The sales environment is constantly adapting. We find ourselves now selling more via digital channels and tools; you need to develop techniques, analyse, and review your sales process and strategy to understand your future clients' buying behaviour, communication styles, and personalities.
Jamie Martin, an award-winning sales professional, shares his insights on the integral areas to focus on when selling in the modern sales environment.
Identifying Your Future Clients
Before contacting a prospect – take the time initially to develop a sales strategy and process to make your sales activities more efficient and effective.
Identify your Ideal Client Profile (ICP); the decision-maker predicted to buy your service or product. These new prospects could be your clients' clients, the competitors of your clients, etc. The focus here should be to qualify or disqualify a candidate before approaching them; social media profiles or sales enablement AI platform tools can assist you with this.
Identify the behaviours of your prospects, e.g., what social media channels they use and how they engage with them. You can identify more about their personality and communication styles by how they correspond to their network. The more you find out about your prospects early on within the sales process, the easier they will be to sell too.
After identifying some key prospects to approach, research and due diligence are vital skills that will help with the following steps to develop a relationship with these decision-makers during the buying process.
There are various channels (especially in a modern environment) for contacting a prospect, e.g., social media (including groups), telephone, text, email, post, video conference, WhatsApp, Slack, website enquiries, networking events, referrals, podcasts, and so on. Adopting automation services can help save time, but is this really a personalised approach for your target prospects?
A consistent approach should be applied in the sales process with several personalised 'touch points', i.e., interaction with the prospect/decision makers' learning and communication styles during the client buying process.
When selling to some companies, there are several decision-makers. Each of these has a different personality, communication style, and requirements for your service/product.
Are you aware of your decision makers' interests? What groups they are a part of on LinkedIn or Facebook? In the modern sales environment, decision-makers will experience many pitches from your competition and 'noise' from digital channels like social media, marketing, and promotions when they look to buy.
Some types of decision-makers are below:
The person who starts the buying process
The check writer
The final decision on the purchase or your service/product
The end-user (could be a decision-maker or an employee)
How to Sell More Effectively To Each Type of Decision-Maker?
1. The Person Who Starts the Buying Process
They are likely to research services/products thoroughly via digital channels, e.g., websites, social media, or referrals, before presenting a service or product to other decision-makers within the business.
Have you connected with these decision-makers on social media channels?
Do you engage with their content?
Build rapport with these types of decision-makers; they will buy from people they like.
2. The Check Writer
These decision-makers would be looking for formal written communication (email, brochure, proposal) with all the facts and figures to be accurate – any error in detail will impact their buying decision.
3. The Final Decision on the Purchase or Your Service/Product
These decision-makers will react to their gut emotions. They would need to be convinced visually (video marketing, Google reviews, LinkedIn recommendations, etc.) during the buying process by you/other decision-makers. Likely focused on the outcome your service/product offers, these decision-makers are logical buyers. An engaging case study would be an ideal way to demonstrate a return on investment and close the deal with these decision-makers.
4. The End-User (Could be a Decision-Maker or an Employee)
Likely to explore buying a service or product with several of your competitors. These decision-makers will want to know all the benefits and features, including the service/product's life cycle, implementation, ease of use, etc. Video testimonials or client feedback (highlighted on a website/in a brochure) are good resources to win these end-users to buy from you.
Remember – in the modern sales environment, some decision-makers might prefer to communicate via social media' private message', WhatsApp, text, video conference, etc. Advice – Ask the decision-maker how they would like to communicate with you!
Cold calling is becoming a sales activity of the past. The renowned sales term: Know, Like, and Trust (KLT), as well as referrals, is more important now for building rapport and long-lasting relationships.
A prospect is likely to engage with you through the buying process if you take the time to listen and care about their values and interests. A strong rapport built can make the negotiation and closing stages easier.
To build rapport in a modern sales environment – make a connection with your prospect by getting to know them personally. Engage with them on social media. Actively listen to how they communicate with you (their body language, tone of voice, etc.).
If you identify a connection/interest in common with your prospect, you are more likely to be remembered during the buying process.
Selling Your Service or Product
Before the advancement of the digital world, the selling activity included approaching prospects in volume. During the buying process, a smaller number of candidates would qualify and be converted into clients. Yes, this approach had 'wins', but how many hours, costs, resources were required?
In the modern sales environment, various digital channels (social media, automated emails, articles, videos, landing pages, etc.) can be utilised for lead generation and your sales funnel. These tools should be personalised and adapted to the emotions and buying behaviours of your target prospects.
How does your service or product significantly impact their business in current markets? Your business should focus on their personality, communication style and needs to identify new prospects and qualify them swiftly and efficiently. Social media profiles (such as LinkedIn) can provide insights into some of these areas.
In the modern sales environment, we can utilise various contemporary touchpoints to contact our prospects during the buying and follow-up process, i.e., newsletters, video messages, and social media.
Using Social Media for Selling
There are various social media channels: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Social media is for information sharing – what are you an expert in? How will your service or product benefit prospects and your clients? If you are not producing constant social media marketing posts, how will your prospects know who you are and what you are selling?
In one of my surveys, '83% of Sales Professionals feel they require support in using social media for building business relationships' (Correct Careers Coaching, 2019).
If you do not embrace social media, you are missing out on building relationships with future clients, i.e., LinkedIn has registered over 30 million companies. Utilise social media to stay visible, promote your brand, engage with new prospects, etc.
Personalities will thrive when selling in the modern sales environment!
Jamie Martin BSc (Hons), PGCert (Managing Director & Founder of Correct Careers Coaching) is an award-winning (6x) sales professional, Modern Sales Coach & Trainer, cocreator of a B2B sales e-Learning course, as well as an author, podcaster, and speaker. Jamie is passionate about sales strategy, social media, and sales training to help businesses improve their revenue and processes. He focuses on selling to different personalities!
Jamie helps streamline business sales strategy - enhancing a strategic approach to selling, resources, developing employees' sales skills, ICT/materials utilised during the sales process, etc.
Jamie delivers modern sales training (full sales cycle), including social media marketing and prospecting, lead generation, new business conversion, client relationship management, negotiation, as well as his own pioneering programme - Sales Psychology.