In today’s Web-driven world, very few salespeople spend the bulk of their time actually in front customers anymore. Instead, they generally engage with buyers through virtual mediums — conference calls, email, social media, blogs, webinars, and myriad other online channels.
Sure, some sales folks still play the occasional round of golf with a prospective client, or meet with them in-person during the latter stages of the sales process. But in most cases, virtual is the new sales reality.
Yet, interestingly, many businesses haven’t proactively adapted their strategy to this evolution.
In fact, one recent study revealed that many sales teams remain ill prepared to sell in Web-driven environments — either because they haven’t been trained to do so, or they lack the tools (see: content and technology) to deliver the right messaging to the right audience through the right online channel.
That’s a problem, of course, because unpreparedness or tactical confusion often translates to poor execution. In other words, rather than delivering the right messaging to the right audience through the right online channel, untrained salespeople often resort to the offline sales tactics they know best. And as we all know by now, those tactics rarely yield positive results in the virtual world.
So, what should you be doing to ensure your sales team communicates the right messages to the right prospects through the right online channels? Here are three simple tips:
- Equip them with the right tools and technology
- Content marketing tools aren’t just for marketers. It’s also important for salespeople to understand how leads evolved into sales opportunities, as well as which content formats and subjects buyers have shown the most interest in.
- Provide coaching and insight
- Coach on how, when, and why to deliver content. Having the right technology is one thing, but incentivizing and encouraging your sales team to actually use it is another. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your salespeople will automatically adopt the technology you invest in. If they don’t immediately see the value of those tools, they’ll likely ignore them.
- Empower salespeople with the right messaging
- It’s not that marketers should be doing sales’ job for them, but the two functions should view their relationship as a collaborative one. The more marketing helps sales understand which messaging resonates best with a particular prospect, the better the salesperson’s chances will be of pushing through the obstacles that kill deals before they get off the ground.
Ultimately, keeping sales on message boils down to having the right combination of tools, strategy, and knowledge, and assembling those components into a holistic approach that encourages smarter selling.
The virtual world can be an unforgiving place if your sales messaging misses the mark. So, why wouldn’t you do everything you can to ensure your hard-earned leads don’t suddenly disappear into the abyss?