How Has the Sales Cycle Changed?

Pointing at touchpad

Social media and content marketing have dramatically changed the sales process over the past 10+ years. In the “Mad Men” days, sales people acted as the gateway to a company’s information. You know the drill: Sally needs to hire so and so for xyz. She grabs the phone book and looks up a business and gives them a call to receive more information. Depending on the industry, a meeting would be set up and a series of visits and follow up calls would proceed. The process was often long and drawn out.

Nowadays, 57-70% of B2B buyers are done researching a business by the time they contact a seller. This means that everything a business does online is a sales opportunity.

Here are some tips that businesses can use to make sure they are utilizing their online presence:

  1. Content Marketing – To gain customers trust, share information that is valuable, shareable, and useful. Ask yourself, if you were the customer, what would you want to read?
  2. Strong Social Presence with a Strategy – Be sure to have clear goals about how your business uses social media. What voice do you want to have? Are you fun and comical or business and serious? Do you have a policy for staff when interacting with customers?
  3. Optimize for Mobile – This should be a no brainer, but with the majority of users making transactions via a mobile device, companies must be optimized for mobile traffic. Hop on your phone: Can you get to all the pages, make an order, or contact customer service easily?
  4. Focus on Relationships – Customers don’t want to buy from corporations. They want to know your business and if they feel like they are just a number, they’ll bail and find a company that cares about them. Top-notch customer service goes a long way in gaining a new customer and keeping them long term.
  5. No sales pitches – This is the information age. Consumers are looking for information and solutions to problems, not a fast sales pitch for products. Be of value. Help solve your customer’s problems.

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