Digital transformation is rewriting the rules of relationships. Business leaders and sales professionals are forced to rethink how to connect with their customers in today’s digital era.
While the rules may be changing, the importance of sales professionals remains unchanged. According to a 2018 survey, each salesperson supports 18 other jobs within the company (on average), a 20% jump from the previous year.
However, the customers’ buying journey is evolving. Information asymmetry used to exist, where salespeople knew more than the customer. By simply providing customers with information, sellers were providing value. Today, customers are swimming in information, but they lack the time to make sense of it all. As the needs of our customers evolve, so must our approach to customer engagement. Here are four shifts you can make to become a modern sales professional.
Mental Shift: Cultivation Over Conversion
Today’s most successful sales professionals are those that don’t see themselves as a high-pressure seller, but instead a high-compassionate advisor. They are helping their customers navigate the buying journey. They aren’t distracted by a quick conversion. Instead, you must be focused on cultivating long-term customer relationships that drive sustainable sales pipeline and business value.
Behavior Shift: Be The Best Co-Driver
To be successful, sellers need to understand what their role is within the sales process. You are no longer the driver. You are the co-driver who is identifying potholes and sharp turns up ahead. Sellers need to think about how they add value at every touch point. You can’t simply repeat your message every time. You must strategically sequence your outreach. It might start with sharing an article, then a whitepaper on industry trends, and then commenting on a customer’s LinkedIn post. With each touch, you’re reaffirming to the customer that you are a trusted resource.
Technology Shift: Embrace Digital Tools
As sellers scale the previously mentioned “behavior shift” across a wide set of customers, it becomes problematic unless you are using digital tools like customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM tools play an important role in personalizing outreach, metricizing success rates, measuring the pipeline and reminding you to take follow-up actions. Thanks to digital transformation there are a plethora of free and freemium CRM solutions widely available including HubSpot, Zoho, Insightly and Base, to name a few.
Network Shift: Build Your SSI
Eighty percent of business to business leads generated on social media come from LinkedIn. Today, there are nearly 600 million users globally. Despite your relationship with technology, your customers are most likely searching for you on LinkedIn the moment you reach out. Does your current LinkedIn profile accurately represent you? Like any network (digital or physical), you need to be a trusted resource to become a person of influence, and that starts with painting a clear picture of who you are. Next time you’re on LinkedIn, change the URL to linkedin.com/sales/ssi to see your social selling index score and how it compares to others in your industry.
Like any shift, success is iterative. Start by building new daily habits that support your sales transformation process.