Has the selling process changed since Covid-19 turned the working world upside down? The answer is both yes and no.
While the steps of your pipeline haven’t necessarily changed, the process and tools used will need to be adapted and transformed
Considering web traffic is up 30% across industries, research is happening sooner which means prospects have more facts in front of them before they make contact. Consequently, you can’t rely on the figures that previously helped convince prospects in face-to-face interactions.
Instead, the quality of the relationship itself is going to become increasingly pivotal, creating a genuine connection through humour, openness, honesty and positivity - while white papers, blogs and other forms of educational content help to position you well as knowledge leaders and inform prospects about your robust portfolio.
Changes in behaviour mean more time and attention will need to be invested during the early stages of the sales cycle and immediate responses to enquiries will be a major factor in this. If a prospect has researched your products, chances are they have also researched your competitors’ too.
If you leave your reply too long, you run the risk of pushing them to send the same enquiry to a rival who has invested in their content, thought leadership and marketing content.
Prospects are researching earlier in the sales cycle - 93% of B2B buying processes begin with an online search.
Salespeople need to be more analytical and reflective moving forward too, working off data rather than ‘instincts’ or previous experience. Once a prospect is ready for a formal meeting, all the information gathered in that process should be acknowledged in consultations.
In parallel, resellers must do their own research in order to develop the best first impression possible, if they aren’t already. For example, around locations and the connectivity technologies available at each site, or the size of the business to narrow down the applicable remote management or cyber security services they may require.
Not only does this ensure the conversation remains relevant, but structures the discussion and shows that you are truly listening and understanding the prospect’s requirements. If they feel they’re going over old ground, or that the seller isn’t addressing their needs, the meeting isn’t a good use of their time and they will look elsewhere.
Enhancing your online presence is essential
Whether your sales team are fresh-faced or have decades of experience, without face-to-face interactions and the ability to go from door-to-door prospecting, social media and blogging are two of the best ways to reach your prospects.
You are 13x more likely to see positive RoI by blogging regularly
LinkedIn is the defacto platform of choice to attract new customers, but Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are all worth investing in (depending on your target audience and industries).
Even TikTok could be used to attract younger business owners and offers an almost untapped contact pool, as well as a far more creative outlet for ‘out-of-the-box’ messaging.
Regarding your website and blog pages, a strong web presence is reliant on three things; insightful thought leadership that includes statistics, good SEO and a CRM solution that enables you to track engagement.
It’s a given that content needs to be on point, offering readers the information and figures they need to convince them of the benefits of your products. But no one will find your blogs unless you’re considering how search engines rank your copy, so getting those blogs as high up those search rankings is essential.
A strong CRM platform is essential. Not only to track that engagement and ensure accuracy, but to ensure impactful conversations are being had at the right time while nurturing leads through your sales journey.
Leveraging a platform like HubSpot allows you to do just that while providing the figures necessary to assess ROI and optimise the marketing content within campaigns.
Working from home is here to stay
This probably comes as no surprise. In fact, Microsoft, Google and several other high profile tech businesses have already committed to providing the option of permanently working from home. Like many others, this trend will trickle down to smaller enterprises.
Information Technology decision-makers expect permanent remote workers to double to 34.4% of their companies’ workforces in 2021 (Reuters).
With this shift, businesses will need to protect the productivity and security of their homeworkers, opening up a new market which has the potential for billions in sales in connectivity alone. Therefore, value add services such as remote management applications, SaaS products and managed cybersecurity services will become more applicable in more conversations, considering their benefits in the current climate.
However, it’s important not to tag these on towards the end of the discussion. We’ve all been in the situation when buying IT/electronics - the product is decided, you go to the till and the salesperson mentions insurance, extended warranties etc and all you want to do is get out of the shop with your new toy!
Instead, try to mention them throughout the conversation wherever it’s appropriate and remind your prospects of their importance in this remote working world. By the time they are ready to sign, it won’t feel like a last minute add-on that doesn’t provide any extra value. They will be perceived more as essential aspects of the overall service, meaning decision-makers will be more receptive to their inclusion.
The products and services you offer that are beneficial for remote workers are also the ideal subjects for your e-marketing campaigns. After all – if your customers don’t know you offer them, they may look elsewhere. Regular e-shots, blogs and newsletters that explore the importance of these solutions should be on everyone’s to-do list right now.