What Will it Take to Sell Effectively This Year?
A New Mindset – Adoption of New Sales Disciplines
The sales environment is an exciting place for your business to operate in. However, it is also going to require change. This need for change has basically been brought around by the way your customers use the internet and the opportunities this presents your sales strategy.
The first thing to do is to realise that selling – from here on in – has evolved past the standard use of email, the phone and sales meetings. Now, we can (read: have to) incorporate the following disciplines into our process.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Affiliate Programs
You’re probably thinking that these are disciplines each of their own. And you are correct, in the sense that you could say that telesales, or email marketing are disciplines of their own. However, great and effective sales people learn to use whatever skills are available to close sales. Now it’s a case of learning the above. Two reasons as to why this makes sense follow:
Firstly, if you think about it, sales people have an innate skill for generating business and as a sales person, you (or your sales people) possess this quality too. Why shouldn’t this transfer into SEO or SEM? Sales people learned to use the phone and email to channel their skills after all – there is no reason why it should be different with SEO and other forms of digital promotion.
Secondly, the point of all of these activities to simply to increase sales figures. So, as it is your sales function, process or people that take care of this task, it makes sense that they should be in charge of these disciplines too. We’ve heard about how the age of sales is dead – it’s the age of SEO, or SMM for example. However, never forget that the whole point of all of the disciplines above is to sell more – increased web traffic is nothing without the skill to convert. The sales function is everything.
Nowadays, it is possible to integrate all of the above into your sales process with minimal effort – without outsourcing to multiple 3rd parties.This involves working out a strategy for each process, a strategy that compliments your goal of increased sales. Then, these processes can all be integrated with your sales tools and software
For example, using SEO, SEM for generating leads can allow you to develop a healthy pipeline, which can be automatically taken care of by your lead nurturing process. The key point to make here is to ensure that everything we have discussed above fits in with your sales process, eg:
- SEO >> Lead Generation >> Pipeline (Nurturing) >> Sales
- SMM >> Lead Generation >> Pipeline (Nurturing) >> Sales
An important aspect to discuss here is efficiency. You want to do as much as possible for as little expenditure (both in terms of cash and effort) as possible. Unfortunately, we operate in a time when – for many reasons – you feel that you need to outsource your SEO needs to company ‘x’, your Social media needs to company ‘y’ and so forth. This can get expensive, and can also fragment the process. However, if you realise that the above are natural functions of your sales process and treat them as such, your spend will likely be lower and your ‘flow’ will be better. SEO, SEM and other forms of digital marketing are not ‘black arts’ that only a select few can master. They are simply new ways of generating that all important lead, just as cold calling used to be.
Why Adopt The Above as Sales? Why Not Leave Them as Separate Functions?
Does it appear that the lines between sales and (online/offline) marketing are blurring? Definitely. With the advent of social media, we are directly connected to our customer base in a way that we have never been before. Gone are the days of thinking about our website as being our complete online marketing effort. We can now engage with our prospects online, on an almost one-to-one basis, just like talking on the phone. SMM, SEO and Lead Nurturing are all modern day/automated equivalents of cold calling, canvassing and relationship building. So let’s use them – as sales tools.
Personally, I’d go so far as to say that all of your online promotion efforts should be considered as your ‘inbound sales’ efforts, rather than ‘marketing’, ‘digital marketing’ or ‘inbound marketing’.
The businesses who succeed in the 2012 sales environment are going to be the business who understand – and act on – the following:
- Online promotion is not a black art, nor is it optional – it should be integrated deep within your sales process, just like cold calling and emailing.
- Online promotion should not be removed from the sales process and thought of as marketing.
- Integration and efficiency is everything – all of your sales process should be tightly woven and measurable. This means everything – from your search engine rankings, all the way through to closing the sale.