The digital age has changed the face of sales forever. Sales professionals are no longer chained to desks with stacks of cold calls and spreadsheets; now, it’s all about leveraging new mediums to reach bigger markets and create relationships that turn prospects into happy customers.
But knowing how to navigate this modern world of sales can be tricky, especially in a market where you can always expect new things and new players at any moment.
So what can you do to make sure you’re not left behind?
In this article, we’ll look at how to achieve sales success in a market that’s undergoing digital transformation. We’ll cover:
- What’s different in the market
- What you need to gain before selling
- How you can be trustworthy in the eyes of your prospects
- Essential tips when selling in the digital market
What’s so different about selling in today’s market?
The digital era has transformed how we sell and how leaders and business owners perceive the playing field.
Gone are the days of only selling face-to-face.
If a sales team used to rely heavily on persuading prospects in person, selling today means leveraging modern technology to target customers in multiple digital spaces.
Amit Zavery, the VP of Google Cloud, couldn’t have said it any better:
Today, selling anything is easier than ever, with so many digital avenues to reach global consumers. From eCommerce stores and apps to social media channels, selling directly online has become the go-to strategy for companies looking to increase their bottom line.
In addition, social media provides an even more intimate connection between businesses and customers to build trust and keep them coming back for more.
So how do you find the right groove in this market that’s evolving rapidly—regardless of whether you’re a salesperson or a business owner?
It all starts with building this core foundation…
Some things don’t change: Trust is essential to make sales
By forming a meaningful connection with customers, salespeople build trust and demonstrate their commitment to the customer’s needs.
Selling a product or service in the digital age requires understanding the customer on a deeper level by listening to their needs and using that information to create tailored solutions.
By investing in an open dialogue with customers, they can gain valuable insights into current market trends and customer feedback that can be used to further optimize their strategies moving forward.
So how can you gain your customer’s trust without appearing pushy or overly transactional? Here’s how to build rapport and create a positive customer journey.
Listen to their problems genuinely
Listening empowers sales reps to dig deep into the customer’s needs and expectations, demonstrating that you care about what they have to say. By paying close attention to their words, you’ll gain powerful insights that will help you craft a more effective sales pitch.
If sales reps take the extra step to connect emotionally with their customers, they can build a long-term relationship and be that much closer to closing the sale.
Paint them into the picture
One reason people hesitate to interact with sales representatives inside stores is the tendency for some sales reps to oversell. In the digital world of selling, we need to say goodbye to that.
In a LinkedIn article, Christina Chua, the SVP, Product Lead at KGI Asia Singapore Capital Markets, defines overselling or being pushy as this:
In a sales context, being pushy is imposing your will onto the buyer, countering resistance with more force, and using excessive effort to achieve a result. This should not be the way to make a sale or encourage a client to buy from you! Sure, some clients may cave in and make that one purchase from you, but don’t expect them to ever buy from you again.
Instead of overselling—sell your customers a story, an outcome, or a possibility wherein they take center stage. Then, by painting them into the picture, help them see how they can solve their problems with your offer. This way, you’ll come off as more genuine and less transactional.
Know how to highlight yourself against your competition
When it comes to competitors, there are plenty of ways to share what sets your brand apart.
For example, when creating “our brand vs. their brand” posts, ask, “what makes my product or service unique?” Then use your unique selling proposition when creating your content. Don’t forget to address any perceived “cons” of your product or service.
Researching your competitors is crucial as it helps you understand their strengths and weaknesses. In addition, this will help you identify areas where you can differentiate yourself.
Leveraging positive customer reviews is another tactic that adds credibility and authenticity to your marketing efforts.
Finally, remember the power of transparency.
People value honesty, so it’s crucial to spotlight your strengths, as well as address the reasons your customers may hesitate to buy. Being transparent shows your audience that you value their trust and are confident in your offerings.
Invest big in your website and other social channels
Customers often hesitate to purchase products and services, especially when unsure of the quality. That’s why it’s vital to strategically use testimonials and your own official website to break down customer inhibitions. But how?
When qualified leads come through digital channels—whether that be your site or other social media channels, a strong website brand and customer testimonials will relieve doubts and boost the confidence of potential buyers.
Provide value through content marketing
Content marketing is king when it comes to digital marketing and winning over potential customers. It allows your business to provide value and demonstrate your expertise.
When we say digital content, this could include blogs, webinars, or podcasts that provide helpful information on relevant topics; guides, ebooks, or brochures to help them tackle their problems; videos or live Q&As to build relationships.
Thoughtfully produced content will help you further establish your company as a brand that your customers know, like, and trust.
5 tips for making sales in the digital age
1. Embrace technology
You can only compete in the digital age if you’re tech-savvy. With so many digital tools and platforms available, there will always be a tool/software/app to help you make that sale happen. (Just ask any sales rep who’s using a CRM.)
For example, sales automation software helps automate repetitive tasks like lead generation, email outreach, and follow-up reminders to save time and allow sales reps to focus on closing deals.
CRM systems are essential to help track customer information and interactions. This allows for personalized outreach efforts and better service.
And don’t forget AI-powered chatbots. Thanks to AI, chatbots engage potential customers and answer frequently asked questions to free up time for sales reps to focus on complex tasks while providing immediate support.
Tech tools are no longer a “nice to have.” Research confirms that optimizing your sales process will not only free up your time but will also impact your success:
According to a recent finding done with over 7,000 sales professionals, 97% of leaders agree that AI helps give their sales reps more time for selling. In a different study, CRM use increased lead conversion rates by as much as 300%.
2. Use the 80/20 rule to maximize results
If you’re doing business in the digital age, it’s important to prioritize activities that will have the most impact on your sales goals. Focus on activities that will bring in more leads, increase conversions, and build customer relationships.
The Pareto Principle (named after economist Vilfredo Pareto) reinforces this idea, stating that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of a person’s efforts.
For example, let’s say you work in a direct sales role, where your top priority is reaching out to new referrals to set up appointments. Scheduling time in your calendar to make these calls is essential to connecting with customers and making sales. Because of this, you block off 15 hours per week and consistently make your calls as planned. Your results (more appointments and more sales) are a product of your laser focus on prospecting.
When you deal with high-impact tasks first, you can finish more and progress further.
3. Know your customers
Knowing who you want to sell to is one thing; knowing the details is another. Research their age, sex, location, interests, needs, buying behaviors, preferred mode of payment, favorite social platforms, etc. Doing this helps salespeople interact smarter with prospects.
In the digital market, all sorts of people are online. But if you want to reach the right kind of people and not waste so much money on, let’s say, advertising, you need to know your ideal customer in detail. To do this, use a basic buyer persona template to map things out.
4. Use data when making decisions
Being data-driven is a key factor in sales performance in the digital age. With access to the right data, salespeople can track customer behaviors and preferences, measure the impact of their current sales strategies, gain insights into customer needs, and identify areas where they could be more effective.
By leveraging data-driven insights, they can make informed decisions that will optimize their sales process and help them reach their goals faster. Data-driven approaches also provide valuable feedback that can be used to improve strategy over time and continue to meet customer needs.
5. Be a generalist
Today, when you sell something online, you don’t just sell.
While most salespeople in sales teams focus only on selling to the customers, entrepreneurs have many other concerns aside from selling.
You’ll have to do (or hire out) many marketing activities: designing ads, crafting compelling copy, and managing your website, to name a few.
Being a generalist allows salespeople to drive a lot of key business tasks and adapt as needed.
Efficiency and trustworthiness breed sales success
If you want to succeed in selling anything in the digital age—whether you’re a sales rep, an eCommerce site owner, or a digital service provider—you need to strive for two things: efficiency and a trustworthy image.
By applying these tips, you’ll be on your way to sales success in the digital age.
Technology is your friend and should be embraced, not feared—use it to your advantage.
And remember, always put yourself in your customer’s shoes: What do they want and need? How can you provide them with the best possible experience?
Focus on your customer, and you’ll be selling in no time.