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How to Adapt to the Digital Sales Center World

Sales
Written by
David Levy

The world of selling has come a long way.

It’s no longer necessary to log hours of travel and run up a heap of expense to woo a prospect.

Many of today’s prospects don’t even want that.

They expect high-tech supported by human touch to give them a seamless, personalized buyer experience. 

How do you make that happen? 

Introducing the digital sales center. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the digital sales center and how it can offer the ultimate customer experience with stellar rep support. 

We’ll cover: 

What is a Digital Sales Center, and Why Should You Care?

A digital sales center is the modern solution to today’s digital selling world while maintaining the crucial human element.

The digital sales center provides a customer experience that harnesses the power of technology and the personalization of the human touch. 

Digital sellers engage with their prospects across video conferencing, social, mobile, web chat, and webinars.  

Mckinsey states, “The implication is that B2B sales companies have to use technology to power and optimize both digital and human interactions. Companies that add the human touch to digital sales consistently outperform their peers. They achieve 5 times more revenue, 8 times more operating profit, and, for public companies, twice the return to shareholders. That data holds true over a 4 to 5 year period.

The last 2 years have shown companies they can still hit their numbers with less T&E.

Digital Sales Centers typically support your commercial and mid-market customers. However, for Enterprise, you’ll still want a solid outside sales presence, complemented by an inside sales rep to help support the customer throughout their buying journey and beyond.

The Dangers of Getting the Wrong Balance of the Human Element + the Digital Experience

There are 2 ways your inside selling can be imbalanced. Unfortunately, both have significant downsides, so striking the right balance is imperative to satisfy your buyers.

1. Too much human element and too little digital 

Companies used to large enterprise sales cycles are especially prone to not having the systems and processes to go digital since they’ve historically relied upon walking the halls of their customers to find deals.

Sellers depending heavily on the human element, run into these issues:

  • Longer sales cycles (which can also frustrate buyers and hurt your customer experience).
  • Buyers are required to talk to a rep for every step of the journey. A buyer might have to speak with a rep for an answer that could’ve been found on an FAQ on their website.  
  • Missed action items and follow-up due to human error.
  • Misaligned sales teams. The specialist or executive from your team that you invited onto the call might not check Salesforce beforehand and won’t be well prepped for the meeting. Some issues that come from this:
  • They don’t know the deal role of the customers on the call.
  • They’re unfamiliar with the action items coming into the call.

These issues can lead to a subpar customer experience and don’t align with a digital sales center's purpose (and benefit).

2. Too much digital and too little human element

Even in today’s digital world, 76% of B2B buyers still find it helpful to talk to a rep when purchasing a new product.

Not having human touchpoints and a seamless buyer experience guided by reps could damage buyer trust and cause deals not to be made.

When a buyer has a question, it’s frustrating not to get a quick answer.

If rep touchpoints are lacking or response times are slow — the odds of a buyer choosing a competitor increases.

40% of B2B buyers say a slow response time most frustrates them in the buying process.

5 Strategies to Power the Human Buying Experience with Reps & Tech to Meet and Exceed Buyer Expectations

Your strategy needs to be both digital + human touch. The two should be woven together to create an optimal buyer experience that creates connection, forges trust, and moves the deal forward.

Connect the entire customer journey digitally with human reps

Companies must consider the end-to-end customer journey to deploy a successful digital sales center.

  • How do they engage with your reps (sales, specialists, account management, support)? 
  • Do your reps work in unison to provide an exceptional experience? 

Conduct an analysis of your market and your customers’ needs throughout the customer journey. Then, identify gaps, and build out processes, internal organization, and staff needed to adapt. 

For example:

  • Is there a step where you could integrate digital content to get customer questions answered more quickly?
  • Have you noticed customers regularly seeking time with a rep during a particular part of the sales process? Implement more human touch at this point, so your customers don’t have to ask — anticipate & meet their needs. 

Relevant content must be easily accessible to every rep throughout each step of the sales process to maintain the flow of the customer’s journey. Remember, relevant content reinforces credibility and builds confidence as buyers move through the sales process. 

Reps should be hired and trained to manage and support EVERY part of the journey. 

The goal is to support the buyer through the customer journey — through research, purchase, and customer success — to increase deals won and increase your customer LTV.

Make reps easily accessible when buyers need it

Buyers who opt for a digital experience still prefer the ability to talk to a human rep when they have a question or need more education on the product.

Buyers can be nurtured through online content and chatbots, but when they’re ready to seriously consider your solution, they should be able to easily and quickly get in contact with your reps.

Primarily digital buyers don’t want to feel like they have to talk to account managers to get the info they need. However, companies with an almost entirely digital buyer journey, can still benefit from mixing in human touch points.

Reps should be trained to act as consultants to provide quick answers and expertise to prospects when they need more than the digital content offers.

Make customer information easily accessible to your entire deal team

Storing customer information in Salesforce, then crossing your fingers that the rest of your deal team finds the information is no longer enough.

Today’s buyers (small, mid, and enterprise level) expect a customized sales journey. Having uninformed team members on a Zoom call can make buyers feel like one of many instead of one in a million. 

That feeling can leave them feeling unimpressed and uninspired.

You need to use tools to proactively bring important deal data from Salesforce to the deal team during the most critical time — when they are LIVE on a call with the customer.

This in-meeting information will complement any pre-meeting prep that a tool like Aircover can automate and send to the deal team before the meeting.

After the call ends, you’ll want to make sure you’re following up ASAP. 

We recommend a 24-hour SLA. 

To help streamline follow-ups, you can use a solution like Aircover to proactively notify you via email and Slack about WHO was on the call, WHICH noteworthy mentions were brought up, and WHAT the action items were leaving the meeting.

Aircover’s People Insights allows you to learn more about who you’re talking to, and Relationship Notes enable the seller to keep track of specific conversations.

These features help your entire sales team craft a customized sales experience for each buyer. 

Digitally enable content to be used when buyers need it most

Your organization should make it easy for customers to access information on their own to help transparency.

This includes using chatbots and having content readily available and accessible on your website.

FAQs and technical expertise should be able to be accessed on-demand — this helps customers get quick answers and saves your reps’ time for more personalized interactions.

On the other hand, during meetings…

The success of a digital sales center hinges on the right content utilized in the right situation.

Many sales organizations dabbling in digital sales simply dump a bunch of content into a CMS and hope it's found. Many reps don’t have time to dive into a CMS searching for relevant content. 

This inevitably leads to a lack of engagement between the sales rep and buyer. 

Translation — just-in-case is a total waste.

There are tools to bring just-in-time content to the seller when and where they need it most: live in a virtual meeting with their customer.

By surfacing the right content for the seller live in the meeting, your reps can provide a more seamless buying experience. 

They can address questions, relay related customer stories, field competitor questions, and get into details of a partnership on the spot without needing to schedule a follow-up call.

Additionally, reps don’t waste valuable meeting minutes manually searching for the content they need. This can slow the momentum of the call and make your rep appear less knowledgeable.

Today’s buyers not only expect but demand this type of seamless experience.

Tracking metrics + training your digital sellers

When launching your digital sales center, tracking metrics and thoroughly training your digital sellers are the keys to understanding what enablement is effective and what’s not. 

Metrics to track: 

  • Revenue growth 
  • Cross-sell revenue
  • Upsell revenue
  • Sales productivity (total sales / reps)
  • Revenue closed per rep (compared to cost per rep)  

To take full advantage of a Digital Sales Center, you'll want to set up a detailed sales process that maps the customer journey. This will help streamline the buying process, improving the above metrics. 

Your sale leadership should partner with sales enablement to help train your digital sellers on the sales process and content to support the buying journey. 

Historically, training and enablement stop when the seller leaves the 'classroom.' 

That’s old school. 

We now have an opportunity to continuously reinforce that classroom-style learning in live customer meetings, with a real-time sales assistant that supports the rep in every meeting.

Bring Your Digital Sales Center to the Future with Aircover

To maintain deal velocity and meet buyer expectations, arm your reps with the tech they need to be successful.

Your digital sales center should be powered with software that helps reps be as effective as possible while talking to buyers.

A tool like Aircover acts like JARVIS for your sellers.

It will surface relevant content based on the conversation to handle objections, answer competitor questions, and manage action items across your deals.

Your reps can sell more confidently and effectively by adding Aircover to your digital sales center. Request a demo today to find out more.