Once upon a time marketers were best known as creatives who produced advertising campaigns, while sales professionals were the cold-caller and hard-selling closers. And, once upon a time gasoline cost 50 cents per gallon.
Times have changed, a lot. These days, the best sales pros are a combination of both elements.
In a previous post I said that modern marketers need to think of themselves as performers and consider those they want to reach as their audience. To capture the attention of your audience in the five-second window that you have on a first visit, you need to grab their attention with a compelling headline.
I'm suggesting that you develop great marketing skills to market yourself as a B2B sales professional. Or, to say it differently, you need to market yourself in the digitally connected age in the same way that marketers market their brand.
Here are three marketing pillars that successful B2B sales professionals utilize.
When marketers create any communication - whether it's a website, an e-book, a webinar, a video, handouts for an event. It doesn't matter what communication the marketing team creates, it ALWAYS has to align with the brand.
But, what is a brand anyway? Here is my favorite definition of a brand - any brand. "A brand is the promise you make to your customers." That's the simplest and most accurate definition of a brand that I know.
What's the promise of your brand?
If you sell medical supplies, perhaps the promise of your brand is quality supplies in a particular niche of medical supplies such as orthopedics. In this example, your professional brand should support this promise. Most everything you do in your B2B social selling behavior should align with this brand.
So, I urge you to assess your brand promise. If you haven't defined it, write it down. Then, do a "gap analysis." Do you have a gap between how you currently engage in social media activities, and your brand promise? Are you active in social media groups that align with your brand? Do you curate content that aligns with your brand and share it through LinkedIn and Twitter? Do you create original content that aligns with your brand?
As I'm sure you've noticed, social media has become very visual. The ability to share images on social media is pervasive across all social channels - even LinkedIn.
Marketers understand this and as such create visually compelling content and amplify it on social media. And, you should do the same.
The good news is you don't need to be Photoshop-certified to use visuals effectively in your professional brand. Just pull out your smart phone and use the camera. Take pictures that you can share. But, first be sure to check with your company social media policy and only take and share pictures that don't violate company policy.
Some common examples of pictures that B2B sales professionals can share on social media include social company events such as birthday celebrations. Or, customer events and conferences, provided that you're permitted to take pictures.
If you're restricted from taking and sharing your own pictures, re-purpose pictures published by your corporate communications department. Anything they publish in the public domain should be available for you to use. In fact, your marketing department will love you if you become an employee advocate by sharing images they publish. Be sure to select images that align with your brand, especially if you work for a large brand and they publish images associated with other divisions that don't align with your brand promise.
Marketers care a great deal about conversions. This isn't the same kind of conversion you care about as a sales professional. A marketer is typically focused on converting a visitor to a contact. A B2B sales pro should be focused on converting a contact into a sales conversation.
In this blog post I covered how to get engaged in the B2B buyer's journey during their research phase. When the buyer is conducting research, she is often not ready to have a conversation with a sales professional.
Your goal should be to convert that buyer from an invisible researcher, to a willing conversationalist. In order to do that, you have to be visible to the buyer. You have to earn a reputation as a trusted resource to your buyer. And, you have to convert contacts with her network into conversations.
The most successful B2B sales professionals think like a modern marketer, whether sub-consciously or consciously. It's proven that a "conscious competent" outperforms an "unconscious competent." Guess which one you should strive to be!
Catch my Poolside Sales Chat on this topic.