A change has been taking place in the world of sales. Just as media and communications have moved online, so too have the most effective ways of developing a sales strategy.
The old sales model required that sales reps be actively involved in every interaction with a prospect. They had to identify each prospect, reach out to them, follow up, and try to build rapport.
The number of leads a sales rep could generate was limited by the number of prospects they could individually connect with. This means hammering through cold calls, stopping by with sales material, attending networking events, etc.
But the problem with this old sales model is that it’s incredibly inefficient. It’s analog. It requires manual intervention for every prospect that you engage with. It also relies on traditional mediums of communication (phone calls, postal mail, tradeshows, and physical storefronts).
The Digital Sales Model
Now we have the digital sales model, where a sales rep has nearly unlimited opportunities in front of them. At the heart of this model is creating and leveraging digital content that serves as the fundamental interaction point for prospects.
In the new digital model, the number of prospects you can reach is determined by how much your content gets shared and searched for. The better the content, the greater the network, the more likely that additional prospects will find you.
This new digital sales and marketing strategy is at the heart of doing business in the era “in-search-of.” It’s a strategy that recognizes the changing way in which people interact with businesses. Your reach is amplified dramatically by using digital channels, along with your sales team becoming better suited to sell to buyers that grew up in the age of the internet.
The digital content you produce becomes your “touchpoint” as you begin to engage with perspective clients. And because it’s digital, it’s a scalable, cost effective, and better suited for today’s purchasing behavior.
The change to a digital strategy adapts the way leads are generated and how your customers move along their purchasing journey. The old sales model required salespeople who were “grinders.” But the new digital sales model is best suited for a salesperson with high emotional intelligence, who is comfortable with educating prospects and can focus on solution selling tactics.
5 Steps to Get Started With Digital Sales
To start leveraging digital sales strategies within your organization, I recommend following the steps below. This is an iterative process that typically takes 6-12 months to start seeing notable results.
Step 1 – Define Your Customer
First, begin with your customer. Who are they? What do they want? What information do they seek? Build a strong buyer persona(s) to understand who you are targeting. If you were a teacher in your industry, who would be your student?
Step 2 – Create Valuable Content
The next step is to create valuable content. You need to provide helpful, informative content to your target persona. Answer their questions before they ask them! This can be done through blog posts, webinars, video series, and more. Pick the mediums that your target audience prefers to consume.
Step 3 – Publish to Public Networks
To truly reach a larger audience, you need to publish your content to platforms with network effects. You need to not only reach your direct audience, but also those who are connected with your direct audience through either existing relationships or visibility/search algorithms. Adding your content to your website, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc., will allow you to benefit from this increased reach.
Step 4 – Capture Leads
It’s important to turn your visibility into sales. One way is to build new prospect lists by identifying leads through tracking tools and analytics reports. But more important, is to include strong calls to action (contact forms, newsletters sign-ups, downloadable resources, follow buttons, etc.) throughout your content.
Step 5 – Become a Consultant
Once you have a lead in your pipeline, it’s time to put on your consulting hat. Leads generated via digital sales strategies often come “in search of” information or a solution. These people found you through the helpful content you’ve produced. They don’t want hard-selling tactics, they want a trusted advisor that can help them continue on their buying journey.