Today’s Sales Doors Are Made of Bits and Bytes

Getting your prospects to become customers has been complicated with the coming of the age of social media—or, as some call it, digital media. Not understanding the basics can prevent you from navigating through today’s new selling opportunities and markets.

A great many things influence how well a sales marketing program does in its marketplace, and often the reasons for lackluster results have a lot to do with how well your marketing strategy was framed to meet your target customer’s specific needs. Today, how you sell to a prospective customer is just as important as what you sell.

Times have changed, and the ways in which we sell have changed with them. According to Wikipedia, as of July 2011, Facebook has more than 750 million active users. That’s up from 200 million users in April 2009 when Mark Zuckerberg remarked that, “If Facebook were a country, it would be the fifth largest in the world.”

The net impact on all sales marketing people is your customers want to know, “Do you have what I need and can I find it easily and quickly?” The obvious problem here is the hundreds of thousands of media choices available and no company can effectively navigate these many waters, regardless of its size.

Twenty years ago, it would have been ridiculous to write a marketing plan that ran on every single media channel available. That would have been insanely expensive and just as out of control as any company’s marketing could become. Today, the very same principle of selectivity applies to effective marketing. Here are a few basics to guide the way:

1) Today, sales is more about having conversations and less about aggressive selling.

This is sometimes hard for seasoned sales professionals to grasp—that they are more effective by providing insights and intelligence for business problem-solving than reading someone and matching their behaviors through their chameleon-like selling technique. In years past, this was one attribute that separated truly strong sales people, but today selling is more about providing information than persuasion.

Tom Marin is the managing partner of and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.

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