During recent months, companies have been forced to make drastic changes to their operations. The value your business provided yesterday might be irrelevant today, and how you communicate might need to be tweaked. As the world changes, companies adapt, and you might find yourself contemplating: How can I leverage a multichannel approach to sales? What can I do to maximise sales? What are the tools you can use to support you in the sales process? What is the power of relationships in selling? And ultimately, what is the recipe for modern sales?
Let’s hear it from the best, aka three sales professionals, who discussed the next generation sales and the most critical tools for successful sales strategies at Epicenter’s PWR Hour hosted in October, moderated by Epicenter’s Country Manager Riika Jakovuori.
Markku Kosonen, the CEO of M Room, Europe’s biggest barbershop franchising concept, has been able to find the relevant customers through a smart and savvy strategy. Like many others, they started the sales activities through print and digital discount coupons, offering discounted or free first haircuts. Since then, they have been able to take a major leap towards a smart digital sales approach, disrupting otherwise a very traditional business.
‘’It used to be a lot of leg work before, but now social media has taken over, and we are able to target our customers and efficiently find the ones in need of a haircut’’, says Kosonen.
“Even though leg work should never be underestimated, it is crucial to know the need and be local”, he adds.
Sani Leino, the CEO of Social Company believes that although social selling is gaining foothold, there is still a lot of work left to be done Finland and the rest of Europe. He consistently points out how companies should be tactically targeting in places where the clients are searching for solutions. One should be able surprise the client and know what they want before they even realize it. Here, conducting a thorough research on the company you want to sell to is the key building block.
According to Leino, a modern sales strategy can be boosted by focusing on three areas: knowing where your customers are, mapping when they are in need of a service and understanding what kind of service a particular customer needs. He believes that the real opportunity hit us the moment smart phones became the number one device for people. Companies were handed the opportunity to target their customers much more efficiently and find much more relevant information regarding their interests.
Mika Jordanov, working as a Sales Partner at Vainu, explains that consumers are accustomed to doing a lot of background research before making a purchase decision or visiting a store. Thus even before meeting any sales reps, consumers traditionally have a good understanding of the product and/or offering in question. This is, however, not the case when it comes to B2B sector. According to Jordanov the B2B field is light years away from getting to know their client in advance. He believes that knowing the company who you want do business with thoroughly will most likely take the negotiations to a whole different level, allowing you to offer the customer something they didn’t realise they needed to begin with.
Kosonen says that customers still want to have a good haircut but everything else in the business has changed.
“Ten years back, the customers cut their hair approximately ten times a year, while in 2017 it had increased to 17 times annually. Teaching them to come every three weeks took some time”, he states.
He also says that waiting has become a big ‘no-no’ for many people, guiding sellers to meet their needs. M Room, for example, has adapted by making the waiting areas smaller and by developing an online application, allowing customers to know when to enter. By doing so, the need for space has decreased, saving also the customer’s precious time.
Jordanov believes that a good sales person should be continuously eager to learn and never think one is ready. He says that nowadays, it is very easy to take online classes on CRM and other fast changing tools to stay on top of prevailing trends.
“The time span of becoming a dinosaur has changed from five to one year. You have to keep on studying and educating yourself about the latest technology”, he says. He advises sales people to benchmark from the most successful companies in their industry.
Laine says that during the pandemic and in times of constant change, people prefer to receive human messages rather than corporate communications. Organisations should thus interact with their clients personally, via social channels and personalised interaction. By doing so, a much greater emotional reaction can be created.
“Nobody wants to really receive ads, but if there is a real person writing the posts with his/her name or even a made-up name, it is much more engaging and powerful”, he says.
He believes that employees and individuals often dread posting updates on LinkedIn or other social channels as they are afraid of making mistakes or addressing the ‘wrong’ things. He, however, encourages people to be bold and activating personal social media accounts. By building a coherent personal brand online, the opportunities are limitless.
When it comes to social selling, social media seems to be here to stay. When used strategically, companies are able to utilise social channels to scale their value to customers, reach people in various ways, target, measure, learn from the data, follow, engage and close sales. Benchmarking can be seen as a great way to learn from what the industry leaders are saying and prospect what the next steps for your company should be. As the pandemic is still very much present, the prevailing global situation has had its effect on sales, allowing technology to play more and more important role in future communication.
“Don’t worry, take care of yourself and make sure to utilise all the tools available to the fullest. Social media is the new fast and global hand shake that enables you to do things that you never imagined before. In this area, much like in any other, the fastest learner wins”, Kosonen concludes.
Here are the top six tips for becoming successful in modern sales:
At Epicenter, we host 150+ community events annually, focusing on value-driven content, knowledge sharing and networking. Make sure to keep an eye on our constantly updated community event calendar to join us to learn in our upcoming sessions.