The advent of the digital age has dramatically altered the B2B sales landscape. Advances in information technology have resulted in the emergence of well-informed buyers, who are no longer dependent on the information provided by the salesperson to make a buying decision.
How can you sell effectively to the highly knowledgeable customer? Well, you need to focus on an important aspect – training your sales people. Let us now see how you can enable your sales folk succeed in the highly competitive Internet era.
Enable people make the best use of social media to engage customers
The proper use of social media goes a long way in enhancing selling efficiencies. A study conducted by A Sales Guy revealed 78.4% of salespersons using social media performed better than those who weren’t using social media. Corinne Sklar, the Chief Marketing Officer of Bluewolf believes social networking platforms are ideal tools to engage buyers.
She suggests organizations need to use social media to personalize the selling process. One of the proven ways to do this is by training sales reps to monitor the “social activities” of prospects and share information tailored to their needs on social platforms. Sklar advises companies to break down departmental silos while engaging with prospects. At the end of the day, providing the required information in a timely manner facilitates sales, and customers seldom care which department is responsible for performing this task.
Coach reps to hold intelligent conversations with customers
The Internet certainly helps prospects get all the information they need. But, it CANNOT engage buyers. This is where the salesperson makes all the difference. And, the first step in engaging customers is interacting effectively with them.
Once you start the conversation, the focus needs to be on addressing the specific needs of the customer. The whitepaper B2B Sales Has Changed – Why Your Training Should, Too advises firms to do away with the “shotgun blast” approach to sales which uses a single pitch for all customer interactions. Sales reps need to be trained to ask the right questions to understand buyer issues and then tailor the sales pitch accordingly, to facilitate effective sales. It is advisable to impart this training in a classroom setting as the ability to converse effectively is a soft skill.
Help your sales folk help customers comprehend their needs better
Many a time, customers don’t fully understand their needs. It is important for sales reps to enable customers identify the root cause of their problems and provide the right solution (and sales gurus call this insight selling). Mike Schultz, in his post What Is Insight Selling?, advises organizations to train their sales reps to be proactive and help prospects see issues they couldn’t.
Schultz believes buyers value reps who provide useful insights into their needs. He states customer loyalty levels can increase threefold when salespeople help them figure out what they require. Schultz believes reps can insight sell by collaborating actively with the customers, asking them difficult questions to get them out of their comfort zones, and showing what they think about their problems is wrong. This helps gain the trust of the buyer and convince him the sales rep is right.
It is important to train your salespeople effectively to succeed in today’s knowledge economy. You need to help your sales reps use social media well. It is necessary to improve their customer conversation skills to facilitate effective selling. You need to see that your sales reps are able to provide insights into buyer problems. Hope you find this post interesting. Do share your views.