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For ten years I have put an enormous amount of energy and time into understand digital sales, and what digitalization actually means in communication, marketing and sales. Also, I have invested a great amount of money. Luckily, some of the investments have borne fruit. I have frequently visited the United States and London and found the best people who are at the top of their league in digitalization.
It has been my great ambition to produce this text. Now I will tell you what the point of digital sales is. In my opinion it’s as big as the invention of the telephone. Phones have existed for years, but very few understood their power in the beginning. Let’s look at what digital sales is.
Point number one is that this thing called digital sales exists. Everyone wants hot leads in B2B marketing. Where do the leads come from?
From marketing, of course. The purpose of marketing is to bring hot leads to sales, and then it’s the sales’ job to close the deal.
In the old world the lead could come from trade fairs in the form of a business card. What if the lead isn’t hot, but lukewarm? Or cold? I have the business card, so who cares?
The question is: Can I nurture the customer with scalability? Think, if I could nurture a big group of customers… I’m talking about a massive group, even thousands of people! That would be intense!
This is what it’s all about in digital sales: We can nurture thousands of people on a weekly basis! It’s impossible to personally meet thousands of people, or even phone them all.
“Really interesting, but we have other things going on at the moment”.
This pattern goes on, and on, and on. What do we do in between the meetings? Most people wait aggressively by the phone, expecting a phone call or an email from the customer.
What if WE sent messages to them? We have their business card; we have the right to send them messages and emails. Messages can be written by the salespeople or by a professional who was present at the meeting. Messages should contain personal professional knowledge, meaning we give the customer our best practices for free -experiences and cases, for example.
Text Messages can also be sent, marketing review reports, for example. The content has to contain substance, this means something that the customer wouldn’t come to think of on their own. A business has a lot of experience from its own field, and that’s the kind of information and know-how that the customer probably isn’t aware of, which makes it both insightful and valuable.
The customer needs to be nurtured with information and understanding, and we shouldn’t be guarding it jealously! This is called digital sales.
The second option is receiving an email address from the marketing department, without even meeting the person. We can, however, begin to nurture this customer personally through digital sales, just like I’m now telling you about all this. Yes, our idea behind these blogs is to give you sneak peeks and valuable insights. We not only want you to get something practical, that you can implement on your own, but to also get a clear idea if you would like to have us help you more in-depth. (Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.)
As I’m writing this blog, I’m at our vacation home in the Porvoo archipelago. We just arrived here with my wife. I have an office here as well, from which I work remotely quite often.
The thing about email addresses is so interesting. If I were a CEO of a big company or working in a company with tens of people, I would give the market one central measure:
“How many email addresses have you collected during this month?”
Clicks are only a waypoint. The culmination of the click is the email address. Did you get the address or not? Immediately when we have the address, we can launch a marketing automation sequence of multiple emails that contain substantial value for the lead. Not spam, valuable substance.
Digital sales is the same thing as the coming of the telephone. Before cell phones we, of course, knew how to sell. We went straight to the customer and knocked on their door and met them. Of course, letters were sent, and advertisements were posted in magazines. But then, cell phones came. Was the salesperson with a phone more efficient than the guy who ran around meeting everyone in person? OF COURSE, because they had the time to call many more people.
Now we can do digital sales! A massive amount of people can be reached with digital sales. Thousand times more than before with just a phone.
First of all, I can create a personal, professional relationship with the customer. When I write this text for you to read, I need to speak to you as an individual. I’m not speaking in a large auditorium; I’m speaking to you as an individual and sharing my best tricks with you. This is how a bond is created between us. On the video it’s even more lively.
You begin to know me, and that is, of course, valuable. That’s when a customer might think:
¨Hey, that guy seems to know a lot and he’s telling me lots of useful things for free. In fact, I might start following this guy, because he seems so nice.”
I have many whom I like and follow quite intensely. Of course, all the time I don’t have the energy to read the messages I’ve received, but very often I look at them.
In 2007 I met Chris Cardell in London, and I have followed him ever since. He sends five messages a week, which I always don’t have the energy to read. I know, however, that in the beginning he gave me so much for free, that I was amazed and didn’t understand how that could’ve been profitable for the business. This is the catch. A person can sense this person genuinely wants to help, and not only sell.
There is always someone who needs help and will buy. But it’s wonderful if one can help businesses to succeed, even if they carried out a plan their own way without asking me for help. That’s the great mission. Of course, money needs to flow in. Someone always needs help in practice, but if someone can improve their business using the info I share, or some other presentation, it’s just wonderful!
There is no need of being scared of the competition. They can copy, but they also have their own beliefs and framework and their own way of doing things. It isn’t so easy to copy, and if someone copies me, I’ll be just around the corner the very next week developing something new, so at least in my business, the competition doesn’t matter because I move faster than the competitors can copy and implement my stuff. By they time they successfully develop and deploy my things, I have already made that same thing obsolete through new innovations.
This way I can nurture thousands of people weekly. At the moment I have five thousand CEOs and management leaders on my mailing list, to whom I send a minute-long video every week. This type of short video is hard to do, because it can’t contain any extra word, because one minute is a very short time. I can easily speak 20 minutes or even 2-3 minutes, but compressing everything to a one minute speech is challenging. Every word needs to be examined, in order to make sure there is substance in the video.
I can share my message to thousands of people all at once. My customer’s salesman Jani had found 3500 contacts on LinkedIn, that could potentially be interested in the company’s services. He has met several customers face to face, altogether about 200. What does he do with the remaining 3300? Does he aggressively wait for someone to call? That’s when he realized he can approach them digitally and personally. There’s no way he would have the time to call all three thousand and meet them. Instead, he can nurture them. When the time is right and the customer realizes they need help, that’s when Jani might get a call or an email from a customer – without ever meeting them. Jani is already familiar to the customer.
I recently learned a new thing from my guru: Don’t create new content, document what you did”.
You don’t have to make up content! Just explain what you learned. That’s why I’m trying to become sensitive towards the moment I experience a Heureka-moment. Every week I get a feeling that “this was pretty interesting, I’ve learned something new”. I make a video about what I’ve learned, and send it off every Thursday.
I have been doing this for so long, that I suddenly have an archive of 300 videos! Producing a one-minute video no longer takes that long, because I’ve standardized the process for myself. Before, I was thinking a lot about how to get them done in my everyday life and what kind of technology and lighting I need. Here’s a tip for you: Talk with someone, who has figured things out and can help you get started. That way things go easy. Also, the best thing is that recording a video doesn’t have to cost you any money.
The goal of B2B sales is the meeting. Not the fact that the deal would be done on the internet. These deals are usually very big. Nobody orders anything online with big sums of money, they invite you to a meeting. Then the traditional and physical offer negotiations begin. The goal in B2C is to secure the purchase. Same principles as in B2B apply, but closing is different online.
Everyone wants traffic on their webpage. They want the email address. Traffic is wanted and it can either happen fast or slowly. Buying traffic is faster. In other words we advertise our pages to a large group on Facebook or LinkedIn. We get people to click and to download our “magnet”. The price is the email address. The feature of bought traffic is that it fades, people stop following after a while even though they had clicked on the link.
However, the traffic that comes from people who find our webpage on their own or through Google, is the traffic we own, because we have their email addresses. Even though Facebook, LinkedIn and everything would end, we have email. Facebook and LinkedIn can identify the people who have visited their pages. That’s when we can buy advertisements that are published directly to these people on those platforms, not outside of the platforms. However, we don’t get their email addresses if we just rely on advertising on the massive digital platform and ecosystems. We don’t own the traffic, which means we are in trouble if we are banned from using the advertising systems on these platforms.
The blue line in the image above is more valuable in the long run, but it is advisable to use both ways of traffic in the beginning.
Many think email is a disappearing medium and that nobody has time or bothers to read them. Yes, nobody reads a message that isn’t relevant to them! I say, however, that the receiver will most definitely read the message if it’s truly relevant to them.
A magnet has to exist, something that they want for themselves. It could be an e-book or a video series. A CTA (Call to Action) button is placed on the web page stating “Order this”, or “Download here”, for example. The email address is the what the user gives in exchange for the thing that they want.
It’s interesting when I asked a company management how many email addresses they have. They didn’t know! This in my opinion states that nobody has acknowledged that a new telephone has been invented. Otherwise they would’ve known the exact amount. This morning I had 7416 addresses, 5000 of which are in Finland and the remaining ones abroad. I can see these numbers directly in my information dashboard, and I keep track of them often — daily or weekly.
This is an important point: Email addresses form my list. I have many many addresses on my list and together they are a huge asset, capital to our business. The list is important because it consists of current customers as well as prospective customers. If we have a quality list, it raises the valuation of our company.
The list is absolutely essential: You should collect email addresses, and in a way that the person is willing to give it. Then you grow the list systematically. This is the reason I would set the amount of new email addresses as a central KPI (Key Performance Indicator).
Of course people will leave the list when they no longer want to follow – and that’s ok. The more people leave, the better. That’s when the quality of the list grows because you don’t want to spam people who are not interested in the information that you are sending out. I, as well, clean out my list. I intend to send everyone that hasn’t followed or looked at my mails, a message. I will inform them that I will stop sending mails to them, but they can continue the subscription by clicking the button in the email.
Once the message has been written, you don’t need to do it again. The computer takes care of the rest. Some people can think that automation makes the message impersonal. It isn’t impersonal, it’s me writing it! It’s just that the message comes with a delay. That’s how it was during the war when a letter came from the trenches. The letter had been written by a person, it just took time to arrive at its destination. The message has to be written in real time with a personal touch, but the delivery comes with a delay.
Digital sales allows us to take care of personal customer relationship development in a scalable fashion, in practice this means thousands of people. You are giving valuable information for free. The content has to be so solid, something you find difficult to decide if it is a smart choice to hand it out, because it something so valuable. You however are an expert, and you know how hard it is to actually implement your expertise. So even if the other party gets super high-value information, then they may not even have it in them to successfully implement that information. Those who truly value your expertise and value their own time, will realize that the most valuable choice for them is to contract you to help them out personally. Those who don’t value your input, come to the conclusion that they much rather do things by themselves. That is fine, because you will have more time to dedicate to the customers who actually value your input. Everybody wins.
“Wow, I’m getting so much for free, I wonder what I would get if I paid?”
Learn to collect email addresses and how to systematically build the list.
The goal of B2B sales is to get the meeting.
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Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.
We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.
Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.