop by anymore – it’s considered invasive.
What does your sales team need to know?
Before a salesperson is ever approached, prospects have already researched online and are over 60% of the way through the buying cycle. Today’s sales reps need to be a wealth of knowledge. A customer might think they have found the answer, but a better solution may exist. Consumers need sales reps to be their guides, especially for large scale, sales solutions vs. specific products.
How will marketing generate leads for the sales team?
Marketing must provide educational, informative content to sales departments and customers. Simply put, companies need to have a strong online presence. Consumers should have accurate information about products and services at their fingertips. Ideally, customers should be able to go online to submit questions and find answers. Digital lead generation is the new name of the game and companies obtain this by creating content, sharing content and sharing relevant information from thought leaders within the industry. You have to keep up with evolving consumer habits and create a strong digital presence.
Fill the funnel with sales leads with these three suggestions:
- Blog. Your prospects are seeking answers from your sales reps every day. A blog creates a place for you to provide those answers online. Customers want to interact with businesses that will not only answer their questions honestly, but provide education as well – provide that in the place they search; online. A blog provides you with a platform to do just that – share information, ideas and suggestions. This blog was born out of a question from a prospect. “Why isn’t cold calling working? What IS working?” It is a podium that gives businesses the ability to engage with consumers.
- LinkedIn. Sales reps and sales managers should be on LinkedIn and ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING. Having a summary, picture, and contact information is simply not enough; you have to provide something to the folks out there. This is not the platform to make a sale, but rather, share content that informs and educates – so long as it’s relevant. That can be content you have created or another blogger's content. Sharing knowledge will showcase you as a reliable resource and as a thought leader within your community. Over 300 million business professionals are on LinkedIn participating in groups and asking questions. Sales reps should be on the groups that are relevant to their target buyer and answering questions. This positions the rep and the company as industry experts!
- Research online. So you have a prospect. Fabulous. Get to know them, what they like, what they share, what’s important to them. You can find all of this and more online. It can be amazing what you discover about a prospective buyer based upon what they share, post and like. Also, take the time to research the company. Perhaps they were just nominated for an award, which you could congratulate them for in a proposal or discovery meeting. There is so much information out there just waiting to help you connect with your prospects digitally, it’s a shame not to use it!
Consumer trends have evolved and the buyer we knew just 10 years ago is radically different from today’s customer. Get to know your prospects in a digital sense and you’ll begin to find new ways of connecting with them.