BOLD Prediction #2: Sellers Need to be Better Marketers

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Hey Sellers! It’s time for a wake-up call.

You’re dealing with crazy-busy buyers who don’t act like they’re supposed to anymore. That means you need to do things differently.

Today I interview Chad Levitt, the New Sales Economy blogger and a practicing salesperson. I think you’ll be real interested in what he has to say!

Jill: Why do you think normal cold calling and prospecting is insufficient in today’s marketplace?

Chad: I’m in the sales game too and I know what it’s like to make cold calls to people who have no idea who you are. I know how challenging it can be to find well-qualified prospects. Everything I’m about to say comes from my own sales experiences and lessons learned. Normal cold calling and prospecting is insufficient because many of the old sales rules have changed.

Here are three realities in the B2B sales profession:

  1. It is harder to reach your customers and prospects by phone and email.
  2. Your customers and prospects are less willing to meet in person.
  3. And, they are busier and more distracted than ever before.

    Your normal cold calling and prospecting activity is the minimum requirement as a sales rep. The new frontier and where the biggest opportunity hides is in your creativity and ability to market yourself to your buyers on top of what is required to exceed your quota.

    Jill: You’re preaching to the choir here. You’ve stated that you think sellers need to become better marketers. Why?

    Chad: Because buyers are more distracted than ever, busier, and better at blocking unsolicited messages from sellers. Your buyer is constantly moving, running from meeting, to strategy session, to cramming a sandwich down their face, to a meeting. You get the picture.

    Sales reps need to find ways besides their normal outbound activity to connect with buyers. This process needs to be repeatable so you can scale, trackable so you can measure it. Most importantly, it needs to be memorable so you can create hyper levels of awareness in the account.

    Here is the big idea. You need to stop seeing yourself in the business of sales and more in the business of creating content that sells. It is a subtle but huge difference. Take some time to think about it.
     
    Jill: L
    ots of people would say, “That’s marketing’s job.” What do you say to them?

    Chad: Your marketing department does not go to sleep at night thinking of you exceeding your quota. They are not dreaming of you making club or getting your bonus. That is up to you.

    Your marketing department may or may not already have some great YouTube videos, Slideshare presentations or blog posts that you can leverage to get started. If not, it is up to you to create some remarkable content that you can use to your advantage with your customers and prospects.

    I’ve sent my prospects many e-mails with a valuable piece of content and used it as a catalyst to start a conversation. I’ve found this sales strategy to be more engaging and effective. But, I have only used these social media platforms in a tactical way and I’m now building a more strategic process to help me sell.

    Here is what I’m doing to stay ahead of the game. I’m building my own simple website to help me create more credibility, deeper relationships, and hyper levels of awareness with my buyers. It will feature YouTube videos with me speaking, videos of customer testimonials, blog posts of customer testimonials, blog posts on challenges and interesting trends in the industry, Slideshare presentations, maybe a short series of podcasts.

    It will be simple, easy to navigate and something I can use repeatedly with my prospects and customers. It will be my virtual sales rep – he can sell for me even when I’m sleeping

    Jill: Let’s talk specifically about inbound marketing. How are companies using it today? What’s working?

    Chad: Inbound marketing is a new approach to marketing that helps customers find you on the web using social media, blogs, and SEO. Smart companies have realized that their customers use Google to search, read blogs and participate in social media.

    The really smart companies are creating remarkable content, optimizing it for search engines and giving it reach through social media. They are listening to what their customers have to say and participating in the conversations online.

    The results speak for themselves – the companies that have embraced the inbound marketing culture are receiving more leads and converting more of these leads into paying customers.

    Here is a question I love to ask, “If inbound marketing and social media is changing the way companies do business – is it logical to think it will change the way sales reps sell?”

    Jill:  I agree with you entirely. It does change how we sell. What are your thoughts re: how sellers can use inbound marketing to differentiate themselves today?

    Chad: Start creating remarkable content and begin sharing it with your customers and prospects. Get on Linkedin and while you’re at it sign up for Facebook and Twitter. Make a YouTube video, a SlideShare presentation, write a short ebook, video customer testimonials, or write some blog posts on customer stories.

    Start small and keep it simple – maybe start with a YouTube video of yourself and then build from there. Eventually you should organize all of this remarkable content into a simple website or blog that you can share.

    The best sales reps in the future will know how to use both inbound and outbound strategies to their advantage, layered on top of their world-class sales skills. That combination is lethal.

    Jill: What advice would you give sellers who’ve never ever thought about doing this?

    Chad: Try something different. Get on board. Stop resisting. Start learning all you can about the new rules and social media platforms that can help you be a better sales rep. It is going to be a fun journey – a very, very profitable one for the sales reps that connect the dots. I would also pick up a copy of David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR – despite the title it is as much a book about sales as it is marketing. Read it twice.

    Jill: It is an excellent book. I recommend it too.

    And thanks so much for your insights Chad! You are ahead of the curve here. This is exactly what sellers need to be doing to stand out in today’s business environment.

    _____________

    Chad Levitt is the author of the New Sales Economy blog that explores using social media, sales 2.0 and inbound marketing as a  B2B sales strategy for the Web 2.0 world.

    Republished with author's permission from original post.

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