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4 vital skills for sales teams in a digital age

6th Mar 2018
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Even digital savvy-millennials often lack the skills it takes to propel them to sales success in the digital age, says Caroline Beaton in Forbes. Fortunately, with the right training, sales teams of any age can acquire key skills they can leverage to produce record sales in today’s connected business environment.

1. Agility

Today’s buzzword for the ability to adapt to and overcome roadblocks, agility is crucial in an ever-changing digital sales environment, advises Beaton. New developments in technology often make today’s sales software obsolete. An agile learner will dive into new programs, learn them inside and out, and implement them to ensure success in sales.

Furthermore, agility allows sales teams to look at alternate sales solutions when one strategy doesn’t work. Thinking on one’s feet allows a sales team to come up with a Plan B and C that will clinch the sale.

2. Online Research Skills

Kyle Porter, writing for sales software giant Salesforce, underscores the need for comprehensive research skills online. Digging deep into the characteristics of your company’s typical customers can help you construct a customer persona for each category. Knowledge of their pain points, preferences, demographics—and even their likes and dislikes—can help you target a sales strategy that meets their every need.

With the knowledge of where to go to find this data—Google and Facebook are treasure troves—you can create targeted ads that reach just the right people for your products or services. When you not only know where to go—but how to mine all the information you need—you can utilize this data to pinpoint strategies for each of your customers.

3. Customer-Specific Marketing Channel Knowledge

In a Mashable article, Scott Gerber interviewed several digital marketing experts for their suggestions for those in digital sales. LocalVox expert Trevor Summers stressed the need for sales professionals to know which marketing channels—social media, email, white papers, case studies, audio, or video—work best with their specific customer base. Again, having a customer persona can help sales teams identify their customers’ preferred way to receive information.

Furthermore, when talking about how social selling has changed the sales process, the Digital Marketing Institute says it pays to narrow down your digital marketing efforts to only the social media your particular customer base frequents. For example, Pinterest is a fabulous way to show off your company’s wares if you’re a crafts firm, a garment manufacturer, or a florist. E-commerce companies also benefit from this particular marketing channel.

For others, however, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram may be their preferred method of contact. Local restaurants and stores, on the other hand, need to land high in the local search results for Yelp and Google Maps, and LinkedIn is an essential platform for B2B brands.

4. Good Listening Skills

Salesforce’s Porter stresses that good listening never goes out of style. Unfortunately, he hints, many sales teams become “crocodile salespeople”—all mouth and no ears. In the digital age, though, good listening goes way beyond in-person conversations.

Striking up conversations with current and potential customers online—whether in social media, texts, or emails—is a huge plus for a sales team that follows Porter’s advice. Instead of the standard sales spiel, listen to what it is that the customer wants. Address their concerns, their pain points. Position yourself as an authority in your field by providing useful information, not a pushy hard-sell pitch.

Interact with customers when they comment on blog posts, Yelp, or other online review platforms. The better you solve their problems, the more your reputation will grow as a trustworthy sales team.

How to Build Enthusiasm for Digital-Age Sales Skills in Your Team

Just like you would with a customer, use your own sales skills to build enthusiasm for skills-specific training programs to get your team up to speed with the latest digital sales skills. Show them the carrot—the benefits they’ll reap once they have those skills. Dig up the latest statistics to show them that these skills translate to real dollars and fewer hours on the road. Listen to their gripes about lagging sales, and then give them a training solution that can help refuel their passion.

Build confidence, effectiveness, and agility in your sales force by updating your teams’ skills with training that can help them lead the way in digital marketing in your niche.

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