Selling Digitally is Becoming More Prominent But Relationship Selling is Still Essential
Is Sales a subset of Marketing or is Marketing a Subset of Sales?
Really neither is correct as the functions of Sales and Marketing are combined into one process:
Marketing feeds into the pipeline and Sales convert the warmed-up leads into revenue.
Marketing is tasked with:
• Defining a product/service that meets the needs of the target customers
• Identifying and qualifying a target market
• Identifying and qualifying a target market segment
• Creating brand awareness within your target market
• Promoting your product/service in your target market
• Monitoring market trends
Sales is tasked with:
• Converting prospects into customers
• Building and maintaining enduring working relationships with customers
• Feeding market intelligence back into the beginning of the process
Many of the above tasks now rely heavily on various digital platforms with little, if any, face to face contact. There are however, some that demand human interaction to be truly effective.
In a recent Harvard Business Review, Vanessa K Bohns concludes that `Face to Face requests are 34 times more successful that e-mail’
1. Defining a Product/service that Meets the Needs of the Target Customers
So, you have an idea. A new product or service that, at first glance, appears to have great potential for providing a solution to many potential or existing clients’ problems. Before investing heavily in developing this product or service you
must obtain feedback from your market:
• Does this idea solve a problem?
• What is the size of the market?
• What price will the market pay?
• What is the channel to market and how does that fit with your current business?
• Are there any existing competing products?
Obtaining reliable answers to the above questions is essential before the go – no go decision can be made.
2. Converting Prospects into Customers
The decision was GO, you have identified your target market and segment, your product/service has been promoted and leads are coming in. You now need to qualify those leads:
• Is the solution you are providing correctly understood and relevant to the problems your clients are experiencing?
• Do you fully appreciate and understand the problems your clients are experiencing and does your client believe that you do?
• Who will be the decision maker?
You must know you are talking to the right people and that they trust you to provide them with the best solution to their problems. They will then happily become a customer.
3. Building and Maintaining Enduring Working Relationships with Customers
• Will the product or service your customer has purchased solved their problems?
• Is there any way your product or service could be improved?
• What other problems does your customer have?
• Does your customer know of other businesses suffering the same problems?
You need to know if the product or service your client has purchased has met their expectations. If not, you need to react, but if it has, you can leverage off that success to uncover more potential business. If your clients believe that you care, and that they have had personal input into your products’ ongoing evolution, you have formed a trusting relationship that will survive for as long as you keep doing the right things. In fact they will become one of your best sales person and advocate.
4. Feeding Market Intelligence Back into the Beginning of the Process
Strong relationships with clients will allow them to be more open. They will provide you with information and leads that will result in new possibilities. They will walk beside you and your success will be theirs. The sales team must be in the position to feed solid market intelligence back into the business and this will be very much enhanced by the forming of solid relationships with the right people.
The above tasks will not be effective without a level of face to face interaction. Relying purely on virtual relationships managed through digital platforms will NOT provide the desired outcomes. All members of your sales team must be encouraged to have the conversation, ask the questions and get to know what exactly it is that you do for your customers
Who is a member of your Sales and Marketing teams? – Everyone!
To a greater or lesser extent, every employee will have the capability of feeding into at least one part of this process. Customer facing members of your team however are the ones that will have an impact on the relationship between you and your customers. For many, any proactive engagement with the customers will appear daunting and therefore will not happen. Every customer facing employee requires the support and tools necessary to feel comfortable and therefore become effective in building and maintaining customer relationships.
A.P.E Consulting can provide the training and tools for your people that will give them the confidence to get out of their chair and interact effectively with your customers. A.P.E’s Foundation Skills Technical Sales Coaching Workshop will provide your team with the skills necessary to grow a professional sales culture. Each workshop is developed to meet the unique needs of each client rather than a generic program for all.
Written by Brian Davey, originally published in The Manufacturers News, October 2018