How are you balancing human with digital engagement?
Although we might have a digital first way of engaging, we can’t forget the human element and that people do actually like to get together.
What we have become very good at is categorising – what is that meeting? Is it relationship building or sharing of information where there’s no value being there in person? It’s just being laser-focused on the right medium at the right time to get the right result. We trust our teams to use their emotional intelligence and combine that with digital convenience for the customer.
Which strategies are you pursuing to accelerate the sales process?
Digital first is absolutely the right way to go. But you need really good content. Too many people running campaigns with automation and Salesloft don’t have great content.
Rather than a company top of funnel approach, we’ve changed it to an individual top of funnel approach, where they take great content, but the salespeople run these hyper-focused campaigns themselves. We can warm people up using digital and once you’ve proved your value, swap from a digital to human relationship, and that will blend in and out. The sales process is quicker.
We’ve seen video revolutionise sales campaigns and tactics. Hundreds of people are using mobile devices to watch our video content at all sorts of weird and wonderful times. We use Consensus so we can follow the video with a question about who is watching – that’s helped us to discover that we’re being engaged with by decision makers we never knew about. That video is a digital engagement, and the person might watch several videos, but eventually they will ask for a personal demonstration or a workshop to start scoping a project. It’s a back and forth blending of physical and digital.
“Rather than a company top of funnel approach, we’ve changed it to an individual top of funnel approach, where they take great content, but the salespeople run these hyper-focused campaigns themselves”.
“Messaging is also key and this is all about doing personas really well. If you’re continually updating sales messages and analysing performance and feedback, then you will stay relevant to the market, and experience higher conversions”.
How important is tracking digital activity before it converts to human activity, and how do you do that?
We use intent data in the early stage of the funnel, by measuring engagement levels and open rates. When you get into the actual sales process, tracking shows you that people you don’t even know are looking at content. It’s useful to know how someone is looking at a document, where they pause or zoom in, even.
To ensure we capture the attention and interest of buyers early on in the process we share short, engaging videos that take five minutes and point out the benefits before sharing larger content pieces. Covid naturally drove us to focus on developing more digital experiences and as a result we are speeding up programmes we roll out.
Messaging is also key and this is all about doing personas really well. You have to understand the detail and the difference between a bar and restaurant and a nightclub, or a visitor attraction, for example. We develop a message, test it, learn, then re-imagine or recalibrate it. If you’re continually updating sales messages and analysing performance and feedback, then you will stay relevant to the market, and experience higher conversions.
How important is personalisation in the sales process today?
From my perspective a lot of sales right now is fairly bland; the messaging is all the same. If somebody sends you a personalised video or they make the effort to share personal content, that’s something that sticks out a mile, and we know from our successful sales that personalised, targeted messaging is something that people remember.
If you know the persona, and you understand the customers’ challenges, and you’ve got a good story that you share in an engaging way – they will engage with you. Just because we’re going into digital, it’s no different from being in a room with strangers. You need to behave in a way that gets your personality across and stands out. Personality goes a long way further than digital.
“We know from our successful sales that personalised, targeted messaging is something that people remember”.
“Digital connections come and go a lot more easily, so although it saves us money, we get more productivity with a human connection”.
What initiatives are you taking or looking to take that will improve human engagement?
One thing we do is have what we call the ‘big week of action’. Every quarter we have one week where it’s focused on one particular thing, like the pipeline or increasing your SSI score.
Recently, we spent the week looking at how to make new connections and have conversations outside our comfort zones, or how we can connect with new personas. Perhaps it’s connecting with someone higher or lower, who isn’t approached as often. It might just be saying, “I’m interested in your business, can I come and see how you work?” Just showing a genuine interest, and asking normal questions, helps build that human connection. Digital connections come and go a lot more easily, so although it saves us money, we get more productivity with a human connection.
When Covid started to diminish, a lot of our salespeople said great, because they didn’t go into the job to sit at home five days a week. And we said, well, isn’t it lucky we hired friendly people who enjoy going and seeing other people? So why don’t we offer to go and see the customer? They might be working from home and feeling a bit isolated or lonely. Every so often, saying, “Would you like to meet up in town for a coffee?” goes a long way, even if they’re not going to buy from you straight away.
The Access Group is one of the leading providers of business management software to UK, Ireland and Asia Pacific mid-market organisations. It helps more than 55,000 customers across commercial, public sector and not-for-profit sectors become more productive and efficient. Access Workspace cloud solutions transform the way business software is used, giving every employee the freedom to do more.