Selling Successfully in a Digital World with Bob Apollo, Ep #261


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In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Bob Apollo points out that for a long period of time—because of COVID—digital selling represented the only means of engagement with a potential client. He notes that it’s hard to predict where the balance will lie going forward. We likely won’t revert to the world before COVID but we’ll see a blend between face-to-face and digital selling. So how do you succeed in a world where digital rules? Listen to this episode to learn more!

Outline of This Episode
  • [1:14] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [2:24] How to improve digital selling capabilities
  • [4:44] Bob’s digital selling strategy
  • [8:10] The attributes of a great salesperson
  • [9:34] Tools, techniques, and digital selling strategies
  • [13:30] Top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [15:23] Focus on quality over quantity
Bob’s digital selling strategy

Bob believes one of the great things about the last 12–18 months—where most of the customer dialogue has happened digitally—is that we’ve had an opportunity to record and analyze the dialogue. Bob has observed that enlightened sales organizations have invested in intelligent analysis of their salespeople’s calls. It opened a window to see how the shape and structure of a conversation unfolds. This helps make the salesperson aware of their interactions with their customers and what they can improve. It can be a great coaching asset.

Bob believes that there are certain competencies and skills that are important. There are a lot of salespeople who used to just “wing it” during a customer conversation. They didn’t prepare or clarify their role—and they got away with it. In the digital world, preparation and structure are key to the success of your sales conversation. An agenda, timeframe, and conditional next steps are all important.

What are the attributes of a great digital seller? Bob shares a few characteristics he looks for, so keep listening!

Tools, techniques, and digital selling strategies

Firstly, Bob points out that you have to make sure your salespeople are working from a professional home environment. You can’t rely on a dodgy webcam, poor quality microphone, or poor internet connection. Sales organizations have made a modest investment in making sure their salespeople have digital tools that work in an environment where they can be productive.

There’s also a great benefit of using conversational intelligence and analytics tools. Social media—particularly LinkedIn—is a powerful ally for the salesperson when it comes to doing research. It gives a salesperson something relevant to say to the customer. Anything that allows and encourages a salesperson to do thoughtful research is a good thing. Research should be a platform for better conversations and better outreach. You have to go into a meeting with a clear sense of what you want to accomplish while recognizing that you still need to validate your planning in real conversation with the real customer.

One of the techniques that Bob believes has been used for quite some time is “upfront commits.” In the early part of a significant dialogue—after you’ve agreed on goals, priorities, and an agenda—you want to say something like: “Would it be reasonable if we achieve the objectives that we agreed on that our next steps would be…” You talk about where you want things to go next. It’s simple, yet powerful. It helps you achieve a meaningful advance and is a great way to keep the momentum going. Listen to the whole episode to hear Bob’s top three digital selling dos and don’ts!

Focus on quality leads over quantity of leads

Bob believes that some of the best salespeople are not the ones that have the largest number of deals in their pipeline. The successful are the ones that have chosen to focus on a more qualified pipeline. They have the discipline to not pursue every attractive opportunity. A lot of good selling comes down to hard work rather than brilliance.

Bob notes that it also partly comes down to personal confidence. Effective salespeople are confident and they will discard an opportunity when they know it’s not worth chasing. Their less confident colleagues lack that self-assurance to disqualify a weak opportunity. They’re fearful their management will question their pipeline. The bottom line? You need to be confident in your own judgment. A lack of confidence causes you to engage in useless activity that doesn’t drive the needle. It’s not about the number of calls you make, demos you've booked, and activity level. Activity doesn’t always lead to progress.

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