Vine Blog: Digitalisaatio
The sales technology solutions and their fast development can frighten even the bravest of us sales people. I feel like us sellers blasting through in the digital jungle are in a lucky position, because different technological solutions back us up in every situation. The technology doesn’t do sales for anyone but definitely helps us to reach better results.
Threat or opportunity?
Technology keeps developing in a wild speed and it has affected the sales work a lot. You probably have seen a lot of headlines like: ”Technology takes our jobs”, “These professions are in danger to disappear” or “No occupation is safe from robotism”. It’s good to keep in mind that technology will not delete the sales work, it will just change it. Decreasing number of face-to-face encounters has made us value genuine encounters more, day by day.
”This is how we have always done and this is what we will be doing in the future”-attitude will not be working in the future, if you want to keep up with the others. Now is the time to welcome all new ideas and be brave to try new things.
Like with everything else new and frightening, the thing is to be open and brave. Instead of avoiding new technological solutions you should grab technology’s hand and see its possibilities in developing sales work also. With the help of technology you can support the sales process from prospecting to customer relationship management.
How to find THE right one?
Competition has increased regardless from the field of work along with globalisation. Standing out is even more difficult and this way also finding new customers and building long lasting relationships. There are many options but where to find the potential matches? Staying home waiting for the right one to knock on the door isn’t enough. There are different prospecting and lead producting tools on the markets for sales organisations.
Technology has made the finding potential customers way easier. Phone books and cold calling are history. Now the phone book has changed into different prospecting tools that allow you to limit your search with different filters. Tinder users know the concept but instead of dating partners it’s the search for potential clients.
Do you believe in inbound marketing? Define your target group, create interesting quality content and add marketing automation to this mix. Boom! The odds of finding the right one just got a lot higher.
Marketing automation makes the specific targeting and timing of marketing communication possible. Automation helps to identify, nurture and reach the customers at the right time. Warm leads end up straight to sales peoples gentle hands.
When contacting the lead, it’s not a blind date. The sales person knows exactly who he is calling and the person on the other side of the phone knows where is the call coming from and what it is about. The basis for a beautiful, long term relationship is pretty good right here.
Did you find marketing automation interesting? Download our guidebook to marketing automation here:
Not enough capacity?
I had a conversation with a person who has worked in sales for over than ten years. This sales professional gave me advices about working in sales: ”At some point you just need to accept that you can’t remember every person and encounter”.
A seller does dozens of calls and encounters dozens of people every week. The fact is that a person can’t remember all of these like a robot. Whether you are a top seller or not, at some point the capacity of your memory will come to its limit. This is where technology steps up and helps.
Different systems designed for reporting and measuring, are the most important tools of a company that does active selling. Reporting, calendar, indicators – all in the same system and in realtime. There is more time left on creating quality meetings and building customer relationships.
Social selling, worth it or not?
One efficient tool of digital sales is social selling. It’s not necessarily a tool but this very efficient way of selling has born as a result of technology and the change of customers buying process.
Social selling is constant networking and presence. This very much praised new way of selling is based on building relationships and trust via different social media channels. At its best social selling brings added value to the customer and this way boosts up the sales. In the end people always buy from people and Social Selling is a great way to bring humanity to sales.
How do we continue from here?
It’s impossible to list all the technological tools that support sales. So I didn’t do that. But it is clear that there is a tool and ways to improve procedure for every company doing sales. Finding a right tool can possibly awaken similar feelings as a kind in a candy store. Or on the contrary it can feel troublesome with all the options out there. I highly recommend this first attitude here, because finding the right systems to support sales can improve the performance of the whole sales organisation and this way take the company to a new level.
Buying decision is very much based on information found online, before even meeting the sales person. Systems like marketing automation make it possible to be there for the customer in the beginning of his buying process. If you aren’t there you are unfortunately out of the competition.
John Wanamaker, known as a “Pioneer Of Marketing” once said that, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half”. Situation has been like this even before digitalisation. Today the marketing results can be measured very accurately.
Do you know if your marketing budget is going to waste in some channel? How much did the campaign bring in profit? How do you measure your marketing? What is the ROI of your marketing?
Are the euros going to waste?
Adwords is a good example of advertising that is often done very poorly. Google Adwords is a place where you can waste plenty of euros from your marketing budget. Wasting the budget on unrelevant clicks have been done way too easy and you might end up using way too much money on Adwords. Are you getting conversion from your Adwords adverts and how much is the price of this conversion?
If your Adword's click percentage is less than 3%, you should make a change. This means that your adverts are not relevant to the people who see them. What is the adverts click percentage on your websites? If it is under 10%, you need a change here too.
Google Adwords is a channel where you can waste plenty of euros from your marketing budget.
Depending on the industry, product or service, target group an so on, some marketing channels work better than others. The problem is that you can’t know what works without trying. So try different channels to know what works the best for your company. But take care that you are not wasting your budjet. If for example your Facebook adds don’t bring any results, Instagram might be better for you.
Goals for marketing
It’s important to find the marketing goals from the business goals and the sales and marketing goals should be hand in hand. Goals can be:
- Adding sales
- Get X-% market share
- Get more inbound leads
- Build up brandvalue
Without clear goals marketing might become a group of tactical actions which aren’t measured in any way. What are your marketing goals?
Indicators and tools
My TOP3 tools for measuring marketing are Google Analytics, marketing automation and questionnaire surveys. All three help me measure the previously mentioned goals.
Google Analytics is full of interesting data – Before digging up everything from there think about what you want to know. GA can help you measure website conversion. And without inquiries you can’t measure how many of your target group knows you.
Marketing automation helps you to follow the number of leads and customers buying trail from a lead to customer. This way you stay on top of the leads and deals that have born as a result of marketing’s actions. It’s also interesting to understand what kind of trail leads to successful customer relationship. Lomakkeen alareuna
Digitalisation has brought us so many opportunities to measure the results of marketing, that Wanamaker’s problem shouldn’t be accurate anymore. Before measuring, think about what is your goal? Then choose your tools that will help you to measure these actions. Great tools for measuring marketing’s results are:
- Google Analytics
- Marketing automation
- Questionnaire surveys
Customers buying process has changed along digitalisation, that is clear. This has forced the selling process to change too. In this blog text we cover the biggest challenges that us sales people encounter in the digital world. But don’t worry seller, obstacles are meant for crossing!
1. PRODUCING VALUE
There is still a lot of companys that do sales and marketing with the “product first”- attitude. “Me and my product”- thinking just doesn’t work anymore. Competition in the markets is harsh and standing out from the competitors with the features of the product is very hard. Sales persons need to sell the product or service to the customer by the value not by the features. To do this seller needs to recognize the customers real need. There needs to be a solution to this need and this needs to be presented to the customer by bringing out the benefits and value that customer will gain by using your service.
2. EXPERTISE SELLING
Everyone has an access to the sea of information online and it feels like it’s fluding out from every channel. When facing a problem or need the customer can write a few words on Google and in a fraction of a second find thousands of solutions in front of his eyes. You could say customers are experts of many topics themselves. When selling your solution, you need to offer something that the customer can’t get online. You don’t get very far with a basic knowledge of your own product, today’s sales persons need to be an expert who also knows about the competitors solution. It’s important to remember that in the end also B2B sales is always people-to-people selling.
3. RECOGNIZING THE TARGET GROUP
Competition is harsh in most lines of business. In spite of this, not every one is your customer. These days it is a waste of resources to not to target your marketing. It’s essential to recognize your own target group, but not necessarily easy. Who is the customer you can bring most value to? Keep that is mind when doing sales.
4. GETTING IN TOUCH WITH THE LEADS
When a good prospect is in the hands seller often ends up in the situation that it’s impossible to get the hold on him by phone or email. In a digital world you could imagine that this would not be a problem. Vise versa, accessibility is more difficult than ever before, because people question the answering to unknown numbers. In most cases the getting in touch with the lead is a long term project and sales person has to use multiple different channels to contact the lead.
5. CREATING A QUALITY ENCOUNTER
In a digital world where face-to-face meetings are decreasing day by day, people grave for genuine encounters. After all the work of getting the meeting, sales person has to put effort on making the meeting a quality one. A quality meeting doesn’t necessarily mean that it ends up on a deal, even though this is always the ideal goal. Quality meeting means good atmosphere. Identifying and understanding different people types and modifying your own behaviour to these helps with creating a good atmosphere.
6. IDENTIFYING A WARM PROSPECT
Do you know when the prospect has proceeded to a next level of buying process, when is he researching different service providers? Do you recognize customers who are ready to buy? When over 70% of decisions are made based on the information online, hidden from the sales person, it’s important to take care that all the active prospects are been noticed. This is where marketing automation steps up and helps!
7. DIVERSE KNOWHOW
Today’s sellers need to be more than product presenter. Sales people have multiple roles; expert, brand ambassador, partner, customer service manager and the list goes on. By diverse knowhow we don’t mean a sales person needs to be a robot who knows everything about everything. No not at all. But to manage and succeed in the digital jungle you need to have a diverse palette of knowledge. Don’t get scared tho. When it comes to knowledge and expertise the key factor is your own attitude. Anyone can have the diverse knowhow if you just have eagerness to learn new things.
LinkedIn, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and multiple other channels can give you a headache. Seller needs to be where the customers are. Most big companies actively use at least few of these social media channels. This means that a sales person needs to use them too. I must say that the most effective channel for social selling in b2b markets must be LinkedIn. Many sellers are active and grow their network in LinkedIn. Different channels offer you the opportunity to approach the customer from different angles.
9. TECHNOLOGY SKILLS
Sales persons toolbox is pretty full these days. Luckily these tools are very light to carry around because all of these are different apps and softwares. It might feel overwhelming to use all these different systems but the purpose of them is to improve sales and this way decrease the amount of manual work. For example the goal for marketing automation is to produce quality leads that wait for your call on the other side of the phone! Automation produces leads in a steady speed – No more time-consuming prospecting, yeyy! Download Vine’s buyers guide to read more about marketing automations benefits:
10. COLLABORATION WITH MARKETING
Even tho this has been a popular subject for years, it’s sad that in some companies sales and marketing still don’t work together. The collaboration between sales and marketing always means better results. Is your sales getting all the important information from marketing and vice versa?
I’m definitely a diginative. I haven’t lived a day in a world without computers or mobile phones, and I find it very difficult to imagine a time without them. I spend a big part of my days in front of different sized screens. The technologic development has been a base to modern welfare, and with its help it is possible to solve many big problems around the globe. Technology is a part of the unstoppable wave of change that constantly follows life.
Digitalization is often thought about as the fourth industrial revolution. Understandably, there are a lot of threats: what if children no more play outside together but rather only play games on their tablet computers? Current professions will no longer exist. Can you trust your virtual fund to be stable?
Technology is meant to make your life easier. But does it help a little too much? Are we raising our children towards a generation of helpless people that cannot take care of themselves?
It’s good to proportion these fears to the past. The wheel was invented four thousand years before the beginning of time. At the time the invention was a mathematical miracle that revolutionized work. Many of our trivial luxuries are still based on the wheel. Could you imagine a life without it? All people have once been self-sufficient, surely even some of our great-grandparents. Would you be ready to grow the food you eat? Sew your own clothes?
Change and technology have created the base to modern conveniences. The beginning of technological development gave people time to do research, discover and invent better solutions to everyday problems. The more tools we have for development, the faster we progress.
Today’s children no longer need to buy themselves many items that used to be really important. A map and a compass as well as a pen, a notebook and a calendar can all be found in your smartphone. Object have gotten a digital shape. In Finland we live in a society that hands you all you need to live on a silver platter. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t be work to be done: the fulfilment of basic human needs is the premise for innovations that help us use the information around us in a better, more efficient way. With digitalization, when we have all the knowledge in the world accessible to everyone, instead of only doing research we can concentrate to processing and shaping the information.
Reformation and people’s distrust towards it are recurrent phenomena in history and digitalization is easily comparable to, for example, the industrialization. Professions disappear but new ones will form.
Nothing is forever except change.
Vine had an honor to be a partner in Sales Morning 2017 event at Finlandia Hall in 14th March 2017. There was over 200 guests and Sales Morning was all about the future and efficiency of B2B sales. We had plenty of new ideas and we want to share ideas of Markus Ejenäs (CEO in ProSales institute) who's speech ”Are You Ready? How do you prepare the sales and marketing organization for digital transformation?” inspired us a lot. Here are 4 steps how you can prepare your B2B marketing and sales for digitalization:
- Understand and map the customer journey. Customer buying process has changed due to digitalization. Even 70% of buying decision is made already before meeting a sales representative based on the information found online. Help your potential customer already in the beginning of the journey and offer them interesting content.
- Maximize digital support for your sales process. You can make your sales process more efficient with for example automated communications, lead scoring and many other activities. Support your sales with digital services like marketing automation.
- Be agile and data-driven. We have lots of data of which we can use in decision making. Use data and make changes in your business based on data. "They win who know the market and their customers."
- Build digital capabilities. Now it's at least time to take advantage of the new possibilities digitalization brings. Use for example social media and automation in your sales. Take care of your own knowledge.
Do you already know how automation helps sales? If you have any questions, download our guide to marketing automation (in Finnish) and learn the basics.