It’s not unusual for a business to struggle, especially when it comes to sales. Some of these struggles can be the result of a poor economy, burned out sales people or a perceived lack of demand (which raises the question, how hard are your sales people working?)
Generally, the main reason for a failure to sell is an antiquated process. The digital age is well and truly established, yet still so many businesses fail to move with the times. Instead, they will continue to employ industrial age processes that should have been put to pasture years ago.
External Sales People – Need to be utilised efficiently for effectiveness
The External Sales person still has a very big role to play in your sales success, but ask yourself is their process relevant? What kind of sales person are they? Do they go for the jugular the minute they find themselves in front of a doe-eyed prospect, who in turn, ups and runs for the hills.
Are they too lackadaisical in their approach, expecting the sale to find them? What are they doing to find new business? Are they networking? Where are they networking? This is a very important question to ask and something you should know.
I was talking to a business owner at a recent networking event and he tells a story about why he created a local networking group. His process was one that required his presence at a local chamber lunch or golf day, an evening drink at the local watering hole or when required, knocking on the doors of a few businesses in his area. These would lead to a handful of business cards on a Friday night which equated to next weeks work. But guess what, it’s not 1972 anymore, people and times have moved on.
Why you need to embrace Digital Sales
A good question to ask yourself is when it comes to new business, are you or your sales staff making the most of the opportunities that digital platforms such as LinkedIn can provide?
Have you even considered it? Have you reviewed and analysed your methods?
Let’s face it, door to door, telemarketing and cold calling just aren’t the way of doing things anymore. There’s too many obstacles and pitfalls which leads to a lot of sunken investment from you the business owner.
I would question any Salesperson (or business owner) in a B2B industry, who isn’t engaging at least 50% of their lead generation time using LinkedIn. Here is a platform that can deliver you the decision makers of millions of businesses worldwide, or hundreds of businesses locally. The opportunity is right there. There are no excuses.
Of course, it’s not just a matter of logging in to LinkedIn, getting yourself set up and expecting a flood of enquiries to come through. A good sales process needs refining over months of trailing and testing. Just like any other sales process somethings will stick, other won’t, however the use of LinkedIn is going to give you a greater return because you can reach the world from your desk.
Getting the process right – Test! Test! Test!
Ok, I’m going to get on my soap box here for a few seconds, so please endulge me as it is for your benefit.
There is NO COOKIE CUTTER METHOD to lead generation through LinkedIn. I have attended dozens of webinars by so called LinkedIn experts who say they have the most unbelievable process that they will let you have access to (for thousands of dollars) and in return you’ll end up with a bunch of templates and an overwhelming feeling that you have just been had.
Well, sadly you have, I’m very sorry to say.
You can’t learn a LinkedIn Lead Generation sales process in a one-on-one, thirty minute Skype call. IMPOSSIBLE!! And anyone who tells you different, should not be trusted.
Depending on your product or service, a lead generation process can take anywhere between 12 and 24 months to get close to being great. Yes, you will have successes, but you will also have struggles. You constantly need to be tweaking, testing, measuring. It’s a never-ending process.
Starting to sound like a lot of work? Maybe, too much hard work? It’s not as hard as it sounds, you will just find that the so-called experts make it sound much easier than it is because at the end of the day it’s their business to sell to you – and good business at that.
Where to from here?
Firstly, you need to take the steps to commit to a new digital sales process, once you have you need to engage the right help
Find a good coach/mentor – A good LinkedIn coach will see the value in a client and invest time back in to them, making a good LinkedIn coach a real rarity. But there are indeed a few around, they will help you get set up, refine your process, train your sales team and get everyone working efficiently. You might not need to look too far, they may already be someone on your staff who is underutilised.
Find an agency and outsource – There are agencies out there that can take the pain of your digital sales process away from you. They have adapted their own processes that can be used as a foundation for your business. I do suggest that you put some good research in to this, any agency who agrees to take on your work without a full day strategy session and a follow up briefing meeting, won’t get you the results. Again, you are looking for an investment of time and an experienced team who can manage and drive the process which you will oversee.
With the right people behind you and the right process in place, your days of sales frustration will be over. Be warned it’s not a silver bullet, it’s just what you need to be doing.