Digital Selling Overview

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Transcript

One of the biggest problems in business is being able to scale up profitably – and the root cause is because marketing teams treat business prospects as if they’re high street consumers and as a result it forces businesses back into cold calling which has got a success rate of about 400-1.  So how on earth is a business supposed to scale up?

Throughout my career I couldn't work out how marketing was supposed to help me scale up or change the ratio between people and profitability.  Taking on more people didn’t mean making more money. So I decided to investigate marketing from directors’ perspective and this presentation is the result of a ten-year quest to find the answer.

In spite of all the latest marketing technologies CB Insights said 50% of the reasons businesses fail are marketing related so, it’s unsurprising that the press and recruitment industry have been saying for the past 8 or 9 years that the average tenure for a CMO is about 18 months So CEO's have instinctively known something was wrong for years and explains why they are forced into making their own, often unqualified or unresearched marketing decisions.

The knock-on effect is that The Financial Times company Sifted said that 91% of all businesses fail within 10 yrs and if you get investment 40% will fail 75% won’t reach their own targets and 95% won't make an ROI for the investors.  

Still joining the dots the average turnover pppa is £80k for smaller businesses and £150k for larger businesses of 50+ which means profitability and scalability is consistently low for everyone.

So what does a CEO do? – We’ll of course new business is our lifeblood. And we’ve all probably dreamt about finding a systematic method to attract new customers so we can scale up /.  But before I get on to that I want to share a bit about my background and how I got into all this I started out selling technology in London’s West End, so I did all the cold calling bit in the rain and snow. I then set up different technology businesses and sold millions of pounds worth of kit But I took a different approach to my peers, I learned the technology from the inside out to the point that I could install it not because I wanted to be an engineer, although I did get the certificates but because I wanted to make sure I could sell it properly.

It paid off and was telecoms dealer of the year in the UK two years running. However, I was always frustrated that I couldn’t work out how to scale up my businesses profitably and so I eventually switched and became a full-time head of marketing for B2Bs to find out what was missing. You can watch the full story about my journey on the about us page.

One of the first companies I worked for I did a campaign that resulted in 100’s of millions of pounds in pension transfers Another was a mobile phone company my marketing strategy raised £300k and I designed an App which helped get a healthcare award. I worked for a FinTech start-up this time I had to present my plan in Germany. They gave me a £250k budget and after launching in the UK the first deal came in of £3.5m in 10 weeks.  And so, the stories mounted up. I tell you this because it still wasn't good enough. Anyone can have a flash-in-the-pan success but I was looking for a genuine repeatable scalable strategy. 

As Directors though we don't have choice we have to keep pushing forward because the buck-stops-with-us. The first business crashed and burned so I've been there and got the T shirt.   

Three months after starting my 2nd business this time on my own my 4yr old daughter died after a bicycle accident when she was out with my 1st wife. But as Directors we don’t get to put our companies on hold crushed with grief or not. 

Three years later I had a quadruple heart bypass I was only 34.  But as a director I had a responsibility towards my family and my staff and had to keep going at the same rate within weeks of the operation. 

A few years after the bypass I got divorced which dragged on because of the children.  I say all this because we’ve all got stories to tell that deeply affect us. 

But we're directors, right? We’re committed to our families and have a legal obligation to our staff suppliers and customers irrespective of the trials WE'RE going through.

So because of my frustrations I pulled marketing apart I learned about it from the inside out and put it back together again The new approach would eventually empower business owners to set the goals for marketing and not the other way round.

Here’s what led the way according to Gartner 83% of prospects research digitally before they engage with a salesperson and 44% of millennials prefer salesperson-free purchases. McKinsey’s research in 2020 revealed that 70% of B2B decision-makers are open to self-serve purchases up to £50k and 27% up to £500k. 

As you already know, businesses are encouraged to aspire to achieving the gold standard for B2B marketing which is to invest in marketing automation software landing pages and pay-per-click.  But it’s not choice, it’s the only option.  And if you didn’t have the budget, you just cold called.

A Forrester study in 2018 revealed that businesses who had marketing automation only manage to convert less than 1% of prospects who made it through the MarTech funnel in to paying customers.

So first I had to address the MarTech Funnel which is presented to everyone by Big Tech. The fact is people don't follow down a linear path or funnel; we all bounce all over the place before making a decision.

Everyone had bought in to marketing automation and ABM but it’s ‘the emperor’s new clothes. To engage with prospects you MUST allow them to access your content without forcing them to give you their details. We all hate it because we don't want to be spammed or cold called.

So after multiple iterations I finally developed a process to transform a business into a highly efficient scalable machine to achieve the consistency we’re all looking for. I re-ENGINEERING marketing and the management structure and called it - Digital Selling by combining direct selling and digital marketing to create the ultimate scale up strategy. 

So How Does Digital Selling Work?  Well, it's simple - It prioritises, advertising your content over advertising your products. It enables your customers to get answers to all their questions, review and analyse you and your products and place an order or book services, all without speaking to anyone and if they want to, you make sure it can happen as quickly as possible.

Your content is divided in to three category types, and it’s also created as video, podcasts and written to suit everyone’s tastes, and so the content can be found on the search engines, and not hidden from them because of marketing automation forms.

Have a look how we've done this at salesXchange -

So, here’s what you have to do... It breaks down into six parts: You’ve got About Us How to Buy Products Content Adverts and Replacing Cold Calling.

First, you tell people who you are where you came from and what made you set up your business in the first place. You’re telling YOUR story because that’s what people want to hear and that’s why the ABOUT US page is the most popular page on a website.

Then there’s HOW TO BUY; You need remove any friction that could stop a prospect from placing an order with you or buying from you online This is the key to scaling up.

Your PRODUCT presentations are to be exceptional. Provide videos and case studies. Offer online brochures as well as downloadable PDF's. Set up Live Chat and have an up-to-date FAQs page. 

Next up create CONTENT that presents your expertise and personality to help prospects get to know you /and learn about your products and services.  Because some content is more important than others it needs to be categorised as Primary Secondary and General.  Primary Content is Thought Leadership Educational and so on.  Secondary Content is Case Studies and Interviews and General Content is lower Interest information like Company News and Charity Events. 

Then there’s the ADVERTS which are Videos Memes Graphics & Animations.  You prepare 120 of these Adverts in advance. The reason you need 120 is because you publish 4 adverts 4 times a day over 4 weeks and repeat – that’s why it’s called Social 444. Once they’re uploaded, posting is done automatically every day to multiple social media channels so this really is set-and-forget marketing and it doesn’t need updating for 12-18 months.

To REPLACING COLD CALLING you start a Live Stream show and invite all your prospects and customers to join in they can ask questions and listen to interviews etc anonymously all from the comfort of their mobile phone or tablet. 

To promote your show email your database every week tell them what happened the previous week and what’s planned for the next show.  If you don’t have enough contacts, buy an email list upload it to your CRM and also upload it to LinkedIn, do a pay-per-click campaign to appear on their newsfeeds and email them once a week about the live stream, it’s as simple as that.  

Now we’ve taken care of marketing part the next step is to re-engineer the ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE in line with Digital Selling.  Typically, businesses have got three departments - IT Sales & Marketing.  So, I renamed them Technology Revenue & Content.

Starting with Technology. Move all marketing operations including the website, email distribution platform UX CX and importantly internal training to be managed under the umbrella of the Technology, because there’s less staff churn in IT than there is in marketing. 

Next up is Content The CMO is now called the Editor-in-Chief because they're running a publishing and production operation.  The team includes researchers reporters presenters videographers and any other creative type needed to help communicate your expertise and personality.

And finally, The Revenue Team This includes pre-sales field sales customer insights customer success and any other revenue generating activity of the business. 

The new structure provides more flexibility defining head count and salaries and bonuses because the emphasis is on customer self-service throughout the buying journey. 

THE CONTENT TEAM become the pro-active element within the business and sales or revenue becomes re-active without any expectation for them to find new business they only have to close a deal when they’re needed.

And that’s it a complete realignment of a B2B selling operation, that streamlines new business, reduces unnecessary expenses and increases your profitability.

As I bring this to a close my journey revealed something I was told when I first started in selling and that was people-buy-people but with the rise of technology, this truism had become unrecognisable. Prospects and customers simply want to know who you are and why they should buy from you and to do that you teach them how and why they need YOUR product which is presented in the formats of their choice.  It’s an exchange, not a bull fight. 

Your call to action is to review and categorise your content add the new formats and make the change to becoming a Digital Selling business that can scale up on your terms.

To watch an in-depth video about the scale up marketing plan, there’s a link in the description. And there’s also a link to my About Us video there too. 

And that’s it.  Thanks for joining me, I hope you found this interesting and if you’d like me to help with the transformation process, lets’ have a coffee and a chat.  Bye for now.

What is Digital Selling and why is it different to any other strategy?

This is not Dragon's Den and if you want to find out how to change the fortunes of your business, I'm afraid you'll have to keep reading or watch the above video.  No one can present a new strategy in a short sentence!

Digital Selling is the foundation and process behind delivering a genuine and engaging customer experience (CX) which leads to your ability as a businesss to sell at scale without the necessity of one-to-one and direct engagement by a sales person throughout the discovery and buying journey. 

Naturally you will provide resources to speak to prospects when needed, but the emphasis is self-service from start to finish, exploiting every digital tool available, from video to podcasts to live streaming .

You cannot scale up your business based upon one-to-one selling!

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

The Path to Change

Sales and marketing business units ceased working effectively 

There are three main reasons to create your own path to Digital Selling: -

  • What your prospects and customers want
  • What your business needs to do
  • What's in it for you

What your prospects and customers want

Sales and marketing business units ceased working effectively when most companies relinquished creative selling to marketing automation.

Marketing automation was thought to be cheap and more effective than telesales. Yet 83% of B2B organisations will complete their research before engaging with a salesperson.

Over the past 10 to 15 years, the same numbers of businesses fail, each year as they did in the previous ten years.  Investment makes no difference  as 40% fail and 75% fail to achieve their own targets and every B2B reverts to cold calling when failure starts to set in.

We can of course identify every point of failure in this process.

The solution is to demonstrate prospects, online, the most effective self serve infrastructure that will add value to their businesses.  To achieve this you must provide: -

  • FAQs

    Linked to relevant content

  • Online Chat

    Manned by professionals, not low cost poorly trained staff call centre staff

  • Video

    Thought leadership, products demos, interviews and all primary, secondary, product, how to buy, and general content

  • Live streaming

    For prospects and customers, enabling anonymous engagement

  • Podcasts

    Thought leadership and interviews

  • How to buy

    Pricing, calculators, order forms and account creation

  • Contact

    Quick and direct telephone contact and a manual, human interface option wherever and whenever it is needed


What your business needs to do

We all bounce all over the place when we're researching or trying to self-educate. B2Bs need to work with this logic and not try and force individuals down a path demanding contact data, prospects know will be used to cold call them at a later stage. 

Redefine all your content, moving away from marketing automation, ABM and persona related strategies and create content that reflects Primary, Secondary and General Engagement: -

General          

  • Blogs, New Hires
  • CSR, Awards, PR
  • Guest Activities

Secondary Content

  • Social Proof
  • Case Studies
  • Infographics
  • Podcast/Video/Live

Primary Content

  • Thought Leadership
  • Business Case
  • Whitepapers
  • Pro' Publications

Create content that presents and demonstrates your products and services enabling prospects to place an order for your products or services online, without human intervention.

Product Content

  • How it works
  • How to install it
  • Best Practices
  • Training
  • FAQs

How to Buy

Ensure your organisation is aware that it is not clairvoyant!  It cannot know how prospects want to consume content.  Therefore, make it your business to create as follows: -

  • Written
  • Video
  • Podcast
  • Live stream

All content must be available on demand without tricking browsers into giving you their email addresses.

Follow our format for content creation to achieve high search engine page results (SERPs).  Do not rely on Google to make you a fortune, they won’t.  Our format helps confirm your content is well written.

To promote your business, you are to create a series of adverts that will be posted on social media, for free, that point browsers to your content including videos and live stream shows.

Adverts

  • Video clips
  • Memes/Graphics
  • PPC/Banners

To reach your total addressable market, purchase a database and email them as well as uploading the database to social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook combined with a pay-per-click campaign to promote your live stream shows so that they can visit anonymously.


What’s in it for you?

Current strategies have been failing for decades because no one developed a comprehensive alternative plan, because in my opinion, everyone kept following the cheapest, lowest common denominator related to new business and that was cold calling.  In short we all inherited a post-war approach that kept elevating the ‘spiv’ salesperson who had the biggest mouth and therefore got the most sales, but the past two decades have proven a change is required. 

In 2022 it’s changed.  Business process management and digital transformation strategies delivered by the top consultancies around the world provide state-of-the-art technical efficiencies in business operations, but not in generating new business.

Adopting a Digital Selling approach means higher profitability and lower operational costs, pro-rata.  The ratios change.  Keep all your staff and increase turnover or reduce staff, maintain turnover, but become more profitable.  The decision is yours.


Understanding the Past to Change the Future

Contrary to what most business owners think, going 'fully digital' costs a fraction of current digital marketing initiatives and activities.  The reason very few do it, is because marketers don't know what to do or where to start!  

Beginning with the basics, every business has its fair share of cold-callers.  Today it seems, most of them are marketers looking to find more new business.  But it's curious.  If their marketing was any good, why are they cold calling?

At salesXchange we're seriously big fans of technology and software.  We follow it on YouTube on the news, and pretty much anywhere we can.  Digital marketing doesn't just mean a website, it impacts every element of marketing we do.  But there's a caveat.  You/we have to know where it needs to be used as well as how it's used.

Business owners have been sold marketing technology (Mar-Tech) as a necessary element through which their businesses can grow.  As a result, Mar-Tech has grown from 150 platforms in 2008 to 8000 in 2020.

Sadly none of the software has slowed down the failure rate of businesses. 

Gartner Logo

Gartner Forecast

Gartner says 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels by 2025, which supports a move towards exploiting a digital sales infrastructure.

Digital B2B Content Workflow Infographic

Infographic Illustration and Call Outs
Business Strategy Infographic

Allow time to download.

There is No Funnel

We use a funnel on our home page because it is a familiar representation of business process, however, no business selects a product and supplier in a linear fashion.  Product offerings and suppliers are viewed as a whole, compared and selected after presenting various options to a business owner or committee/board.  According to Inc.com, as long ago as 2017, a Forrester report stated that less than 1% of prospects who made it through the Mar-Tech created funnel, became revenue generating customers.

Your business success completely depends on new people reading, watching and listening to content about you and your products.  Forcing a prospect to fill out an email form before they can 'connect' with you is commercial suicide as it makes you and your content invisible to search engines.

We recognise and understand why so many businesses experience such poor performance with their marketing and at such a high cost to the company with little return.  

Advertise & Promote Your Content First

Whether you're selling to Baby-Boomers, Gen X or Millenials, businesses have been placed in a position that demands we communicate on a variety of levels, expressly to suit their tastes. 

Keep in mind: Advertise and promote your content first and don't lead with your product.  We all want to learn, then buy.  Selling is easy once prospects know all about you, your business and your product!

With lockdowns etc., businesses must make themselves accessible by whichever method our prospects demand of us and in doing so we must create multi-platform, authentic and engaging content that communicates a message that is more empathic than just 'sell, sell, sell' customers demand they are educated before entering into any kind of dialogue with a sales person. 

Gartner says 83% of research and activity occurs before speaking to a supplier.

Now there's a level playing field.  Every prospect has access to multiple content options which presents some amazing opportunities for businesses.  Done correctly, this will increase turnover and profitability and reduce overheads at the same time. 

It's time to adopt video, podcasts, live streaming, webinars and engaging written content to replace existing sales strategies.  To succeed and scale up in todays ever-changing economy, you must create the most wide-reaching and effective digital delivery methods that will work for you 24/7, 365 days a year and be available to any business decision-maker when it suits them. 

Don't be mislead by the promises of marketing automation software and platforms.  It works for B2C, but not B2B.  The likes of Hubspot, Pardot and Marketo have become automated cold-calling systems that do no more than collate todays equivilent of compliment slips - an email form in exchange for a download.  Then the calls have to start. 

The Digital Selling Business Strategy

  • About Us & How To...

    Create high quality video explainers

  • Relevant Content

    Create unrestricted (no email forms) multi-format content

  • Advertising

    Create 120 in-house Graphics, Memes, Videos to promote content on social media

  • Prospecting & Cold Calling

    PPC & Email to Connect & Live Streaming to Engagement

  • Send Me Information

    Provide 'How to' Video & Customer Stories

  • Demo / See it in action

    Provide Video and well produced Live/Zoom calls

  • Let me think about it

    Provide Podcasts to help coach prospects about the next stage

  • Presentations

    Provide private live stream and Zoom calls 

  • Close

    Send out Adobe DocuSign Email PDF

Like most business owners, the desire is to create a profitable, sustainable organisation that can function with the least amount of effort.  Sales has never been a model to be relied upon.  Digital Selling changes everything, once it is understood, after all the old and incorrect notions of what sales and marketing is today, you will begin to understand how Digital Selling can reduce your costs and headcount and increase profitability like nothing else before.  That's why it demands a conversation first. 

Digital Production Deployment

The Digital Selling Production process falls into four stages;

  1. Understanding why and where the problem exists
  2. Understanding variety of content required, how it's received by prospects and where it fits with previous strategies
  3. Executing the new strategy using internal and external resources
  4. Restructure your business, redeploying staff and planning long-term management (implementing the new organisational chart

The above illustrates the process and where we fit in; we have the expertise to expedite the above as quickly as possible.  But that does not preclude you doing some or all of it yourselves. Recognising the problem is the first step to planning a more profitable business with increased ratios of profit-per-person-per-annum.

Digital Selling Workshops

It's quicker and more effective to engage a small team to parachute into your business and implement a Digital Selling Strategy.  If this is something that makes sense to you, then take a look at our Digital Selling Workshops, to see how we could help your business.

Digital Content Overview

Every business has its fair share of cold-callers.  Today it seems, most of them are marketers looking to find more new business.  But its curious.  If their marketing was any good, why are they cold calling. 

This website is full of content explaining how people buy and how marketing works.  They are supposed to be interconnected, however, things have got pretty much out-of-sync over the past few years.

At salesXchange we're seriously big fans of technology and software.  We follow it on YouTube on the news, and pretty much anywhere we can.  Digital marketing doesn't just mean a website, it impacts every element of marketing we do.  But there's a caveat.  You/we have to know where it needs to be used as well as how it's used.

Business owners have been sold marketing technology (Mar-Tech) as a necessary element through which their businesses can grow.  As a result, Mar-Tech has grow from 150 platforms in 2008 to 8000 in 2020.

Sadly none of the software has slowed down the failure rate of businesses. 

There is no Funnel

We use a funnel on our home page because it is a familiar representation of business process, however, no business selects a product and supplier in a linear fashion.  Product offerings and suppliers are viewed as a whole, compared and selected after presenting various options to a business owner or committee/board.

Business Evaluation Image

Your business success completely depends on new people reading, watching and listening to content about you and your products.  Forcing a prospect to fill out an email form before they can 'connect' with you is commercial suicide as it makes you and your content invisible to search engines.

We recognise and understand why so many businesses experience such poor performance with their marketing and at such a high cost to the company with little return.  

Educate to Sell & Scale Up

Whether you're selling to Baby-Boomers, Gen X or Millenials, businesses have been placed in a position that demands we communicate on a variety of levels, expresly to suit their tastes. 

With lockdowns etc., businesses must make themselves accessible by whichever method our prospects demand of us and in doing so we must create multi-platform, authentic and engaging content that communicates a message that is more empathic than just 'sell, sell, sell' customers demand they are educated before entering into any kind of dialogue with a sales person. 

Gartner says 83% of research and activity occurs before speaking to a supplier.

Now there's a level playing field.  Every prospect has access to multiple content options which presents some amazing opportunities for businesses.  Done correctly, this will increase turnover and profitability and reduce overheads at the same time. 

It's time to adopt video, podcasts, live streaming, webinars and engaging written content to replace existing sales strategies.  To succeed and scale up in todays ever-changing economy, you must create the most wide-reaching and effective digital delivery methods that will work for you 24/7, 365 days a year and be available to any business decision-maker when it suits them. 

Don't be mislead by the promises of marketing automation software and platforms.  It works for B2C, but not B2B.  The likes of Hubspot, Pardot and Marketo have become automated cold-calling systems that do no more than collate todays equivilent of compliment slips - an email form in exchange for a download.  Then the calls have to start. 

The Digital Sales Strategy

  • Prospecting & Cold Calling

    Provide Live Streaming to start engagement

  • Send Me Information

    Provide 'How to' Video & Customer Stories

  • Demo / See it in action

    Provide Video and well produced Live/Zoom calls

  • Let me think about it

    Provide Podcasts to help coach prospects about the next stage

  • Presentations

    Provide private live stream and Zoom calls 

  • Close

    Send out Adobe DocuSign Email PDF

Like most business owners, the desire is to create a profitable, sustainable organisation that can function with the least amount of effort.  Sales has never been a model to be relied upon.  Digital Selling changes everything, once it is understood, after all the old and incorrect notions of what sales and marketing is today, you will begin to understand how Digital Selling can reduce your costs and headcount and increase profitability like nothing else before.  That's why it demands a conversation first. 

Digital Production Deployment

The Digital Selling Production process falls into four stages;

  1. Understanding why and where the problem exists
  2. Understanding variety of content required, how it's received by prospects and where it fits with previous strategies
  3. Executing the new strategy using internal and external resources
  4. Restructure your business, redeploying staff and planning long-term management (implementing the new organisational chart

The above illustrates the process and where we fit in; we have the expertise to expedite the above as quickly as possible.  But that does not preclude you doing some or all of it yourselves. 

Recognising the problem is the first step to planning a more profitable business with increased ratios of profit-per-person-per-annum.

Digital Selling Workshops

It's quicker and more effective to engage a small team to parachute into your business and implement a Digital Selling Strategy.  If this is something that makes sense to you, then take a look at our Digital Selling Workshops, to see how we could help your business.

Find out more...

Digital Selling is about providing content your prospects are demanding before they'll speak to you.  To learn about how we can help your business...

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