The nature of buying has changed. Consumers are armed with more data than ever – through the internet they have access to all they need about brands, products, and price. And they are proactive with this information, navigating themselves through the sales funnel, often before salespeople know what’s going on.
Salespeople need to adapt to this new world. Just as consumers have more data than ever, so do salespeople. The trick is tapping into it all – by becoming knowledge and data centric.
“Salespeople need to be able to quickly walk in the digital footprint of their prospects and customers” says author Barbara Giamanco.
“Who are people connecting with, what groups are they joining, what do they say on Twitter, who do they follow, what do they share about themselves, what do they care about? We don’t sell B2B or B2C, we sell P2P – person to person.”
A buyers digital footprint is most prominent on social media, which is both a source and an outlet. It’s used to voice opinions, share events, follow people and product developments, and ask questions. All this activity leaves a trail, and it’s one a good salesperson should follow.
Actionable data on social media comes in various guises. It could be personal – a contact receiving a promotion or celebrating a birthday. These are prime opportunities to pounce.
Social data can also be in the form of public events and announcements – companies receiving funding or launching a new initiative are ripe for a good sales pitch. Using this data correctly, sales teams can follow trends and identity, and then prioritise the right leads.
“Intelligence about your prospects and customers is imperative to effective selling. It enables reps to be relevant and timely with their outreaches, prioritize accounts, and increase probabilities to close/win deals,” says Brian Kelly, Chief Marketing Officer of InsideView.
Even more than directly driving sales, this information can be used to tweak and coordinate strategy and campaigns throughout the entire buying process. How often and when should you follow up, what are the right buttons to push, what they are passionate about?
The key, first, is to recognise that customers have changed and the best way to understand how is to look at the data. You can find more about new ways to engage customers at Microsoft Australia.
To effectively act on this data requires use of a tool like a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. Among other things, a CRM solution allows you to gather, record and build a profile of your prospect, including social media monitoring – revealing trends, providing alerts of buying signals and other activity.