How to have improve your sales results?
The world is changing rapidly. Technology changed, consumer habits changed, and the way sales are being made must also change. Do you want to know what changed and why the sales teams are having difficulty being as effective as they were before? Then this blog is for you.
Consumer Habits Changed
Did you know that statistics indicate that a consumer does NOT communicate with a sales representative until 70% of his decision is made (Nielsen). This is the most radical change that consumers have made. Why? because before the internet, sellers could influence clients from the very beginning of the decision. Back then, if we had to solve a need and look for a product or service to solve it, all we had to do was to talk to a sales representative. He'd inform us about our options and had an major influence on our buying decision making.
Nowadays, people don't talk to a sales rep anymore to ask them how, when, how much and where to buy something. Not so long ago, if we had doubts about a service or product, or we wondered if there were other options with which we could solve our problem, the only source of information we had was looking for a sales rep. What we do today is search on the Internet:
- Who can solve my problem?
- How much is this product or service?
- Is it a good product?
- Which problems may I face when buying it/using it?
- What do other people who have bought it have to say about it?
All this research is no longer done by asking sales rep. We are doing it online. It's always easier to ask Google than to go to a store, find a sales rep and ask him about our problem (hoping to be lucky enough to find an honest sales rep who would actually try to help us and not just close a sale). Remember those sales reps who were only interested in closing a deal "no matter what"? We distrust of this kind of sales reps.
That's why we now we avoid getting something sold to us, we like to buy. Nowadays, when we finally go to a store, it's no longer to learn more about the product, rather, we go to see if they have special offers, products in stock, different payment methods and the such. We no longer go to learn more about the product. We already did this learning process online.
Have you bought a car lately? When you arrived to the car agency, you probably didn't see which cars they had on display. You already knew which car you wanted to buy and probably even knew more about the car itself than the sales rep did. You only went to that agency because it was nearby and the sale will be closed if you have some chemistry with the sales rep, if he gives you a good service. If a problem takes place and you aren't treated properly or the sales rep becomes very pushy, you'll most likely go to a different agency and thus, give your money to this them.
Based on this, we can learn 3 principles:
- Sales teams don't have such a big influence on clients as they did before
- Buyers look for information and make most of our buying decision online
- Buyers buy from those who they trust
Traditional Media Isn't as Effective Anymore
Not so long ago, if we wanted to be aware of what was happening in the world, our source of information was the mass media. And this mass media economy was based on scarcity: It was very expensive to own a medium and even if you had the money for it, it was (and still is) regulated and provided by the government so not everyone had access to these media, only those were benefited by the government. That's why there were only a few owners. Therefore, advertising so that people became aware of a product was very "easy", companies only needed have many millions of dollars to spend on advertising and everyone became familiar with their product or service.
That media availability scarcity ended with the Internet. We can all now become reporters and broadcast ourselves. Instead of scarcity, we now face too much information and it gets increasingly easier to find it. We no longer wait for the TV news at 8 pm or buy the local newspaper to find the news, local deals or job offers. We just ask Google, whatever I want, whenever I want, from whichever device I want.
Besides, with all the constant and unwanted advertising that traditional media made us put up with, we finally got fed up. We started not watching these TV ads by changing channels or no longer looking at billboards. We started paying for TV services that were ad-free, such as Netflix, since they won't bother us with their intrusive and annoying ads.
2 Principles we learn from this:
- People like receiving information that they want, whenever they want it
- We don't like receiving information we didn't ask for, didn't need, weren't interested in at the moment. We now call this information SPAM.
Reality is telling us that:
- Traditional mass media aren't as effective as they once were and they are still very expensive to hire.
- Sales reps don't have as much influence on buyers as they did before.
So... What do we do now?
Digital marketing has boomed because this new digital media:
- Is where people find the information that interests them most
- Makes our lives easier and faster since it offers the results we're looking for (to buy or just to learn more about something) in a matter of seconds. Thanks Google!
The problem is that we've heard of many different digital tools and we don't know how to use them together in a strategy that would help us find and match these people that are looking for something specific, with the companies that, with their product or service, have the solution that they're looking for. Such a strategy, based on these media, can really help a company increase its sales.
We know a little about social networks, we have heard about paying Google so that our site is ranked at the top of its search results, we've heard about SEO, Facebook email marketing, LinkedIn and other social networks. But how can they help a company increase its sales?
- We know digital media boosts sales
- We don't know how they do it, we've just heard stories
- We wonder which one should we use
These questions are answered with a single strategy that gathers all the necessary tools so that digital media become a real selling tool:
Inbound Marketing is a methodology that helps companies understand how to put all the tools of digital marketing to work together in order to attract people to a website, so that these visitors find the information they need in order to learn more about the company (its products/services).
In a way, it's like listening and being alert in case someone knocks on your company's digital door. Once this methodology attracted visitors, it then educates them on everything that your company does by sending them information of their interest -information they requested. This is how your company starts building a commercial relationship with its customers. Once the prospect or potential client educates himself, solves his doubts, and gets involved, a whole strategy is put to work in order to close the deal.
Let's make an analogy:
- Opening your digital store on the best avenue in the city would be like doing SEO or ranking well before search engines such as Google.
- Making people turn to see your showcase would be like having an excellent website (it will help people "come into your store").
The problem is that usually, once visitors enter your store (knock on your digital door) most companies do nothing! Imagine a store where nobody was there to help customers... Even if your company had an excellent product, if there's no one there to help them, they'll leave!
In the case of the Internet, the first attention that customers need to receive is to find the information that they're looking for. Do you remember that they have a question or need to solve? If they don't find what they are looking for, they'll leave.
This is the true secret of Inbound: SALES. It's an effort to generate digital sales reps who know how to serve these people who bothered to knock on the digital door of your store. An effort must be made in order to make the Marketing and Sales teams, which had been separated for decades, finally come together. They are part of the same team. And all digital marketing strategies must be tools for the company (as a whole) to generate more revenue.
Therefore, marketing and sales teams must be trained again so that they work and "score" together. This is the strength of the strategy and the future of sales. We must change the way we see sales, from the transactional point of view, to a "giving advice" point of view. We must really worry about the customer and really help him. Give him the options he has in an honest way and let him buy whatever he thinks is best, not push a sale on him.