Before I discuss the future, let’s look back at how the role of sales professionals has evolved. When I founded Sales for Life on January 1, 2010, I intended to take all of the Sales 2.0 best practices (such as cold calling and inside sales best practices) and coach local Toronto businesses on how to build SDR and ADR inside sales teams. At that time, I had just been exposed to marketing automation, live chat, inbound lead notification tools, and auto-dialers—and was confident that was the absolute future of selling.
However, fast forward one year. By 2011, I had seen a diminishing of the return on investment of calling and emailing random companies and presenting your solution. Traditional selling had gone cold. I realized that I needed to shift gears, and identify a modern way of selling. So I started to experiment. In late 2011 and 2012, I started to experiment with LinkedIn, and I learned that I could take those best practices I discussed earlier and reverse-engineer those techniques using tools like LinkedIn and Twitter. And it began to evolve. By 2013 and early 2014, LinkedIn was an extremely effective tactic.
Now a new trend began to emerge—Social Selling.
LinkedIn has become the tool of choice for Social Selling, but it’s not the future of what a sales professional will become. What I’m starting to see is that the most advanced and effective organizations have recognized that their selling needs to use both the “left brain” and the “right brain.”
The “left brain” is the science of sales and marketing and the “right brain” is the art of marketing. When you put them together, you get a sales professional who understands that their job is to take a customer through a buying journey, not through a sales process.
Sales and marketing integration: The future of sales
The future sales professional needs to understand the importance of aligning both sales and marketing. And the best companies are finding, recruiting, and onboarding this talent and allowing them to flourish, and training them to evolve the sales culture.
What makes up a Smarketer?
A Smarketer understands that the company has one funnel, one buyer, and one revenue team. They know that marketing and sales are one team, and that not every lead is created by the sales professional. Leads are created through a multiple of avenues, and every action you as a sales professional provide digitally impacts the top of the funnel.
There are three qualities of a great Smarketer:
Great Smarketers share content.
Smarketers share content with ideal buyers, who are connecting and absorbing that information, and sharing it with their peers. This drives traffic back to your website, resulting in increased downloads of assets, more subscribers, and those ideal buyers becoming warmer leads. Thus, the sales professional has a positive effect on the funnel becoming larger through educating companies.
Great Smarketers are willing to be part of content development to enhance the customer experience.
This doesn’t mean that sales professionals actually write the content, but they’re part of the creation process. They’re part of panels and committees that are providing assets for the marketing department. As a sales professional, you know your customers better than anyone—and you can best relay that information to marketing to produce digital content.
Great Smarketers use Social Selling as another tool in the tool belt.
They recognize that every day, they need to apply digital elements to the workflow. Great social sellers:
- Sell to every customer every day with insights using content.
- Use triggers mechanized through social tools and channels to provide contextual information about a customer which enables them to have a stronger conversation
- Constantly road-map relationships of people. Selling is now P2P—person to person selling. And Smarketers are leveraging tools to be able to see potential referrals, and more opportunities between people.