There has been a lot of talk on how sales has changed. Sales 2.0, The Challenger Sale, the cold call is dead, etc have all permeated the sales world narrative over the last year. In spite of the incessant chatter about sales changing, it hasn’t changed. Customers still makes decisions the same way. They still have objections, they still need to compare. They still have to feel the solution will meet their needs. The buying process, the psychological way we choose to buy, is still the same. The tools available to influence the sale and how we sell have changed. That’s the big difference. There are more tools available to help people sell than ever before. Capitalizing on these tools is where the win will be.
Most of the tools available to sales people today can fundamentally transform their prospecting and lead generation. As in the past, sales people who are creative in increasing their lead flow will be the most successful. Leveraging the new tools to build your own powerful lead generation engine is the key to making your number in 2012 and beyond.
The 6 tools today’s best sales people are using:
- Blog: Any sales person not blogging at least 2 times a week is leaving money on the table and stunting their career. Blogging puts you and what you sell on the map. By blogging, you work your way into the search engines where potential clients can find you and engage with you about your products and services. Blogging gives you a homebase to steer your existing clients and prospects for more information. It gives your clients a way to stay connected to you and what’s happening in the industry. By subscribing to your blogs RSS feed your customers and prospects can be in front of you on a regular basis. Blogging is a must for today’s sales person.
- Email Newsletter: With emailing services like MailChimp, it’s never been easier to for sales people to engage with their entire pipeline on a regular basis. Email newsletters allow you to send customized, targeted, messages to your entire pipeline with the click of a button. Sending a newsletter once a month, like blogging, keeps you front-of-mind. It keeps you on your prospects and customers radar. An email newsletters is also killer tool for teaching and educating. Regularly sent newsletters on relevant, current, and important industry topics and happenings increases your selling opportunities and incoming leads. The best part, MailChimp the Newsletter tool I use, integrates with Salesforce.com. It doesn’t’ get any easier than that.
- Social Media: Building a social media presence is critical today. It’s just NOT OK not to participate. Social media puts you in the middle of YOUR industries conversations. It keeps you in the loop. It tells you who the movers and shakers are. It keeps you informed of the changes. It let’s you connect with the other players. It allows you to build your network. Social media is an informational treasure chest waiting to be leveraged by the best sales people. Get on Linkedin and join groups for your industry. Join Focus.com and Quora.com; ask and answer questions within your industry expertise. Join Twitter and tweet relevant, timely and interesting news and information. Create a Twitter stream following industry leaders, consultants, subject matter experts and more. Be the first to know what is happening in your industry, that way you can be the first to capitalize on it. If you still think social media is about what someone had for breakfast you are eons in the past, wake up!
- Slideshare: Slideshare is a presentation service that allows you to post your presentations for others to read. It’s a great site. You can find some amazing presentations. Use slide share to teach your customer and prospects. Create a presentation a quarter that teaches them how to do something cool with your product. Maybe, create a presentation on the changes going on in the industry and what’s coming down the pike. Create powerful, informative presentations that get the attention of people in your industry and put them on slideshare. It will drive people to you.
- YouTube: I’m giving YouTube it’s own category, rather than lump it with social media. It deserves it. YouTube is increasingly becoming a killer medium. Create your own YouTube channel, then do a video every couple of months. Video is a great way to capture your audiences attention. Video is increasingly becoming the killer medium for marketing lead generation. Short, simple, informal video’s are excellent in conveying your idea and driving viewers to your blog, your Slideshare account, etc. You can also post your video’s to your blog. Don’t be shy, the bright lights are calling you.
- Integration: Now for the holy grail! Integrate all these tools. Start a blog, add a form so readers can sign up for your newsletter. Download the SlideShare plugin and have your most recent presentation show up in the sidebar. Release your video’s on your blog at the same time you upload them to YouTube. Link all your social media sites via Tweetdeck or some other Social Media aggregator. Also, link to all your social media sites from your blog and in your email newsletter. It will drive people to your sites. Having your entire social media presence integrated amplifies it’s value. It moves people through your entire presence giving them multiple modes of information all related to you and your products and services.
Sales hasn’t changed. The tools we have to sell with have. Sales people have to become their own lead generation engines. Inbound marketing is no longer only a marketing function. Sales people have to begin to get comfortable with the “informational sale.” The informational sell, as the name suggests, uses the dissemination of valuable content/information to drive leads and capture the attention of prospects and customers.