What does it take to be a successful leader in digital sales? The marketing power that is available today due to digital growth and expansion doesn’t mean that the traits of successful salespeople aren’t needed. It’s a matter of translating traditional skills into an approach that is effective on a digital platform.
On both the online and offline world, sales leaders drive performance. The greatest success lies in combining digital tools with traditional methods. This means using all available tools to get the most from digital capabilities while not doing away with methods which have worked in the past.
Becoming a successful digital sales leader requires a sincere interest in growing and changing as the digital world continues to evolve. Here are seven of the important traits of a successful digital sales leader.
1 - Know the Audience
Success in any form of sales online or offline starts with knowing exactly who you are talking to and who you are actually marketing to. Do you have a clear picture of your target audience? Basic information includes income level, gender, age group and education level, but even more important information is what drives your audience and keeps them up at night.
There are some advantages to talking to people in person when you market in the offline world. When you have conversations face to face, you have a very clear picture of who they are, and you can get a better idea what type of people are showing interest in what you have to offer as well as what reactions people have if you offer something new.
In the digital world, it is still possible to have a good idea who the audience is. At times it may seem like it can be a little more challenging to know for sure who you are talking to online, but it falls to digital sales leaders to get in touch with what type of people make up the majority of the target audience. This is possible through many channels including social media interactions, surveys, and other online conversations.
Getting to know the audience means understanding what customers are thinking, and working tirelessly to meet their expectations. Know your audience, know their biggest problems and come up with solutions that can relieve their pain points.
2 - Know Who is Expressing Interest
The persona of the target audience isn’t engraved in concrete and may shift and change from time to time. While you may think you are marketing to a particular group of people, a different group of people may actually be trying to educate themselves with your content and may ultimately be interested in your products too.
Success in digital sales requires noticing who is expressing interest in what you have to offer. What type of people is downloading your white papers or signing up for your email list? Who is commenting on your blog posts, posting on social media or writing online reviews? Are they the same people that you were trying to attract to your brand? Are they in the group of people you thought you were marketing to?
It’s possible that your original target audience is still interested and engaged, but that you have also attracted a different group of people. A successful digital sales leader notices and encourages new prospects while not overlooking the original group of customers. New interested prospects may require the creation of new and different products and strategies.
3 - Pay Attention to Concerns
In the digital world, it’s possible to communicate with a wide variety of people. This includes both existing customers and people who have not yet developed any kind of loyalty to your brand.
Successful digital leadership requires paying attention to the conversations that are always going on. What are people saying on social media, either directly to your organization or to competitors? Are they expressing something that they haven’t been able to find? Are they expressing disappointment in the quality of what they’ve found so far?
What are they saying specifically about your company? Listen to the concerns of customers, particularly any that may be dissatisfied with your company, the service they’ve received or your line of products. How can you turn a dissatisfied customer into a satisfied one?
It starts with paying attention to their concerns and being open to trying to address and correct them. Pay attention to where people are saying you might be falling short, and consider how you can improve and address their concerns. Also, notice when your competitors are being criticized and make sure you are doing a better job in the area that triggered the complaints.
4 - Build Relationships with Your Audience
People can generally see when a business is only interested in sales as opposed to genuinely wanting to offer top service and information. The average salesperson may be most concerned with the bottom line, meaning customers basically only represent income potential.
A top digital sales leader is interested in building relationships, not just making sales. The leader is aware that prospects and customers want to be treated like people, not numbers. Customers want to know that company representatives care about their wants and needs, and showing them genuine interest and concern isn’t difficult.
Encourage customers to become more engaged with your content marketing, product offerings and social media postings. Participate in conversations and allow your audience to see you as a person rather than a company.
Personalized contact can be a natural way to build brand loyalty and encourage customers to keep coming back. When you show you care, they do too. True leaders offer genuine interest in having personal relationships with the audience.
5 - Assist with Digital Navigation
Prospects can get easily distracted and lost online. In a world where marketers are constantly competing for a prospect’s attention, consumers are struggling with information overload pretty much constantly.
Too much information is very confusing and often contradictory. A successful digital sales leader guides a prospect to paying attention to what’s important while navigating a confusing and sometimes overwhelming digital world.
Prospects may need guidance ignoring misinformation and finding quality content that offers true value. Valuable content doesn’t have to always come from your own organization. The point is that successful sales leaders are committed to helping prospects find the information they need, which is part of relationship-building.
6 - Take Advantage of Digital Tools and Analytics
Digital tools are very powerful for analyzing the marketplace and the success of your strategies. They are also powerful for allowing customers to access information instantly using tools like online price quotes and search engines. Digital tools also allow customers to track inventory and the timing of the delivery of their orders.
Successful digital sales leaders also include digital content that is optimized for mobile devices. They continually test the functionality of mobile apps and pay attention to feedback regarding whether mobile apps are meeting the needs of the customers.
Digital tools can also be used to support sales staff. Driving sales growth depends on being able to identify the right opportunities. Digital tools make it possible for sales staff to respond to leads and referrals very quickly.
Digital analytics can identify patterns and trends so that sales leaders can quickly respond to what’s working.
7 - Offer Availability and Responsiveness
The digital marketplace doesn’t sleep, which makes it possible to continue to attract business and make money around the clock. Customers have some expectations that go along with that.
Prospects and customers expect to be able to reach you or another representative from your company fairly quickly. If their question or concern occurs to them now, that’s when they want an answer. If you are not available to give it to them, someone else will be.
Digital information needs to be delivered immediately. At the same time, requests for communication on social media or through your website need to be responded to as promptly as possible.
Customers expect to find responsiveness, and when they don’t, they look elsewhere. When a customer has a question, they probably want an answer now, not in a day or two. Their questions are important to them and should be to you as well.
Putting it All Together
Successful leadership in the digital sales world depends on a clear vision and an ability to put together a strategy using available tools to get to know and analyze the marketplace. Leaders also work with members of the sales team to make sure they are fully trained and able to take advantage of the many opportunities that opened up with digital marketing.
Digital tools make it possible to know exactly who the target audience is and what they are looking for. Learning from customers creates opportunities for stronger relationships with the members of your audience. This allows you greater customer retention and can create much better revenue.
Leadership means continuing to grow and change with an evolving digital world, continually learning new things, reaching well beyond yesterday’s strategies in order to attain a much clearer and stronger level of possibility and success.