Is this now the age of Digital Selling?

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In my previous article I posed a question concerning how we conduct business development in the context of the ‘new normal’. In this article I am going to suggest changes we all need to think about making, and why.

We are all in it together!

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit us all. Being honest there isn’t a business development person out there, whether an IT Sales person like me or a partner in a Professional Services firm, who wouldn’t prefer doing business development face to face. It allows you to build rapport and to get to know your customers better and faster and to be able to pick up on cues you might miss doing things remotely, eg body language.

At ANS we took part in some interesting training a week or two ago given by Phil Quirk of PQ-Performance Ltd. You can find out more about Phil here: https://pq-performance.com/

In this training Phil discussed why meeting face to face is so fundamental to good communication, and important in business development.

Research tells us that only 7% of effective communication comes from what we actually say. 55% comes from our body, movements, facial expressions, arm movements and more. And the rest, 38%, comes from our voice tone, modulation etc. This just shows the power of face to face and what we are now missing from our traditional business development practices.

But what do we do when we can’t meet face to face?

The most prevalent solution over these past months during the pandemic has been the rise of the video call. Microsoft announced on 28 October (article can be found here) that Microsoft Teams reached 115 million daily active users. This is huge!

Moreover, this transition to a hybrid more remote work model has meant that the age of collaboration is up as well. People don’t just open Teams to join a meeting then leave they live and work in Teams all day. Collaboration is fast becoming the norm.

In this same announcement Microsoft announced a new metric of daily collaboration minutes. This quarter Microsoft say their users around the world generated more than 30 billion collaboration minutes in a single day. The mind boggles at numbers like this but it shows that the shift to digital is happening internally in our working days and it begs the following question.

Should our acceleration to Digital Selling shift as well?

I believe it should. The use of technology and in particular the likes LinkedIn and Dynamics 365, and the advanced AI and relationship tools available within those can really start to accelerate business transformation to Digital Selling. If you don’t adapt, chances are your competitors will, and that’s at the heart of why we all should be looking at how technology can influence our transition to Digital Selling.

This brings us to a fundamental question of can Digital Selling fill the gap of face to face?

Well in my opinion the obvious answer to that is no. But, this pandemic looks like it’s going to be with us for a while, so we need to adapt, change and see what Digital Selling can do for us as businesses.

I recently came across a podcast between Jen Sieger and Barbara Giamanco on Barbara’s podcast, Women In Sales, which can be listened to here. Jen spearheaded Microsoft’s transition to digital sales even before the pandemic and some interesting advice came out on how to succeed and enhancing your digital sales processes. In terms of results, Microsoft saw a doubling of qualified leads by implementing some key Digital Selling techniques and processes. The tools used included some AI within their CRM, that stat ranked their leads based on over 200 data points, helping prioritise the focus of the sellers on hot and warm leads whilst also maintaining a more nurturing status on the colder ones.

This is huge! If we can double the top of our pipeline, what could come out of the bottom of the funnel and be converted?!

This shows that Digital Selling is something that all businesses, perhaps particularly Professional Services should be looking at.

In my next article I am going to look at the tools that we use to support some of our customers in their journey to Digital Selling, and how combining those tools with our simplified approach to fast adoption is key for that successful transition to Digital Sales.

Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope you are looking forward to the next article!

Written by Neil Stewart