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A Selling Revolution:How the Internet Changed Personal Selling (Part 1)


This article is for business professionals looking to increase leads and sales. Read this if you are a sales and marketing manager, sales rep, business manager, small business owner, CEO or interested in learning about the impact of the Web on personal selling.

Selling and Marketing Turned Upside Down

The Internet caused a selling revolution by putting total purchasing and decision making authority in the hands of prospective buyers.  If your Website does not have what prospects want, another Website will meet their needs.  Today’s sales force is no longer required to find prospects for products and services; prospects will find you online.  This has put an end to traditional prospecting and driven lead generation online.

As companies drive higher productivity, prospects don’t have time for meetings to learn about things that may or may not work.  In fact, managers that have time for fact finding sales calls will not be at their jobs very long.  It is much faster and easier to search the Web.  Companies must adapt to this changing environment and realize ROI from cold calling and prospecting are quickly diminishing.

Traditional Sales Roles Have Changed

Traditional selling models involved the basics of prospecting, qualifying, presenting, handling objections and closing. Old school salespeople spend most of their time finding prospects they could meet and qualify. This process has become obsolete and the roles have changed as the prospective customer or client is now in charge of prospecting and qualifying via Web searches and online content. Prospective customers have replaced your traditional sales activities!  Your Website has become the first presentation and is vital in moving a prospect towards a sale.

In the past, prospects relied on the sales person’s knowledge and sales abilities to move towards a close.  This is no longer the case, as the Internet is the main resource for these buyers to learn and they no longer have time for salespeople.

So what is the role of salespeople?  Are they necessary? Absolutely!

Salespeople Must Become Web Marketers

Salespeople must be fully integrated into Web marketing because Web marketing now is the primary driver of the sales process!  They must learn how to market online to drive leads.  Web leads and prospects will be highly qualified, so the most time consuming part of the old sales process can be skipped in its entirety.  The sales rep can move right into highly qualified selling and closing with an educated prospect.  Good salespeople must know how to identify and connect with prospects from the world’s best lead generator, the Internet.

Great Salespeople are Perfect for Web Marketing

A sales rep’s value and ROI to your organization is in direct proportion to how well they can market online. The good news is that the fundamentals of Web marketing are similar to the basics of selling.  Your company’s Website is now a key sales tool and needs to function like a great prospector.  The Website should be easy to use and simple to understand.  Focus on key benefits and push visitor hot buttons to drive inquiries.

Develop a sales and marketing plan to drive leads from the Web and hold your salespeople accountable to make this happen.  It is too expensive to pay for prospecting efforts when it produces such poor ROI. Businesses that take a Web-savvy approach to selling will outpace competitors.  In part two we’ll go deeper into the role of salespeople in Web marketing.

Action Plan

Now that I have made a case, here is an action plan to get you started.

  • Learn the basics of Web marketing.
  • Designate a team member as Web marketing manager to oversee this process.
  • Identify salespeople that should run Web marketing programs.
  • Develop a Web marketing and sales plan for your company.
  • Visit our Website at www.IntuitiveWebsites.com for more resources.
  • Read part two of this article coming soon.

Part Two: The Role of Sales People in Web Marketing

Part Three: How to Find and Train Salespeople to Market Online

Part Four: Follow-Up and Stay-in-Touch Programs for Web-Based Sales

Thomas Young is CEO and President of Intuitive Websites, a Colorado Springs based Internet marketing, Website design and development firm. He is a Vistage speaker and member for over 10 years.  To learn more about Tom visit www.ThomasVYoung.com.  He can be reached at 719-231-6916 or tom@intuitivewebsites.com.

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