Getting smart about having an online presence is one of the strongest sales tactics you could consider. -Toni Clayton-Hine

Having a smart online presence is a smart sales tactic. Toni Clayton-Hine

Information driven selling is the modern way of doing business. It is not a revolutionary idea anymore … it’s the norm.

We all have Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, we have Search Engine Optimization, and marketing automation tools. The question is: Are they Sales tools or are they Marketing tools? Are sales people using them to gain the attention of current and prospective customers or is that “marketing’s job?”

Truth is it is both.

Make selling easier with digital marketing

If you are not using digital marketing as an integrated part of your sales strategy your sales teams will work much harder for the same result.

Old-school methods like asking executives for 15 minute meetings is quickly becoming out of date if potential buyers do not already know you or your company through some sort of reference, personally or digitally. It is more important than ever to support your sales teams efforts with a strong online presence that supports the messaging they present to prospects.

Your website is your first sales pitch.

According to research by Corporate Executive Board, nearly 60% of a buyer’s decision is made before they even contact a sales rep.It doesn’t work to simply post content on your website or social channels disconnected from your sales strategy. Your website is your first meeting. Customers are savvier than ever with shorter attention spans, and they expect to be compelled to interact and listen with the dots being connected for them.

When they finally reach out, the sales rep is under loads of pressure since the customer is armed with knowledge from research, input from their networks, and information directly from your website. The customer is entering the conversation educated and advanced in the sales process, so that information must lead them to a sales rep who can continue the same conversation to lead to a sale.

 Take a moment and think about what your customers learn about you during their research? What will they learn about you in the first 60% of their purchase decision making? Will it help you make you make the cut?

Getting smart about having an online presence is one of the strongest sales tactics you could consider.

Your digital presence and selling

Let’s talk about sales strategy in the context of a digital presence in the market.

Sales people know their target customer, what drives them, what problems their solutions can solve and the impact on their customers business. It’s a conversation that has a fairly predicable path. One that can be customized to fit today’s digitally savvy buyer.

Knowing your target market, means creating an online presence where prospects are hanging out- communities, forums and groups. Knowing their business means you can post information on what keeps them up at night and, like a sales call, offer your perspective on ways to help.

The key to this style of modern selling is applying traditional selling principles to an information rich conversation fueled by dynamic technology. I recommend these three ways to move beyond your old school methods and embrace modern selling.

Three ways to embrace modern selling

1) Be more places where your customers will find you

Expand your online presence: share your thought leadership, publish keynote articles, blog and advertise in supporting media channels. Make sure your prospects know who you are before you even reach out to them, and long before they reach out to you. As we know, customers are researching what is available before they contact you.

It is your job to target where and how you connect to these potential buyers. Where you find customers is just as important as what message you put in front of them. It’s not only finding them in the websites, forums, and hubs that is important it is also speaking to them where they are at in the buying journey. Selling with your online presence means educating and engaging prospects on their known pain points as well as relevant business drivers.

2) Reach out and connect to individuals

Get social – It’s where the people are: According to IDC, 75% of B2B buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions. Enter social selling, a major buzzword as of late. It’s how individuals on both sides leverage professional and personal networks, communication, publications; often through people-driven technology to get work (selling and buying) done faster and easier.

It’s not enough just to be on Twitter or LinkedIn if you don’t join in the conversation too. Be active and be present. Staying in the conversation helps you to stay top of mind with your potential customers.

However, capturing and keeping the interest of buyers in a digital way means having a point of view and offering a compelling insight, but does not focus on closing. Online interaction doesn’t replace sales people; it warms up the prospect through education. If they are interested in what you have to say, they are much more likely to share your interesting article or blog post with their network, which expands your reach even further.

3) Use your home turf to your advantage

Nurture and grow customers from your website: When customers finally make it to your website during their research phase, they are landing on your most valuable online tool. Your website is your home, your actual face in the online marketplace.

Your website must speak to your customer, meaning: speak their language and use the words they are saying and searching for. Forget your marketing lingo, drop the sales-speak, and never talk about SKUs. Focus on business drivers, pain points and outcomes- something we know is incredibly hard for B2B high tech companies.

Build a digital footprint as part of a sales strategy, not just a marketing tactic

The efforts put into online presence, social and your website should be considered a strategy over simply a tactical purchase.

At Xerox, we find that our most successful channel partners see better success rates because their sales teams are backed up with a strong and compelling online presence. Use the power of the internet and social media to your advantage and your customers will take notice.

Happy Selling

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