How B2B Sales Reps Can Combine Online and Offline Tactics

For many companies, it’s naive to think that sales reps will close their deals solely through offline tactics like client dinners and phone calls. By the same token, it’s just as naive to think that sales reps will close a deal on LinkedIn or Twitter without a few offline touches like phone calls or in-person meetings.

For many companies, a successful sales playbook involves combining both online and offline tactics to generate better results. But how do you get started? What does the merger of online and offline activities even look like? Let’s take a look at a couple scenarios.

Scenario 1: An Offline Referral

Meet Jane. She sells social media management tools to health care marketers. She’s attending a conference in Boston, where she’s showing off her product and interacting with industry influencers. Here’s what unfolds.

Offline: While Jane interacts with conference attendees at her booth, Ralph stops by. He’s the Director of Marketing at a tech startup. After seeing the product, he tells Jane, “Look, we’re not in the market for your product. But my friend Susan at Big Whale of a Fortune 500 Company is looking for something similar. I’d love to introduce you.”

Online:After the conference, Jane emails Ralph, reminds him of their conversation, and asks for the referral.

Online:Meanwhile, Jane starts researching Susan at Big Whale of a Fortune 500 Company.

Using her social selling tool, she reads Susan’s latest tweets to understand Susan better. Jane also checks out the company’s tweets to get an idea of what their brand stands for and what the company’s initiatives are.

Online:A day later, Ralph emails Jane back and puts her in touch with Sally.

Online:Jane sets up a discovery phone call with Sally via email.

Offline: Jane and Sally connect on the phone. Because Sally was referred to Jane through a trusted friend, Sally is happy to speak with Jane, but Sally’s always reluctant to speak to salespeople. She’s grown tired of salespeople, who immediately launch into their generic sales pitch during their phone calls.

This time, things are different. Sally can tell that Jane has done her research. Jane asks questions, tailors the conversation specifically for Sally, and demonstrates that she understands Sally’s business. That’s because Jane took the time to do her research online.

All in all, Jane comes across as a trusted consultant – rather than a pushy salesperson. And Sally is happy to take another phone call from Jane.

Scenario 2: Following up with a Prospect

Meet Andrew. Andrew’s tech company sells sales software. In the industry, they are known for selling to SMB customers. Now, the company is trying to break into the enterprise business. Andrew had his first meeting with Priya, the U.S. Sales Leader at a Fortune 500 company.

Offline: Andrew’s discovery phone call with Priya goes okay. He could sense that Priya was uncertain that Andrew’s technology would scale on the enterprise level. This is a sticking point because Andrew doesn’t have any enterprise customer success stories to share with Priya. In fact, Priya would be the company’s first enterprise client.

Online:To stay top of mind with Priya, Andrew decided to connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter. Every day, Andrew posts sales-related content to Twitter and LinkedIn so that he continues to nurture his prospects and establishes himself as a trusted advisor.

Online:Despite Priya’s initial skepticism, Andrew notices that Priya has favorited and liked a few of his posts.

Online:Encouraged by Priya’s actions, Andrew continues to research Priya’s company. Through his company’s social selling platform, Andrew receives the latest content about Priya’s company. One day, Andrew notices an interview with Priya’s CEO, in which the CEO says that 2016 will be the year of artificial intelligence.

A light bulb goes off for Andrew. “Aha!” he thinks. “Our competitors’ platforms aren’t built on artificial intelligence! I’m going to leverage that!”

Online:Andrew sends Priya an email, including a link to the interview with Priya’s CEO and a reminder that none of his competitors offer artificial intelligence.

Online:Priya responds to the email, and she offers to set up a meeting with one of the VPs of Sales at her company.

Offline: Andrew does a little dance in his cubicle.

In the two scenarios above, the sales reps and buyers moved seamlessly from online to offline interactions – and back. Are your sales reps able to do that?

It’s an important question to ask because today’s sales reps don’t live in an online vs. offline world. Rather, today’s sales reps must weave together both online and offline sales tactics, and they need to do so effortlessly.

If your buyers can easily move from phone to email to social to in-person meetings, so must your sales reps.

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