Now that market is over and retailers and their sales teams are back on the selling floors, a question on everyone’s mind concerns ways to sell smarter, more effectively, and more successfully as we all wait for all the pandemic-related challenges to dissipate.
While I suspect none of us know how long that will take or what the retail landscape will look like once that happens, I do know one thing for certain: technology and digital assets—and the ability to understand and use them—are going to separate the winners from the losers in the days ahead.
I base that on the scores of current white papers discussing this and on the fact that they all essentially come to the same conclusion: the pandemic has drastically changed the B2B landscape.
In fact, McKinsey & Co.’s recent white paper is called, “How Covid Has Changed B2B Sales Forever.”
It concludes that, “what started as a crisis response has become the next normal.”
More than 75% of buyers surveyed said they now prefer digital self-service and remote human engagement to in-person sales calls.
Most of the buyers surveyed said they believe the efficacy of digital platforms and assets will grow.
The majority of buyers polled said online and remote selling is as effective as in-person engagement.
Video and live chat have emerged as the predominant channels for interacting and closing sales.
65% of decision-makers polled said remote B2B selling is equal to or more effective than traditional in-person sales calls.
With that in mind, every RSA should be asking two questions:
Am I seeing some or all these trends with my customers?
Am I responding in a manner most appropriate to them?
I am the first to admit that change is hard. It sucks, in fact. But as a smart guy once told me…if you dislike change, you are going to hate extinction.
Hopefully, you are using all these digital assets to your advantage.
One other tool you need in your sales toolbox is something called social selling.
Social selling is a tactic where salespeople use social media to find and engage with new prospects.
Social selling allows the RSA to use social media to engage with existing and prospective customers by answering open-ended questions, answering customer’s specific questions and by sharing content throughout the entire buying process.
Before you blow this off as just another techno-buzz-word, studies show that RSAs who use this technique boost revenue by almost 20%
Sadly, studies also show that some 75% of salespeople don’t utilize social selling because they don’t know-how.
Prior to Covid, most RSAs would rely on a combination of cold-calling, sales demos and lead qualifying, but changing buying traits and habits have demanded a new way to sell, and for forward-thinking RSAs, that has meant integrating social media into the sales bag.
A study called State of B2B Procurement Study by Accenture, determined that more than 90% of B2B buyers conduct some degree of research online before making a business purchase, with 55% conducting online research for at least half of their purchases.
Another study by IDC concluded that social media is what buyers rely on when doing that research.
Specifically, the IDC study determined that:
91% of B2B buyers are now active and involved in social media
84% of senior executives use social media to support purchase decisions
75% of B2B buyers are significantly influenced by social media
A market research group, Aberdeen Group, also released a recent study that looked at the impact of social selling on sales. It concluded that key metrics, including hitting quotas, renewal rates and accurate forecasting all spiked when reps utilized social selling.
The study also determined that RSAs who use social selling find on average 45% more opportunities. In addition, social selling helps best-in-class companies achieve a 16% gain in year-over-year revenue.
Where to start?
Start with what you, as a businessperson, know: LinkedIn. Why start here? According to the platform, LinkedIn claims to be the world’s largest professional network with 810 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
LinkedIn also has thousands of groups segmented by category or interest. Start or form a group geared towards furniture retailing. It will be a great way to establish yourself with home furnishings retailers.
Set up a profile, post often about new products, company news, etc. Also, read posts from peers and when appropriate, respond. Let the world know you are, what you do and why potential clients should get to know you and your line.
Once you get comfortable being on LinkedIn, branch out. A good way to reach your buyers is to reach them where they are, and it is likely that depending upon their age, you will find them here:
In conclusion, if you are not yet incorporating social selling into your toolbox, you really need to. It’s not that hard and once you establish yourself on social media, I believe you will not only find yourself on the fast track, but hopefully, in the passing lane of the fast track.
Time to get social!
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