If you’re running a business, you’re likely handling sales of one form or another. It could be you personally nurturing leads and bringing in new customers, or it might be an entire department of staff working hard to follow up and secure the sale, moving the customer to the onboarding process.
Whether your target market is individual consumers, other businesses, or even regulatory or governmental offices, managing the sales is a major consideration for the success of a company.
Traditionally, sales happened in person. Everything from tupperware to new pharmaceutical products (in the US) have been sold “door-to-door” (or office-to-office). But as we’ve heard many times before, the acceleration of the digital world means sales have moved to an online environment. And of course, the pandemic had its impact on this as in most other business operations.
Sales moving to an online space
With a significantly reduced ability for sales representatives to travel or to appear in person at all, emphasis was of course placed on the medium we’ve all become very familiar with: video calls.
Prospecting, approaching the potential lead, and presentation now all had to occur digitally, forcing salespersons to determine just how to ensure their product or service comes across as appealing in a fully virtual environment. And how to stand out from the sudden influx of other digital sales approaches.
In the business world, director and management level staff were suddenly bombarded with more emails than ever before - people reaching out to secure a sale. And this time the entire sales process, from introduction to closing would occur online.
Like traditional in-person sales, much of the success can be attributed to the skills of the salesperson involved. While that can translate well to a digital environment for many, the sales person can’t just rely on their prowess and luck. Today, customers and businesses not only expect a digital sales pitch, they expect a fully digitalized sales workflow.
Why digital workflows matter for sales
Even the most talented salesperson’s efforts can be sidelined by a poor product or service experience. In the digital age there are arguably more obstacles when it comes to finalizing the sale. The website experience, the sign up process, and even the online reputation of the company all come into play.
So what are the best practices for ensuring a smooth and quick sale in the virtual age? Studies show that customers are more demanding than ever when it comes to the end-to-end experience of dealing with a new product or service. So it’s within the interest of the salesperson to be able to:
- Offer a clear online process. Whether it’s an online shopping portal, a sign up page, or a more detailed onboarding process with KYC/AML questions, companies today need to provide a smooth, clear step-by-step that is relatively intuitive for the new customer/user/client.
Customers can quickly become frustrated or annoyed with a complicated, messy, or otherwise tedious online process and the temptation to simply click out of the entire experience is all too real. The best way to counter this is to ensure that the process they’re sent into offers a smooth digital workflow.
- Indicate high digital trust. If a customer is entering payment details such as credit card or bank account information to purchase a product, or if they are providing more personal data, they need to know that not only the website, but that the company itself is trustworthy.
Building and maintaining digital trust is crucial for businesses operating in the online world today. Companies can show digital trust by building secure websites, requiring login details, and even identity authentication measures. Internally, companies can complete security standard certifications such as the ISO 27001.
- Make it easy to become a customer. Related to the first point, not only are customers expecting a clear process in a digital experience, they expect a fast one as well. When it comes to sales, sending endless attachments back-and-forth via email to finalize a sale is technically digital but far from appealing.
Providing a fully online workflow that includes the final steps such as collecting electronic signatures, all in one place, not only significantly reduces the time a customer must spend on the process, but also the time spent by the salesperson as well - helping businesses cut costs and salespeople gaining back time to focus on new leads.
The digital sales experience today depends on more than just the skills of the salesperson and a good product or service. It hinges on the first experiences the customer has with the sales process. Providing clear, streamlined digital workflows can not only speed up these sales processes, it can make all the difference in a completed or abandoned sale.