Friday 16 January 2015

As Digital Marketing Takes Over As The De-Facto Standard For Most Business, How Should That Affect Your Sales Recruitment Policy?

When recruiting sales staff, most companies should bear in mind that the old “banging on doors,” mentality is largely redundant, due mainly to the changes in marketing methods and lead generation technology.

So what qualities do sales recruiters now need to look for in a typical salesperson?

I fully accept and acknowledge that every company is different and what works for one may not work for another but the onslaught of inbound digital marketing processes has caught many organisations off-guard and left them reeling.

The biggest change witnessed by many has been the change in the way that leads are generated and the degree to which the prospect has progressed along the sales process when an enquiry is made.

Take, for example, PPC, (Pay Per Click) marketing as a method of generating leads.

PPC works something like this:

A prospective customer for your product or service carries out a search on Google, (there are other versions of this for Bing & Yahoo as well as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook).

He  or she enters the search terms that are relevant to the product they are searching for, eg:

“Volkswagen Golf”

and they are shown a page of results which includes a number of ads or “sponsored messages”. These ads are small, (Google only allows a total of 95 characters in total, 45 less than a Tweet), so they have to come straight to the point, e.g:

Wide Range of VW Golf
Low prices, part exchange welcome
New & Used, call for test drive

What happens next is very important - so far, the business owner who placed this ad has not spent a penny. If, and only if, the prospect clicks on the ad and is taken to the website, does Google make a charge for showing the ad, hence “Pay Per Click”.

Now, lets imagine that the prospect is more specific when making their search:

“Buy VW golf”
“Used VWGolf prices”
If either of the above variations is used, i.e. the word “buy” or “prices” is included in the search, then this is an indication of intent. They are going to buy - all the salesperson has to do is respond accordingly when answering to any enquiry generated by this process.

Because the salesperson is aware of the search terms used he or she can gauge their response accordingly. The “tyre kickers” can be sent a simple email offering more assistance if required whereas the prospect who included “buy,” or "used" in the search phrase would definitely be worth a bit more effort, planning and a follow-up email or telephone call if possible.

Now that many organisations are generating sales leads this way, the level of data available to the salesperson is much more detailed than ever before.

Has this made the sales process easier? Well, yes it probably has but the problem is - it has made it easier for everyone, including your competitors.

So what qualities are needed in a salesperson now that were not needed before?

The main difference is in the way that people expect to be interacted with in a way which is appropriate to their method of enquiry.

In some cases, an online shop for example, there may not be any interaction, the buyer will place their order and that’s all there is to it, but this type of operation will probably not employ salespeople anyway.

In other cases however, the enquiry is just that, an enquiry. Yes, the prospect does intend to buy but they still need convincing that yours is the right company to buy from.

Enter the salesperson. This time, however, it is a well-informed salesperson, armed with a pile of relevant data about the prospect. 

The exact details that they searched for, when and where they searched. Where they saw details of the product - was it Google, Facebook, LinkedIn or on a specialist website about cars, or golf, or whatever is relevant?

If a telephone number has been provided then a quick call could close the business. If no number is provided then maybe we have the email address - a quick response offering a catalogue, a test drive, or a free assessment, whatever is relevant, should clinch it - after all we already know what the prospect searched for, looked at, and responded to.

So yes, we are still recruiting salespeople, they still need to be ambitious, hard working and enterprising but, crucially, they also have to be responsive. Today’s inbound lead generation methods are sophisticated and cut out a lot of the time-wasting involved in cold calling, leaflet dropping and other outmoded methods of generating enquiries.

It follows then that when recruiting sales and marketing staff we should be looking for people who can generate focused enquiries, respond to them quickly and turn the prospect into a customer as quickly as possible. This requires an awareness of Social Media, EMail and the use of a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM), to monitor and progress leads from inception to fruition. It is also useful to have a thorough understanding of how people behave on websites and the level to which they should be interacted with.

As long as you recruit sales staff that display all of those qualities then success is assured. When using a specialist sales recruitment agency like Aaron Wallis then you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the candidates referred to you will have been assessed in order to ensure that they demonstrate the right qualities for the job that you are offering.

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