When you sell, are you making change?

Last week, we hosted some great sales and marketing expert panelists to chat about the top sales tactics and strategies in 2017. This is a recap of that webinar session, so that we can bring you top insights to help you excel in 2017.

Why might you need these insights, you ask? Well, one of the few constants about business is that it’s always changing. Which can be a good thing—it keeps us from getting overly bored, falling into slumps, and losing our drive. But for salespeople, this also means that if you want to keep achieving success, you have to push yourself to stay on the forefront of that evolution.

It’s a challenge, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. What are the best strategies? Which tactics will get you noticed? Which philosophies are worth considering and which are tried-and-true classics? These three well-known and successful sales leaders helped answer those questions:

  • Jill Rowley, a self-proclaimed “sales professional trapped in a marketer’s body” who focuses on social selling and the blurring lines between sales and marketing;  
  • Craig Rosenberg, Co-founder and Chief Analyst at TOPO Inc., who focuses on advising and consulting for marketing and sales; and
  • Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing, whose focus is on greater sales, revenue growth, product success, and customer loyalty, facilitated the discussion.

What were some of the biggest takeaways from the webinar?

Takeaway #1: The buyer of today has changed, so sales has to evolve how they sell.

When asked what kind of digital transformations and advancements she has seen in the past year, and what she predicts for 2017, Jill Rowley made clear that digital has really changed the game. The buyer today “has a lot more access to information and to her peers”. The marketing world has evolved to meet the needs of the new digital buyer—marketing now has a plethora of technologies to choose from to help them win. But the sales world has been a bit slower to evolve, and needs to catch up: “Digital sales transformation [involves] really understanding the new way that sales professionals need to work”.  

What does this prediction mean to you?

What does Jill mean that today’s buyer has changed and they have more access to information? Well, we now know that these days, up to 90% of the customer’s decision to purchase is complete before they even reach out to your sales team. Consumers now use websites, blogs, whitepapers, customer testimonials, social, and other channels to glean all kinds of information about you and your product, which is vastly different from how people used to learn about products: mostly, salespeople would reach out and engage someone in a conversation. But these days, as Jill points out, the line between marketing and sales has blurred, and companies are now educating their prospects indirectly, before ever having a face-to-face (or email-to-email) conversation.

So they’re more educated right off the bat. And it turns out, one of the biggest ways they’re educating themselves is through video: did you know that 80% of site visitors will watch a video, while only 20% will read content? It’s true. People are looking for video from you because it’s more interesting, entertaining, and engages their brain on scientific levels. As Jill says, video is “edutaining”.

Takeaway #2: The human need for relationships means there will always be a need for a sales team—if sales teams embrace personalized strategies.

When Craig was asked about engagement and advancements for sales teams, Craig focused on the fact that human beings want the human element in our communications. He was quick to say sales teams would never be replaced by robots because of this need. But what that does mean is we have to be selling in a more personal way, so we can engage more deeply: “All of us are trying to get as close as we can to 1:1 relevant human interaction across all our channels…If I’m going to communicate with someone, how is it going to be most relevant to them? How can I make sure they get it?” His answer: “It’s gotta be personal…The ones that are making it work are trying to figure out how to personalize and customize the majority of those interactions and do it at scale.”

What does this prediction mean to you?

We’re all inundated all the time with brand messages and content and emails…this overwhelming, busy world could be contributing to the fact that now, our attention spans are only 8 seconds long. So we don’t have time for messages that don’t speak to us on a personal level.

While the marketing world has been taking a shine to personalized video and seeing incredible results from it (like a 500% lift in email conversions), sales has been a bit slower to adapt personalized technologies. Think about all the emails you may send and receive—templated, awkward, and a lot of the time, they end up in the trash. Video, however, is the more personal, human medium—we’re seeing, hearing, experiencing, and relating to what we are watching!

What can you do to achieve greater success as a salesperson in 2017?

Now that we know what some of the best and brightest sales leaders are predicting and urging for 2017, how can you put these sales tactics into action?

As a salesperson, just because your audience is a lot more educated than they used to be doesn’t mean that you don’t have to try anymore because your leads are already doing all the legwork themselves. In fact, it means you need to try harder to get their attention and stand out amongst everything else they’re watching and reading and learning about.

As Craig said during the panel discussion, 90% of marketing and sales professionals claim that their biggest issue is engagement. How can they stand out, get noticed, and really engage with audiences on a personal level these days?

The fact that audiences find video the most engaging medium speaks volumes. In fact, prospects who view videos of a product are 85% more likely to buy. Sales teams can use this medium to their advantage with a video platform that provides analytics on which videos each lead is watching, and how deeply they’re engaged. So even before your first contact with the lead, you know a fair bit about them and their interests, helping you to better tailor your conversation, and close deals more quickly and easily.

But sales teams don’t need to rely solely on marketing-made videos. Now, with video recording tools like Vidyard GoVideo (formerly ViewedIt), sales has the power of video in their own hands. And best of all, sales can make personalized videos!

Imagine sending a prospect an email that includes a video that you recorded just for them. When they see “Video” in the subject line in their email inbox, they’ll be more likely to open your email (8x more likely, in fact!). And then, when they click on the thumbnail image for the video (which you smartly personalized by writing their name on a piece of paper or small whiteboard), they can watch your video as it opens in a browser window. Now, you’ve stood out inside their mailbox, and gotten noticed by speaking to them on a 1:1 level. Because of this, they’re more likely to watch and engage with you. And, because you created that email with them in mind, and personalized it with their name, that video will have significantly increased your chances of closing the deal: in one company, 75% of late-stage prospects that receive a personalized video become a customer!

Standing out with video is just the beginning. You can even get notifications on when your videos are viewed, so you can follow up in the best moment, when you know they’re engaged with your content. Doesn’t that make the conversation so much more personal? Instead of hounding your leads, instead, you’re taking cues from their own interests and actions, and giving them exactly what they’re looking for when they’re looking for it. Now that’s an engaging, personalized experience!

With tech tools and strategies like this, you’ll not only be evolving to give audiences what they expect, but you’ll be surpassing expectations, helping you to not only keep up with change, but lead change for your team and your organization. Welcome to a successful 2017!

If you want to learn more from these sales experts about what they predict and advise for selling in 2017, check out the on-demand webinar now.

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Emily Ross