Meeting customer expectations is one of the biggest challenges facing sales teams. Look at this chart from Salesforce's State of Sales report:
Empowered with information and technology, your buyers are far more informed than they once were. They are looking for trusted advisors who can help them achieve their goals – not sales reps who want to make a quick sale.
To understand how companies are dealing with customers' autonomy and expectations, Kim Babcock has been interviewing some of the top modern marketers and sales professionals. Here are a few of their tips:
Tip #1: Avoid the cold pitch.
“When you go to a networking party, you don’t stand in the door and say, 'Hey, it’s Tim Hughes, and I can offer you 20% off.' You need to present yourself with something to talk about and build relationships with others."
Tip #2: Use social to research your customers.
"LinkedIn is probably where I spend at least 50% of my day; not just for hunting, but researching, listening, and scanning what is going on with buy prospects and buyers. Did they get funding? Did they buy a company? Are they promoting their annual conference? Are they not sharing anything at all? It is so telling what gets shared."
Tip #3: Now's the time to establish your domain expertise. Superficial information won't cut it.
"Unless you are bringing a buyer new insights, unique info that they cannot get elsewhere, why would they spend an hour of their time to meet with you?
"The successful salesperson of the future needs to be a specialist. A generalist may have broad knowledge, but they are not well-positioned to meet the needs of the modern buyer. I call it: A mile wide and an inch deep. Why would the modern buyer want to meet with you if you cannot bring them a level of expertise and insights, beyond what they can find through their own research?"
Tip #4: If Done Correctly, Curating Content Will Show off Your Expertise and Set You Apart
“Content curators have a powerful way of connecting people with information. Great curation sets the foundation for engagement. If you respect other people in the industry, by sharing and acknowledging their content, you demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, as well as build relationships and influence.
“Curate thoughtfully; add value. And only then will you get consideration for your brand content. If you have this mindset, you have a competitive advantage over those that are just focused on brand amplification and journalism… No one wants to follow the sales rep that shares the company blog post every other day.”
Tip #5: Don't Be Afraid to Show off Your Personality
"As for sharing, it is not only the quantity of content you share, but what and how you share it. It is critical to put the stamp of ‘Carly’ on what I share, adding an insight, a point of view. This is key to help buyers see you as a trusted advisor."
Tip #6: Don't Be a Lazy Social Seller; Fight the Temptation to Automate
"I learn a lot from my customers, and in this case I learned the key to winning hearts is personalization, not automation. And what better medium than content?!"
Tip #7: Training Is a Crucial, Ongoing Process
"Training is the important foundation to help change behavior. You do not want to give a Ferrari to a 16-year-old who doesn’t know how to drive.
"Ongoing support and communication are also key. I have held multiple best practice reinforcement sessions, where we talked about social selling behaviors and best practices. If the team lost momentum, I would remind them ‘remember when you were socially surrounding your buyer and getting more appointments. You said this was amazing, and now you have stopped.’ This helped them think about the value and get back on track."
Tip #8: Strategy Should Govern Your Sales Technology Stack
"Technology is not a strategy; it is an enabler of the strategy. Don’t let the tail wag the dog."
Tip #9: You Don't Need to Connect with Everyone
"I do not see the value in connecting with 5,000 people. You need to think more about quality and relevance in your network."
If you're looking for more great tips about social selling, using content for sales, and adapting to the modern buyer, head over to Sales Reboot Camp. There's something for everyone!
Posted by Mark Bajus