Is Selling Harder in a Digital World?
The world is becoming increasingly digital, and as a result, almost every aspect of the businesses has changed dramatically, including the sales process. From how we meet people, build rapport and relationships, to identifying sales opportunities and delivering services.
The Gartner Future of Sales 2025 report predicts that 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will be through digital channels by 2025. Therefore, sales leaders must accept that the world of sales has changed forever, not just during a world in lockdown. This means that the role of the seller and sales management will also need to change.
Understanding the digital tools and technologies available as a sales professional is essential. Not only for successfully leveraging online presence. But to consistently reach, engage, and convert prospects into customers.
Salespeople have a wealth of information, and it is up to them to use it. The world of digital sales or social selling should be more straightforward in many ways. This blog discusses what it is like to sell in a digital world, the impact of using technology in sales, and how technology can increase a salesperson’s productivity.
Selling in a Digital World
We hear time and time again from both salespeople and management that selling is more challenging in the new digital world. They say that “it is harder to sell because clients have access to too much information”. But this is a mindset that results in missed opportunities in business.
Based on the above feedback, we decided to conduct a LinkedIn poll to gain insight from our network. Please see the results below. We were pleasantly surprised by the findings. It has shown that there are individuals who are embracing and getting results with digital sales technologies.
Many sales professionals have been selling online for many years. They realised that using a social sales approach throughout the organisational disciplines works. Especially on platforms such as LinkedIn. Did you know that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level executives are influenced by social media when making purchasing decisions? And that leaders in social sales attract 45% more sales than their peers and are 51% more likely to reach their quotas?
It is true that clients now have access to more information and they qualify what and how they want to buy before you even have a conversation. But if salespeople learn to really listen online, they too have more information to work with. Therefore, salespeople’s activity and conversations in this digital world should be more qualified and provide a higher conversion.
And remember, only 1 in 3 buyers want to talk to a salesperson. So, what are you doing to stand out online and allow your buyers to go on their own journey? We need to be present, engage, build relationships and add real value if we want inbound leads to hit our inbox. But most businesses are doing the opposite.
We also see organisations focusing only on the salespeople. But getting the business leaders and other disciplines involved makes a real difference. If you want real ROI (return on investment) in digital selling, you need to embark on full business transformation with social selling and your customer relationships at the forefront.
The Impact of Using Sales Technology
Sales professionals with a desire and commitment to embrace sales technology will be the most successful. Consider how you can use technology to allow your sales team to give consumers what they want and when they want it. Instead of focusing on your lead generation’s automation, focus on understanding your business, its clients, and their buying cycles. Most of them don’t want to speak to your salespeople until they’ve almost made their decision.
By using digital platforms, salespeople now have access to more information than ever before. This information is an advantage for salespeople if used in the correct way. The platforms include social media platforms, AI technologies and digital systems. These together will make for a more efficient and productive salesforce.
We touched on actively listening to prospects and clients online, but will go into more depth here. By using digital platforms, salespeople can determine what the prospects care about from a company-wide and personal perspective. Finding out this information is great when trying to identify a potential motivation to make a buying decision. But we can also find out more on:
- Financial Results
- The Leadership Team
- Contact Information
- Recent News/PR
- Contract Wins
- Business Structure Changes
- Products & Services
Another advantage of using social selling and technologies is that many other sales professionals won’t be. Using these platforms scares many and they are stuck doing things “the good old way”. This being said, salespeople using digital technology well, should have less competition.
Are You Set for Digital Success?
From working with sales leaders in startups through to Fortune 500 organisations, we understand that there are a few common themes regarding how successful (or not) businesses are in digital selling.
Here are 3 top tips for any sales leader reading this article:
1. Get Clear on Sales Competencies
Too often salespeople are pushed into roles they are not suited for, without any development or company culture supporting them. Do you know who is in your team? Do you understand their current competencies and where they need to develop? Are you realistic when comparing competency with quota? Do you have predictive validation on success so you understand your ROI?
2. No Man is an Island!
Stop relying only on your salespeople for digital sales success. For any business to do well in digital selling, it takes more than a few salespeople pushing out some messages or completing a 1-day LinkedIn training course. It may help to make a start, but it won’t provide world domination. If you want real results, you need to have a top-down approach. Everyone needs to be on board with growing the digital presence, understanding its importance, and the role in which they can partake.
3. Measure Performance
Some business leaders that have tried digital and social selling strategies give up far too early. We often hear “it doesn’t work” or “it’s not for us” after a lack of results before the conversation. This stuff takes time, and it requires a very clear strategy and KPI’s that can be measured and allow for change. Setting expectations is one thing but how we meet our objectives is another.
Businesses and salespeople can have the mindset of being at a disadvantage with digital selling and use it as an excuse. Or, they can see it as an advantage. Through digital research, you will discover what the company motivations are. More importantly, you’ll uncover who the people are within the company, and embark on real human (H2H) selling.
After reading this, do you believe that selling is more complicated in a digital world?
If your answer was yes at the start of this blog, I hope you have changed your mind. Please do go out there and use this to your advantage and feel the results for yourself.