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The Need to Be Digitally Savvy in Sales

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The world has gone digital.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have seen so many things change. Churches, which we were once told could never go online, are now hosting all services online. NHS patients are seen online. Selling once had to be done face-to-face and now there are no face-to-face meetings.

All the old maxims have changed because of COVID-19; even birthday parties are now held remotely via Zoom.

How is the coronavirus outbreak impacting sales and marketing?

Conferences and events

If you were expecting to do your demand generation in March, April and May 2020, I assume you have already worked out that this demand generation season has gone. The expectation seems largely that conferences will be pushed into the Autumn season, playing catch-up in September, October and December. However, this article talks about large-scale events not being able to be run until the same time in 2021, based on the view that a vaccine will need to be rolled out to at least 60% of the population before that point.

Of course, like so many things, there is the option to move conferences online and I am looking forward to seeing how this could work with hundreds of people. I am sure the technology is there; it may just take us a little while to get used to it.

But then - if we do get used to it - will we ever go back? Surely sitting at home and being educated is arguably better than flying across the world and wasting expense and carbon emissions? If we can do it at home, we may have a better quality of life for ourselves and the planet.  

So, what can you do? If the concept of live events is no more (for this year at least), should you be moving this budget into something else?

Advertising

We have seen report after report that ad spend is collapsing, with the stalwart of the marketing industry, MarketingProfs, explaining in a recent report “engagement with social media advertising has declined ... because audiences are turning to more organic content than paid.”

Researchers found the average global click-through rate (CTR) across the 18 industries examined was down 17.2% in mid-March, compared with the start of the year.

Cold calling

Alternatively, there are some people still getting behind the idea of cold calling, however, this can cause backlash.

In a recent article addressing the tone that is needed during the current climate of anxiety and grief, Mark Schaefer asks ‘how would you sell to somebody at a funeral?

I am not sure you would cold call or sell to somebody in those circumstances, but this is still good food for thought. The same applies to those considering cold sales emails. I have seen many being called out on social media currently for insensitivity, so this can be a dangerous route to take…

So how can you sell and market in a coronavirus world?

Feedback from senior leaders across the global all points towards social selling. Social selling will empower you with the digital skills you need to approach sales with B2B or B2C customers online appropriately and sensitively – during the current circumstances and beyond.

Providing you with tips and techniques to engage with decision-makers and change-makers, and ultimately 'hack' the buying process, social selling focuses on building your authority and influence as a sales professional on social media, so you can then build the platform to be able to reach customers early enough in their decision-making process to engage much quicker than through traditional methods.

In my book, Social Selling, I take the reader through every stage of what they need to do to become a successful social seller.

The book is NOT about me and my journey or about personal branding but designed to be a workbook for any salesperson to work through, to empower and help them on their journeys to digital. You can find out more here.