In today’s; “eat or be eaten” economic environment , a business who decides to forgo the adoption of a digital sales strategy is really risking a huge opportunity cost.
Many well established, generational businesses see little need in using a digital sales strategy to market their products or services, and instead rely on hiring an expensive sales team to act as the mouthpiece of their company. I think they’re missing a huge opportunity!
What is a Digital Sales Strategy, and how can it benefit my company?
A digital sales strategy is the process of keeping a prospective buyer engaged in your business practices, until the point they are ready to buy your product or service.
Lets face it,
The art of selling has evolved over the years. Nowadays, people don’t seem to want to be ‘sold’, it makes them feel violated. Instead they want the upper hand, they want to ‘buy’.
With so much availability for us to do our own research, the need to be ‘sold’, is looking more like the extinction of the Amur Leopard with each passing day.
The great thing is a buyers timeline for purchase varies, so having a vigorous digital sales strategy has a way of keeping your sales funnel full. Not to mention, you may discover the demands of the market are slightly different than what you’re doing in your conventional marketing process.
Since buyers behaviors have shifted the table on us, businesses need to maintain relevance through different channels. They need to have an understanding of:
The building and management of a web presence. Knowledge of WordPress, hosting options, email newsletters, and the collection of and management of an email list are instrumental in building a viable digital sales strategy.
Becoming ‘found’ by providing relevant and consistent content on one, or multiple platforms. Platforms include a personal blog, Facebook, TicTok, Youtube, and Instagram.
Knowledge of Google Ad Words and Social Media Advertising.
Buying ad space in Google Search or on Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram can increase exposure to a product or service you’re marketing. It’s all about eyeballs on your product or service.
Why companies may want to choose a digital sales strategy over hiring a sales team.
Hiring a sales team is like starting a restaurant, it’s extremely capital intensive. Like the restaurant business, even before you’ve made your first dollar, you’re digging out of a financial hole.
In the restaurant business your expenses before you open include: Dining Decor, Employees, Food Costs, Insurance, Taxes, etc, etc, and they all EAT into your profits…Get it…EAT…..restaurant?
Ok, it was low-hanging fruit..
Hiring a sales team in lieu of a digital sales strategy is similar to the restaurant business because you’re taking on expenses the moment you hire the sales team, then patiently waiting to make a return. And, your return may take a long, long time to come, and in some cases may not even come at all.
Which is why I’m a big fan of food trucks by the way! I think every restaurant should consider starting as a food truck, just to gauge whether feeding the public is really what you want to do. This is merely my two cents by the way, and may not necessarily be the views expressed by the majority of restaurateurs.
What we need is a way to create a salesperson/ food truck model. We’ll call it ‘Sales Trucker’.
Starting with a food truck before opening a restaurant is a kin to sticking your toe in the deep end, before jumping in head first.
The reason I bring this up is our company is contemplating this very thing right now. I work for a small family-owned company and we are looking for an experienced and proven salesperson to market our health care products.
What I’ve found is, most sales people are expensive. Not sure why, the ones I’ve interviewed lack experience, and in some cases, even personality. Cmon, as a sales person, I think personality ranks higher than say, ‘how many words you can type in 60 seconds’.
With what some of the ones I’ve interviewed want to be paid, you’d think they’re the next Tony Robbins or Gary Vanerchuk, or something.
Secondly, the resumes we’ve received reflect a nascent level of sales experience, and provides little in the way of “warm and fuzzy” that this prospective employee will turn out to be a winner.
From an employers perspective, salespeople are a risky investment.
Back to Sales Trucker
Perhaps we need to redefine the term Salesperson. Perhaps this person needs to have broader skills, such as the ability to write content, understand SEO Optimization, and Web Development.
Lets face it, where do people go to find a product or service they’re interested in?
You guessed it, they wait for a sales person to come knock on their door and tell them the benefits of what they’re looking for.
Ok, maybe that happens after they check Google first.
What makes a good Salesperson anyway?
It isn’t the fact they can speak fast about how great their product or service is, and the many things it will do to better your life.
No, A Good Salesperson:
- Listens more than they talk… (why do you have two ears and one mouth…You guessed it….)
- Takes the knowledge they learned from listening to the buyer, and offers up solutions.
- Has a high degree of integrity
- Follows up.
A good salesperson has got to have ambition and determination. In any sales position you’re going to have to deal with ‘No” all too often, and you can’t take it personally. A good Sales Person has to have the ability to hear ‘No’, and simply move on to the next one.
How creating digital content can be beneficial to any sales industry.
Digital content is the best way to ‘be found’ and a passive way to sell your product. Case in point Swimmingpoolsteve
A swimming pool can be a very expensive purchase, and Steve offers valuable information about pools in a non-threatening, non-sales-y manner; I mean if your looking for pool products; how can you not buy something through his site?
Pool Pump reviews, leak detection, solar heaters, vinyl lining vs gunnite, it’s all there for free on his site.
I hope Steve doesn’t take offense to this, but he’s a salesman, and a pretty shrewd one at that. He is giving away valuable information free of charge, so that one day you’ll remember he did that, and come back and buy your Chlorine Tablets through his affiliates. It’s genius!
Salesmanship al la 2022!
Should we abandon a conventional sales process for a digital sales strategy?
The simple answer, NO. Creating digital content should be ‘in addition to’, rather than ‘in lieu of’. Content creation does not create a successful salesperson overnight, it’s a long and arduous process.
In fact, Steve’s been working on producing his pool content since as far back as 2014.
Today, conventional salesmanship has got to work in tandem with a digital sales strategy. Whether that’s imploring current employees to write content, or hiring a freelancer to produce content for you. It should also include buying advertising on a platform or two, and building links to your site.
Businesses who don’t adopt a digital sales strategy may survive due to their having strong brand recognition, or longevity in their market, but are they living up to their potential? I think not.
My suggestion is do what Steve does, offer free information in whatever industry you’re in, and eventually you will be seen as the expert and never again will you have to sell, because prospects will be asking you, if they can buy your products or services.
So, now that we know the skills we’re looking for, where do we find the employees we can turn into digital sales strategy advocates?
Conventional wisdom would have you believe, that going to a college job fair to find new team members is the ideal method. In my experience, this has not proven very effective.
Perhaps the schools we’ve gone to don’t have many graduates looking to make a career in sales. Perhaps we’re not offering enough in the way of benefits and compensation. It’s most likely a number of reasons.
In my experience, these 5 places are ideal for poaching team members from.
I say ‘poach’ and I mean for it to be a bit tongue and cheek. But typically, these jobs would not be considered long-term careers, and the truth is, we’ve actually had employees come from these jobs and they turned out to be a good fit.
Waiters and waitresses are ideal. They are adept at dealing with the public in a fast-paced environment, and they have to deal with personalities of all shapes and sizes. Not to mention, waiting tables is challenging work and requires ‘hustle’, if you don’t have it, you don’t last very long.
If you’re in retail and make it though Black Friday, and the Christmas Season with your sanity, you can certainly be in sales. Dealing with the public in this capacity is no joke! You’re more than qualified.
Spending 4-5 hours with a person you’ve never met, then having to search the tall grass, ponds, and in sandtraps for his or her golf ball, all with a smile on your face, takes patience and understanding.
The challenge is, do businesses understand the need to adopt a digital sales strategy. I’ll be honest, some just plain refuse to. I had an uncle who owned an envelope company back in the early 2000’s. And, once electronic correspondence became widely adopted the need for his envelopes dropped precipitously and his sales followed suit.
Look at your business holistically and determine if a digital sales strategy makes sense for you, then put the right people in place to build one today, or risk your businesses becoming an ‘Amur Leopard’.