Technology is constantly advancing and with technological advancement comes change. If you want your business to stay competitive, then you must be prepared to embrace technological changes.
You may think that you understand the current sales market, however, the sales game is changing, and these changes are coming about thanks to technology.
If you want to achieve sales success it is no longer about selling, but about helping.
The internet has changed the sales landscape
Thanks to the internet, there has been a power shift in the sales process. There is a vast amount of information now available online and if people want to find out the answer to a question, then they are very likely to go online to find it. The information is often out there and search engines like Google make it easy for people to find.
This has empowered consumers and taken the power away from the sales person, as they are no longer the oracle of knowledge they were in past.
Intrusive sales tactics do not work effectively in 2018 and they will not work effectively in the future.
The good news is that a change in approach can lead to your business achieving impressive sales, through a policy of help don’t sell. At first this approach may seem counter-intuitive, but this approach can transform the way your business sells in a positive way.
Putting in place a structured process around helping your sales targets can lead to improved sales figures. The process of helping first is known as inbound sales.
Achieve business growth with inbound sales strategy
In order for your business to grow you need to sell. Selling appears a simple process, but it is not always easy to achieve desired sales and meet ambitious targets.
In addition, your ability to sell can be hampered by failing to appreciate the way technology and the internet has changed the way you need to approach selling.
Taking a ‘help, don’t sell’ approach means that the power of the sales process will be shifted back into the hands of the sales person.
For this process to be successful it is vitally important to make sure that you are helping the right people and offering them advice which is useful to them and their situation. Doing this requires using marketing intelligence.
The power of marketing intelligence
When someone visits your website and visits particular pages it is important to track how that user is interacting with your website.
By gathering this information, you will begin to gain an understanding of that users’ interests, aims and aspirations. For example, did they read a blog about ‘how to do x’ or download a guide about y.
This information is valuable and allows you to pick up the phone with knowledge about that person’s goals and concerns.
Before picking up the phone make sure to research that person and find out everything you can about them, using media platforms such as LinkedIn and any details on their company website.
Gathering this information means that before you pick up the phone you already know what you are going to do to help them.
The first phone call should not involve you offering that person a product or service. You are calling to help at this stage, not sell.
Approach the call with the information you know about that person. Say something like: ‘I saw you downloaded our guide on x and I thought you might be interested in this case study about a current client of ours who faced a similar problem’.
To do this, your company must have invested time in creating helpful content which is highly relevant to your industry. If you are not currently creating content, then this needs to change quickly. Make the most of your employees and incentivise them to write content, which can contribute to your sales process.
Create a blog/insights section on your company’s website and regularly publish articles that are based on key challenges regularly faced in your industry.
By providing answers to problems people are having, you will gain visitors to your website and if they find your content useful it could even lead to them contacting you for further information.
Refresh the sales process
Inbound sales brings a refreshing approach to sales from the consumers point of view.
Approaching the call with the intention to help means you are no longer that pushy sales person cold calling someone. You will be calling that person to help them, and this means that the call benefits the receiver, not just the sales person.
Think, how would you respond to a phone call where someone wanted to help you? The likelihood is that you would be far more receptive to talking to that person.
Adopting this sales approach suits human psychology. Believe it or not, we are programmed to help each other, and this means that when someone takes the time to help us we feel more inclined to help them.
This could result in the receiver of your call deciding to choose your product or service to overcome the challenge their business is facing or mention your company’s solution in their next management meeting. And ultimately, this may lead to a sale for your business because you started the relationship by helping, not selling.
Don’t get left behind – change your sales strategy
Remember that the information available to people now is vast and easily accessible. People can improve their own knowledge without the help of sales people.
If you continue to push generic information as part of your sales process, that people can find online themselves, then you will fall down. Especially if your competitors are embracing modern technology and implementing an inbound sales approach.
About the author
This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Tim Butler, founder of Innovation Visual, a digital marketing consultancy specialising in increasing website visibility, lead generation, customer acquisition and developing competitive advantage digitally. Tim is a regular contributor to ByteStart, and you can find more of his insight in;
- The Changing Face of Digital Marketing: What small businesses need to know for 2018
- 9 of the Best & Fastest ways to improve your website results
- Getting started with Google AdWords – A Step by Step guide for small businesses
- How to harness the power of Google for your business
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