Remember the Nickelodeon cartoon character Cat-Dog? The conjoined species – one a dog, the other a cat – humorously dealt with the unique challenges of their existence. That is how I think of sales and marketing alignment in the modern business environment.
Traditionally known as the cats and dogs of the business world, sales and marketing are no longer two separate entities. The lines are blurring due to the plethora of digital technologies. The most successful sales organizations have blurred the lines on purpose because they understand modern selling techniques require an omni-channel presence and the formula for success is a multi-channel strategy where digital selling has a starring role.
That sounds hard, doesn’t it? And time-consuming. And may require learning new tools. [insert heavy sigh here].
Sales Has Always Been Hard
Prospecting was never easy, there were just fewer options for getting in front of contacts and those options were easier for the salesperson to control.
When Baby Boomers and many Gen Xers started their sales careers, there were only a few ways to get in front of qualified buyers in the B2B world: trade shows, walk-ins, association meetings, and some cold calling. I remember hoping key prospects would actually stop by my trade show booth because if they didn’t, I might not have another opportunity to present my amazing products for another year.
My other alternatives were to get resourceful and find another way. This usually involved spending a lot of time creating an opportunity to “run into them” or nurture their gatekeepers so I would get some insight on how I could get in front of them. That was hard…and time-consuming.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Back in the day, #B2BSales reps only had a few ways to get in front of qualified buyers. This included trade shows, walk-ins, association meetings, and some #ColdCalling. @Susan_Segat says, #ModernSelling techniques changed that.” quote=”Back in the day, #B2BSales reps only had a few ways to get in front of qualified buyers. This included trade shows, walk-ins, association meetings, and some #ColdCalling. @Susan_Segat says, #ModernSelling techniques changed that.”]
How Digital Selling Has Changed Sales
Over the last dozen years, the introduction of technology and social media platforms has given us many more ways to get in front of buyers around the clock. Twenty years ago, Boomers would never have imagined a world where they can meet and qualify prospects or nurture relationships without meeting the contact face-to-face. Millennials can’t imagine a world where they would not build a relationship online first.
While no one claimed prospecting was dead before these digital platforms, in order to achieve modern selling success, your sellers must learn how to effectively connect with buyers on these platforms. You can see how to do it in our virtual sales training.
And the good news is that now we have dozens and dozens of ways to get in front of buyers any time of the day. The bad news is that now we have dozens of ways to get in front of buyers any time of the day which creates a lot of noise that we have to cut through in order to differentiate ourselves.
Your sales team needs you to help them navigate the noisy environment. Lead them to success by building their online prospecting behaviors into your sales playbook. This is the magic of learning how to effectively leverage digital selling.
Essentials of a Modern Sales Playbook
Building a modern sales playbook means understanding how the buying process has changed. As buyers are harder to reach, perform more of their own research, and with more decision-makers involved in the buying process, modern sellers need guidance on how to navigate these obstacles.
Luckily, a sales playbook revolves around four key elements.
1. Create Market Segments
Know who you are trying to reach and create market segments based on common pain points. A segment is a group of contacts that share the same pain points. Once you identify segments, you can deliver the right message to the right contact at the right time.
2. Use an Omni-Channel Approach
Recognize that sales is not one size fits all. Some of your buyers are easy to reach via cold calls (you cold use our tips for creating cold calling scripts) or more traditional prospecting activities and some are not. Your playbook should outline the channels and activities required to reach the contacts in each market segment.
One of my clients realized that his team was spending a lot of time giving free talks to groups that did not have enough of their ideal buyers. He built into their playbook a social selling cadence that was more successful for the segment they were targeting.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”A #ModernSales playbook can help guide #sales teams better on their #SalesProspecting activities. This can boost their overall win rates when trying to reach their ideal buyers. @Susan_Segat #SalesTips #SalesCoaching #DigitalSelling” quote=”A #ModernSales playbook can help guide #sales teams better on their #SalesProspecting activities. This can boost their overall win rates when trying to reach their ideal buyers. @Susan_Segat #SalesTips #SalesCoaching #DigitalSelling”]
3. Leverage New Technology and Resources
Guide your team in adopting a multi-channel strategy for your playbook. The adoption of new processes requires some education of new technologies, a cultural change that could be difficult for some, and the investment in additional resources.
According to the Vengreso report, The State of Digital Selling 2019, only 11% of sales professionals use LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which is the mac daddy LinkedIn product. The report shares how sales professionals and sales leaders can benefit from the functionality and reporting capabilities of the prospecting tool.
4. Ask for Referrals
Build a referral engine into your playbook. Referrals are the holy grail of making the cash register ring for B2B companies. In the State of Digital Selling report mentioned earlier, it was discovered that 55% of the respondents had not asked someone in their LinkedIn network for a referral in three months. Asking for referrals is a leading indicator of the success of a sales person. This one behavior should be a part of your process and built into the playbook.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Asking for referrals on #LinkedIn is the holy grail of making the cash register ring for #B2B companies. It’s a leading indicator of the success of a #sales person. Do you know how to earn #referrals? #SellingWithLinkedIn #DigitalSales” quote=”Asking for referrals on #LinkedIn is the holy grail of making the cash register ring for #B2B companies. It’s a leading indicator of the success of a #sales person. Do you know how to earn #referrals? #SellingWithLinkedIn #DigitalSales”]
Use Modern Selling Techniques
We’re all searching for a magic bullet. Right? MAGIC does not mean instant or easy. And it doesn’t mean MIRACLES. In order for modern sellers to reach the modern buyer, you must implement sales playbooks that use consistency, focus, and follow-through to create results that drive revenue. Integrate these modern selling techniques and a multi-channel strategy into your sales playbook and watch the “magic” happen.
One of the key elements of leveraging social selling is to develop relationships before trying to sell. So many salespeople get this wrong, which is why we all receive so many spammy emails. Learn how to coach your sellers on how to personalize their outreach, develop a relationship, and provide value to prospects before selling them. Read the Vengreso PVC Sales Methodology