What are digital sales and why are they important for business?
Learn everything you need to know about digital sales and why they are important for your business.
By Donny Kelwig, Contributing Writer
Last updated July 26, 2022
As technology rapidly changes and expands, keeping up with the best business practices in the digital world can feel overwhelming. More and more, however, the digital world is influencing consumer purchases. When your prospects can simply see ads and buy products online from their couches, there’s no reason for them to seek out other options. If you want to win the sales game, you need a keen understanding of the digital marketplace—and fast.
What are digital sales?
Digital sales are sales that take place through virtual channels. There are multiple ways digital sales manifest, but all are online and most allow the customer to navigate their own way through content (rather than being personally guided by a sales rep).
Examples of digital selling
Digital selling takes place via a variety of common online channels, including:
- Websites. Having a landing page where customers can click through and learn about your products or services is vital. Enabling your customers to order online is a great way to make buying fast and easy. You can also provide a form where potential customers sign up for regular email updates. This keeps prospects on the hook even if they’re not ready to buy at first glance.
- Email. Having a regular promotional newsletter is a great way to keep customers informed about what you’re up to next. Offering special discounts and offers can compel customers to buy. All emails should have clickable links that take prospects back to your landing page or your main source of online content.
- Social media. There are currently over 1.5 billion social media users across the globe. Thus, it’s very important to have a consistent and engaging social media presence. Potential customers already spend hours on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other popular platforms. It’s smart to engage them where they already are.
- Targeted ads. Developing ads specifically targeted to your customer base is a savvy business decision. With digital marketing, you can focus on people who fit your buyer personas and are more likely to be interested in what you’re selling. This eliminates wasted time and resources marketing to a broader, less interested audience.
- Chat bots. You can automate chat bots on your website to answer FAQs and guide customers towards particular outcomes. This is a great way to provide interactive customer experiences that don’t use up your sales reps’ time—after all, your reps have better things to do than explain the basics.
Why are digital sales important?
Digital sales are important because they help you meet customers where they are—in the digital world. These days, people assume they can find any product or service digitally. Thus, it’s essential for your business to cultivate a robust presence in the digital marketplace in order to meet the needs of the current consumer and improve your sales funnel.
Here are some additional reasons why understanding and mastering digital sales is so important.
- Digital sales and marketing strategies means a higher ratio of inbound leads, which 59 percent of marketers say are higher-quality leads than outbound.
- With a carefully crafted online presence, you have total control over your company’s pitch and branding on your online platform and landing page. (And did you know that using a signature color can increase your brand recognition by 80 percent?)
- If you actively track visitor data, you’ll have access to a treasure trove of insights based on the analytics of how people interact with your website, social media, and other business pages.
- For B2C sales, a well-designed website means customers can peruse and purchase your product at home. This also expands your potential customer base by making your business more accessible to anyone with mobility issues or anyone who can’t make time to leave their home.
How to adapt to the digital sales transformation
- Research your customer base thoroughly, and create content that is likely to resonate with them. Create online pages that are engaging, easy to understand, and concise.
- Develop and commit to a personal brand. Once you know how you want to be perceived, align all your online presences to support that image.
- Create a targeted network on social media. Find your ideal audience and engage with them by responding to comments, posting interactive prompts, and creating content that they’d be excited to share. Make sure all the content on your platforms is shareable.
- Leverage your good reviews and positive feedback for further success. Share, pin, and promote comments and reviews that paint you in a good light. These endorsements from the public are free and persuasive.
It may feel daunting to begin your digital sales transformation, but there are some easy steps you can take to get started:
Key strategies for an effective digital sales model
Collecting data is essential for understanding what consumers need and want. Having a presence on digital platforms and studying your customer base leads to invaluable insights for your business that improve customer satisfaction.
Pay attention to what content draws the most clicks. Which posts get the most engagement? Which products are moving the fastest and where are you marketing them? What other common denominators do your customers share? You can find common complaints online and use them to determine unmet needs. You can also use these answers to qualify leads, calculate sales mix, and build even more precise buyer personas.
Use this data to refine your digital marketing plans and improve sales enablement. The digital world gives you mountains of data. Use that data to your advantage.
Automating certain processes in your digital systems will save you time, money, and resources. There’s no need for sales reps to sign prospects up for mailing lists when customers can simply fill out pre-made forms. You don’t have to waste time answering repetitive FAQs when your chat bot can walk a customer through the answers. You can even automate follow-up emails so your reps don’t have to keep track of follow-up timelines.
Keep it personal
Just because you’re not selling in person doesn’t mean your sales processes can’t be personal. Curate your content for your customer base. Throw online events like webinars to connect with your community. Write and maintain a blog that lets your audience in on your process. Be visually appealing and creative online!
In the digital space, potential customers can connect with content at their own pace and on their own time, so provide engaging content to keep them hooked.
If you have the resources, conducting and sharing the results of a case study can be extremely persuasive. It’s sometimes hard to imagine how a product or service works in the abstract, but a thorough case study can clearly lay out the benefits. Share failed solutions as well as successful ones to help illustrate why your product and teams are the best.
Easy to use, easy to buy
People get frustrated with unintuitive websites and poorly constructed content. Similarly, if it’s not easy to buy your product, many prospects will simply give up and move to a simpler competitor. One of the most important things to do in your digital sales process is make sure everything a customer interacts with is easy to use. Ensure your call to action is clear, and your “buy” button even clearer.
Digital sales vs. traditional sales
Traditional sales interactions have their benefits, but more and more customers don’t want to have to deal with sales calls or sales people at all. It’s understandably frustrating for both parties when a sales rep wastes their time trying to connect with a lead who just wants to be left alone.
Digital sales offers an environment with less pressure. Consumers feel more comfortable perusing online content at their own pace, and respond well to the convenience of being able to shop at home. It no longer makes sense to approach sales only from a traditional standpoint. Embracing the digital plane in 2022 is not only necessary—it means accelerating sales growth.
Digital sales vs. digital marketing
Both digital sales and digital marketing share the goal of bringing in increased revenue, but they also have important distinctions.
Digital sales is a short-term process that promotes an on-sale product or service. In digital sales, the individual customer is the main focus. There is a clear and simple goal of selling your goods to the consumer. Digital sales strategies focus on the sales process, the target market, and general sales goals.
Digital marketing, however, is a longer-term process that focuses more on identifying the needs of customers in general. Digital marketing focuses on a larger target audience as opposed to a single interaction. Digital marketing strategies focus on long-term product plans, pricing, and which digital platforms are best to sell each product.
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