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Seeking New Sales Techniques? Look Beyond Digital

The best prospecting strategies require a human touch.

account-based salesBuyers know everything about our companies, products, and solutions before they ever speak to a salesperson. Believe that? Far too many sales reps do. They think that digital rules. So, they spend most of their time staring at screens—doing demos, sending emails, and interacting on social media.

None of that would be bad, if reps were hitting quota. But most likely 57 percent of reps won’t make quota this year.

Perhaps if what you’re doing isn’t working, new sales techniques are in order? Or better yet, some old ones.

Why People Skills Still Matter in the Digital Age

New research from McKinsey finds that the digital world requires a human touch for salespeople to excel. They need to be masters of digital communication and analog communication, and just as importantly, they need to know when to use which.

McKinsey summarizes this challenge in “The secret to making it in the digital sales world: The human touch.” The researchers write:

There’s no doubt that digital is rocket fuel for sales organizations. B2B sales leaders using digital effectively enjoy five times the growth of their peers who are not at the cutting edge of digital adoption. But a recent McKinsey survey of B2B customers highlighted a more nuanced reality. What customers most desire is great digital interactions and the human touch.

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 five times more revenue, eight times more operating profit, and, for public companies, twice the return to shareholders. That data holds true over a four- to five-year period.

Many sales organizations, however, have trouble putting this human-digital program into practice. The truth is that there are no tried-and-true methods. Companies need to create the human-digital blend that is most appropriate for their business and their customers.

(Read the rest of the article.)

McKinsey also created a template of what this human/digital communication preference looks like throughout the buying cycle, based on their surveys of business buyers. But be warned: It won’t work for all businesses, in all industries, and with all clients. You need to know what your customers want from you, which means you need to ask.

What Sales PEOPLE Bring to the Table

Salespeople still have a role to play, and an important one. In fact, buyers might just need us now more than ever. Our clients don’t need information. They need help uncovering the best solutions to strengthen their businesses. This is done by an experienced salesperson who knows how to ask the right questions, who knows how to use new sales techniques and when to have a good old-fashioned conversation.

We will never replace real human engagement with tweets, status updates, “click here” buttons, or automated lead generation tools. As John Naisbitt writes in High Tech/High Touch: Technology and Our Search for Meaning, “The more high tech, the more high touch we desire.”

Well my friend, things are getting pretty high tech, so buyers are needing a lot more high touch right about now.

To learn more about the most high-touch prospecting strategy of all, check out my new referral sales training courses on LinkedIn Learning.

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