Hands up who would class themselves as a sales person?
Out of those that said yes, hands up who offers a product for sale, asks if someone would like to buy it and either takes the money and makes the sale or says thank you very much and lets them walk away?
OK – to these people you are not a sales person, you’re more like a cashier…but don’t worry we can help. And please don’t run away crying because I’ve insulted your ‘career’ it is a very common misconception.
So who of you takes your time to get to know your buyer, put yourself in their shoes, work out what their need is and how you can help them fulfil that need? Then engages with them on multiple levels at multiple times to build the relationship and make a sale? OK you guys are the sales people – and good sales people at that.
So next question…stay with me here, we are getting to a point, I promise!
Who has a unified Sales & Marketing practice? By this we mean a team or an individual that does both Sales & Marketing activities?
Well it is these guys that we should all be looking up to.
Buyers are generally 67% of the way through a buying process before they even speak to sales
So who and what are buyers engaging with before this point? Marketing? Other consumers? Existing customers? Online reviews?
Generally all of the above. If your marketing activities are hitting the spot when someone starts their search for a product that you sell, your product should be being paraded in front of them time and time again – whether this is being on the first page of Google, whether this is from remarketing activities or whether this is because your brand has taken time to work with those prominent on social media or respected by your target market so that they are actively promoting your product. It really is these activities that are doing 67% of the work for you.
So a smart ‘sales person’ will jump on this and embed themselves in those activities to follow up those leads to 100%
72% of buyers use social media to research making their purchasing decisions*
How many times have you turned to Facebook or Twitter to ‘ask the audience’ before buying a new saddle, or new boots or when looking for a new supplement? When in a purchasing cycle for business, how often have you trawled through LinkedIn to look at what the competition is doing and saying, or what industry leaders are offering?
Social media has fast become your shop window to the world, with judgements made about you and/or your brand before people have even met you. But how can you as an individual take ownership of your social sales strategy?
- By listening and engaging the market and individuals through Twitter and Facebook. Understand your consumers, make friends with them, become their trusted advisor.
- Influence via blogs and micro blogging. Not only should we be connecting with influencers (media publications, respected riders) we should be influencers ourselves, because after all – People buy from people!
- Creating bio centric profiles via LinkedIn to position oneself as a thought leader, making it an interesting feed of topics and insights rather than just an online CV
- Bring sales and marketing teams together by sharing ownership of social sales
- Marketing teams should empower sales with the relevant skills and the ability to nurture leads through social and in return sales should be continuing to promote thought leadership ideas and brand messaging to ensure that time spent on social is optimised
Disrupt the buying process by engaging early, by leveraging different relationships on different levels and in different ways.
Who’s doing it well?
Protexin Equine Premium clearly have a great product, because whenever a ‘what product should I use for a horse with ulcers?’ post pops up in #Twittereventing there are 101 people recommending their products and tagging their sales reps in the post, who give friendly advice and support – not a rambling sales pitch like some other brands.
Forelock and Load actively monitor social channels and will respond to people looking for a good price or availability of certain products, swooping in on the low hanging fruit.
There are numerous saddle brands that engage their audiences before they have even got onsite for a fitting, creating that level of trust and then move into the trusted advisor spot.
So who do I buy from? Well my saddler, feed company and 2 supplement brands are all now Facebook friends. Why? Because they took the time to engage with me and offer advice and support where it matters, rather than a sales pitch or rather than simply walking away when I didn’t buy the first time.
Want to learn more and why do I know what I’m talking about?
Well for the past 4 years I’ve been working with FTSE100-FTSE350 companies on their Sales Optimisation, Customer Relationship Management, Marketing and Customer Experience strategies, with 3 of the world’s leading technology houses.
Having recently launched EquiConsulting to help Equestrian and Country niche brands we’re running a number of workshops around the country to focus on Salesforce Optimisation and Customer Experience, with a 20% discount for EBA members. We also offer tailored packages to brands to transform their approach to sales and revolutionise their approach to business and marketing. So get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Skillin has been a Business Development, Sales, Marketing & Customer Experience professional for the past 8 years and has amassed a wealth of experience, knowledge and skill from time spent working with corporate clients in the City of London.
Having worked with the top 3 global technology giants, Sarah has had the privilege of working with a number of household names from work within the construction, travel, retail, online gaming, utilities and consumer goods industries. However it is the passion for the equestrian world and the drive and determination to see the sport reach new levels, that lead Sarah to step out of the bright city lights and into her own consultancy to work with brands, events and individuals that want to employ big business principles and tactics in the niche equestrian industry.