Sales Professionals Guide to Understanding Digital Marketing

Salespeople were the ONLY experts worth asking questions before deciding on a purchase. They were the gateway to purchasing wisdom before and after any sale went through. So understanding digital marketing was never an issue.

It was a completely different world.

Things are different now.

People do their own research before making a purchase.

These days, everyone’s an expert.

Selling is an entirely different game.

As a sales person, you probably think you don’t need to know about digital marketing. After all, your job is simply to sell in the way you know best. You’ve been doing this for years – so you have your own system that works for you. But does it really?

The fact of the matter is that you need to compete in the Digital Age. This means you do actually need to research keywords, execute campaigns, and optimise your approach based on results. It’s your responsibility to understand the tools and technologies available to you.

It’s a sink or swim world. You need to be able to effectively leverage your online presence. You have to reach, engage, and convert your prospects in a way that actually works. Understanding digital marketing is the easiest way to do this. It’s more about what works for them than what works for you; and therein lies the major shift you need to make.

The Internet Has Changed Everything

The way information is created and consumed has been completely disrupted. Because information is distributed so freely, your role as a salesperson is totally different as well. Your goal is to be more of a consultant. You need to be more capable of working with the tech and data that are so freely available to you.

This isn’t a hindrance. It’s a massive opportunity for growth and improvement. It’s one of those proverbial “bull by the horns moments”.

Understanding digital marketing will enable you to:

  • Develop your ideal buyer persona
  • Create a better sales process
  • Appreciate the buyer’s journey
  • Understand the buyer’s interests and intentions
  • Personalise your approach

Develop Your Ideal Buyer Persona

A buyer persona is a representation of your potential customer. This persona is aligned with your customers’ goals, motivations, values, and behaviours. To be able to strategise properly, you need to build a buyer persona based on readily available market research and data.

Developing a better understanding of your prospective customers helps you to connect with them more effectively. You’ll be able to communicate with them as people and not as buyers. The only way to do this is to qualify your leads by figuring out precisely who you need to talk to.

Create a Better Sales Process

As a sales professional in the modern workplace, you need to start thinking digitally. You have to diversify your strategy and start thinking a little more like your audience would.

You need to learn:

  • How to deliver the right content and when.
  • Which questions to ask yourself.
  • Which social media platforms will help you to successfully connect with your prospects.

When you figure our what kind of information your prospects are after, you’ll be better equipped to deliver the right content at the right time.

The more you learn about your prospects, the better you’ll get at asking yourself the right questions regarding their buyer journey. The more insights you have, the more curious you’ll be. And the more you ask not only yourself but your prospects as well, the better you’ll be at guiding them through the sales process.

Social selling is becoming more and more popular, and it’s easy to see why: a ton of your prospects are hanging out on social media with regularity. Social sellers outpsell their non-social competitors at least 78% of the time. You can’t argue with a percentage like that. To succeed at social selling, you need to starting building a connection with your audience long before you try to convince them to buy anything. They need to know they can come to you for a ton of industry-related information. You need to become their go-to for valuable tidbits.

Appreciate the Buyer’s Journey

Fact: Buying isn’t the same for every prospect.

So, it stands to reason that you can’t sell the same way to everyone either.

Similarly, a person in the early stages of the buyer journey will have completely different needs to a person who is a little closer to the point of decision-making.

The buyer journey is made up of three key stages:

  • Awareness: The buyer discovers they have a pain point.
  • Consideration: The buyer figures out what the crux of the problem is and begins researching potential ways to solve it.
  • Decision: The buyer chooses the most suitable solution.

It all seems pretty straightforward and simple. However, the availability of so much information has complicated the process somewhat. The ability to search for potential solutions throws a spanner in the works for sales people who are unable to adapt.

  • 60% of buyers would rather not communicate with sales reps as their primary information source.
  • 68% of B2B customers prefer to research independently online.

Your prospects spend a lot of time developing their own sets of opinions and biases. So, you need to adapt your approach.

It’s time to start a conversation rather than attempting to lord your know-all over everyone.

Understand the Buyer’s Interests and Intentions

It goes without saying that conducting your own keyword research is critical when you need to come up with a relevant sales strategy.

According to Google, at least 71% of every person’s online research begins with a generic query. This means they’re looking for possible solutions to a problem rather than a specific product or brand name.

You can learn a heck of a lot about your prospects’ intentions and interests if you spend some time figuring out what they’re looking for. So, while you may think that keyword research is up to your marketing team (or whoever maintains your website), you actually do need to do some research yourself.

Doing some research into consumer behaviour will enable you to understand them better. This understanding is the perfect basis for a relationship built on trust.

Of course, when trust levels are high, you’re more likely to get people to engage with you or even make a purchase.

Personalise Your Approach

Expectations are higher regardless of whether you’re operating in the B2B or B2B space. Your customers are making up their minds about you and your brand before they make contact with you. That’s just the way things are. Forewarned is forearmed and all that. This does make personalisation more challenging but not entirely insurmountable.

Think about this:

  • 65% of business buyers consider switching brands if a company doesn’t bother to personalise their communications.
  • 75% of B2B buyers expect companies make suggestions based on relevant needs within the next year.
  • Personalised emails have transaction rates that are 6x higher than generic mails.
  • 75% of consumers will buy from a retailer that recognises them by name and knows their purchase history.

It’s up to you to personalise your approach, so you really need to do your homework. You can’t enter into conversations unprepared. Be knowledgeable. Know the trends. Show that you have an understanding of what’s happening in your prospect’s industry.

Use technology to make sure the knowledge you’re sharing actually works. Email tracking is a good place to start. You’ll be able to see what your prospects are interested in and what they ignore. Adjust your future outgoing messages based on the feedback you receive. Don’t keep doing things that don’t work. If it doesn’t work today, it’s not going to work tomorrow.

You can use social media to cleverly target your content. Advanced filters, lead bots, and demographic insights can help you identify and target qualified leads.

Customer-first thinking is the only way forward. Start focusing on understanding digital marketing and you’ll see results.