Customer expectations continue to evolve. Empowered with information and technology, your buyers are far more informed than ever before. They are looking for experts and trusted advisors who can help them achieve their goals. Meeting customer expectations is one of the biggest challenges facing sales teams.
Have a look at this chart from Salesforce’s State of Sales report:
To understand how companies are dealing with customers’ autonomy and expectations, I have been interviewing some of the top modern marketers and sales professionals. We had some really engaging conversations and they shared some powerful insights. Here are a few of their tips:
Tip #1: Focus on adding value and building relationships.
“When you go to a networking party, you don’t stand in the door and say, ‘Hey, it’s Tim Hughes, and I can offer you 20% off.’ You need to present yourself with something to talk about and build relationships with others.”
Tip #2: Use social to research and gain insights from your buyers.
“LinkedIn is probably where I spend at least 50% of my day; not just for hunting, but researching, listening, and scanning what is going on with buy prospects and buyers. Did they get funding? Did they buy a company? Are they promoting their annual conference? Are they not sharing anything at all? It is so telling what gets shared.”
Tip #3: Build your expertise to share valuable insights.
“Unless you are bringing a buyer new insights, unique info that they cannot get elsewhere, why would they spend an hour of their time to meet with you?
“The successful salesperson of the future needs to be a specialist. A generalist may have broad knowledge, but they are not well-positioned to meet the needs of the modern buyer. I call it: A mile wide and an inch deep. Why would the modern buyer want to meet with you if you cannot bring them a level of expertise and insights, beyond what they can find through their own research?”
Tip #4: Curate content to demonstrate your expertise, build relationships and influence.
“Content curators have a powerful way of connecting people with information. Great curation sets the foundation for engagement. If you respect other people in the industry, by sharing and acknowledging their content, you demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, as well as build relationships and influence.
“Curate thoughtfully; add value. And only then will you get consideration for your brand content. If you have this mindset, you have a competitive advantage over those that are just focused on brand amplification and journalism… No one wants to follow the sales rep that shares the company blog post every other day.”
Tip #5: Always add an insight or your point of view.
“As for sharing, it is not only the quantity of content you share, but what and how you share it. It is critical to put the stamp of ‘Carly’ on what I share, adding an insight, a point of view. This is key to help buyers see you as a trusted advisor.”
Tip #6: Be Authentic; Fight the Temptation to Automate.
“I learn a lot from my customers, and in this case I learned the key to winning hearts is personalization, not automation. And what better medium than content?!”
Tip #7: Training for sales teams is important and should be an ongoing process.
“Training is the important foundation to help change behavior. You do not want to give a Ferrari to a 16-year-old who doesn’t know how to drive.
“Ongoing support and communication are also key. I have held multiple best practice reinforcement sessions, where we talked about social selling behaviors and best practices. If the team lost momentum, I would remind them ‘remember when you were socially surrounding your buyer and getting more appointments. You said this was amazing, and now you have stopped.’ This helped them think about the value and get back on track.”
Tip #8: Strategy should govern your sales technology stack.
“Technology is not a strategy; it is an enabler of the strategy. Don’t let the tail wag the dog.”
Tip #9: Quality over quantity. You don’t need to connect with everyone.
“I do not see the value in connecting with 5,000 people. You need to think more about quality and relevance in your network.”
If you are interested in learning more about building a social selling program or the power of social listening to support sales, check out these resources:
- eBook – 7 Steps to Launching a Successful Social Selling Program
- Webinar – Social Listening: How to Ignite Sales and Buyer Engagement
- Webinar – Social Selling: How to Find Your Automatic Voice and Build Your Brand Online