What is the most effective digital communication channel available? Email. In Hans Peter Bech's article, Poets & Plumbers: The Need for New Skill Sets in Marketing and Sales Bech teaches that we each send numerous emails a day, and our email signature is viewed a lot. But this "small, but crucial branding element" is one that few companies have under control. "There are two reasons why marketers ignore the personal email communication channel:
- They never thought of it
- The personal email system is provided and operated by the IT department (personal emaiils are considered IT and not marketing territory)
Marketing and sales channels are increasingly becoming digital but marketing and sales executives lack digital skills!
"...Executives must learn how to use and communicate on these new digital channels. But the learning curve is apparently steep and long and marketers and sales executives struggle to acquire the new skills required." With more and more people browsing and engaging online, those in sales have skills to learn. Bech lists a few:
- understand statistical principles, data analytics and the principles of testing and validation
- design customer journeys
- possess domain experience and insight
- project management and coordination skills
- people management and leadership qualities
"We will seldom find all these skills and qualities in a single person, but without a substantial overlap in the skill sets no team will be able to perform effectively in the digital area."
To think sales and marketing teams do not need these skills is "a massive misunderstanding that no company can afford in the long run."
In Rob Peters article, Peters starts his article with this, "Forrester predicts that by 2020, one million B2B professional will be eliminated. I predict that B2B salespeople are going to become more strategic to growth than ever. Yes, digital technology is having a profound effect on B2B sales models. However, there are facets of selling that software algorithms just cannot replace." What are these facets that cannot be replaced?
- Automation vs Human or Automation with Human. With more things automated, sales professionals must adjust. But they will still be needed. To act with the automations.
- Earning relationship capital is still a human interaction. Building this human-to-human relationship is strategic in B2B sales
"The past ten years have seen increasing technological advances, but technology cannot replace the human interation that builds relationship captial required to become a trusted resource. Buyers will always need support determining the optimal solutions." Use the new technology, it won't replace you.
In Brian Halligan's slideshare, Halligan shows a funnel diagram with the categories (starting at top): suspects, prospects, leads, opportunities, and new customers. Suspects and prospects are under the category of marketing, leads and opportunities under sales, and new customers and satisfaction under customer service. It's important to know, whether in marketing or sales, what your role and job will be.
Listening and gaining business understanding are more important selling skills than persuasion; creativity is more important than product knowledge. (Neil Rackham & John DeVincentis)
Look at the rest of the slideshare to read on different case studies.
In a slideshare by Jake Atwood, Atwood introduces 18 ways to reach the decision makers in any company. A few of them are:
- If you're already working with other companies withn the decision-maker's industry, use voicemail or email to mention the impact your company has made
- Send a hand written card explaining yourself and what you want (a meeting...)
- Tailor your approach to the executive's current needs. Is there an initiative or trend you can impact?
- Remember that people make decisions based on emotion. In your emails or voicemails, make sure you convey confidence and belief in your solution. Believe in the value you can offer.
- Be bold. Again with the confidence.
Find Jake: LinkedIn
In this article by Yaseen Dadabhay, the author writes, "If I've learned anything about success in my relatively short time on Earth, it's that in order to have any chance to obtain it, it's really important to surround yourself with people that are better at what they do than you are at what you do."
Having friends and mentors that inspire you to be the best you can be will make a huge difference in your life.
But who are your perfect mentors? Many people in your area of expertise might be successful, but not the right fit for you. Wondering who to pick?
"Your prospects should have a solid connection to what you're trying to do." They don't have to be directly related to your field but you and your mentor should have similar type goals. Look at a couple different options, review what they do and what you admire about them. Next?
Make the call. "The thing to remember when you're first establishing contact with you mentor prospect is that you're not just out to be a leech." Call them upmm, email them, get to know them on a personal level. And remember that there is no such thing as a one way relationship. Offer ideas and feedback consistently.