Digital selling is the process of turning relationships built through digital means into: 1) productive, in-person conversations or 2) a sale that is complete enough to finish via an e-Selling solution.
Digital selling is a process that begins outside of your organization. It starts with a buyer who is motivated to learn something about a problem.
It doesn’t matter if you have a human at the end of the selling process or a machine, you will have a sale—you will have a transaction that culminates in a sale.
Some products require human intervention, and some do not. But the process of getting the buyer to the finish line is largely complete in the digital-selling world by the time you get to the point where the closing of the sale and the moving of the merchandise out of the cart is complete.
What Does Digital Selling Look Like?
Digital selling is a process that begins outside of your organization. It starts with a buyer who is motivated to learn something about a problem. They start their search on the web and gradually refine their search criteria until they arrive at a possible solution.
This behavior is repeated until they have arrived at a final solution. That’s when they either pick up the phone or press BUY to put the item in their basket.
In between all of that activity is where the actual digital selling takes place. Let’s take a look.
Activities of Digital Selling
There are lots of activities associated with bringing the buyer and the product together.
Research for Buyers and Sellers
Sellers must educate themselves on what the buyer’s world looks like. This means learning what is and isn’t important to the buyer while he or she is in the market for the product you are selling.
This would include all manner of product information, domain information, competitive data and other relevant information. It might also have to include things such as licensing models or other means of acquiring the functionality for their use.
For the salesperson, this does not mean you have to create these artifacts. However, you must understand why they are looking at the various pieces you have on your website.
How Social Content and Account Management Support Digital Selling
For Sales, the internet is much more than a place to catch up with high school friends. Sales managers must include some time for social content and account-management activities among their reports.
Sales reps must familiarize themselves with the domains of interest for their users. Once inside, you must take time to listen to your customer. You want to find out what is really keeping him or her up at night. If you see an opportunity to answer a question or perhaps offer some advice, be very careful in doing so. Talk in terms of generic solutions.
What about existing customers? You have a relationship to fall back on. If you run across a customer with a problem, you can always ask to take the issue offline or talk about product and service if you are not in the public space.
CRM and Sales Enablement
What about running a campaign? What if you are offering a special deal on widgets this month, and you know that you have lots of customers who might want to consider purchasing a widget.
Who has widgets and who does not? The answer is in your CRM system.
How about more general types of questions? You are visiting a customer in Iowa next week, and you wonder what other customers might be nearby.
Your CRM system can help you plan your trip to maximize the impact of your visit.
Engagement and Messaging for Digital Selling
For many sales reps, the issue is too often trying to make your product stretch itself around a problem that it is not designed to address. It is not so much a matter of trying to find a problem to solve as it is to find the right problem to solve.
When becoming engaged with customers, sales reps need to be careful that they are really helping the customer with their problem. They have to be aware of what their limits are in terms of selling.
This is where it helps to have some reminder of your mission and messaging incorporated into your engagement introduction.
Bringing Digital Selling All Together
Digital selling must be backed across the entirety of the sales infrastructure. This requires a commitment from all parties that touch the sale.
This is how the order-entry people know how to submit your order, the shipping folks know how you want your order delivered and how the implementation team gets their go-ahead.
All of these teams are on a singular mission to complete their work on behalf of the customer and the company.