The cost per sale transaction is something that must be redefinied carefully. Driving sales towards an inside sales model can reduce cost, but in turn, reduce conversion rates. Outside executive sales can increase costs, but in turn, increase conversion rates. If these are the two extremes, it becomes important to define what lives between the two of them. A sales executive working from home, limiting travel, and using cell phones and Zoom to close business. Modest costs, and average conversion rates. What is going to be the standard going forward.
On a personal note, I have sold products and services for many years, but have a greater strength in F2F sales of technology products. If you will a complex or technical sales executive (engineer). Zoom is not something I enjoy. It takes away the subtle experience of meeting new people and working with them on solving issues.
I think that we are at a point where the vacine for COVID might be available next summer. It might change the game, but how do you balance your sales organization until them. At Advok8, we excel at using many tools for our clients that I think help bridge the gap.
- Document standardization – Advok8 uses are back office to process tens to hundreds of product documents into very specific and standardized product data sheets and brochures. Why is this important? A sales will be greatly enabled if the customer develops a brand expectation that each and every product will be documented in a consistent manner. It allows the customer to dive deep with an understanding of your marketing “language.” Standardization is the key.
- Product configuration versus customization – Customers have long prided themselves in building customer specific product SKUs. This personal touch is great, particularly in mulitple year sales contracts. However, product configurations that are available on line allow for a number of customer interactions. Playable configurators allow customers to immerse themselves into product families and self discover. Something that they would never do by simply looking at a list of product options. Playable configurators are an efficient way to allow customers to define their own products, unique to your offering.
- Three to Five minute videos – Advok8 has created what we describe as non-invasive videos and content development. Before we shoot a video, we do the scripting ourselves. Because I have a technical background, I interview customers and write the content myself. If not me, then someone on staff. When we go on sight, our camera equipment and drones shoot with allot of natural light and real world backgrounds. We have found that videos are the way to bridge the gap between loss of face to face sales calls and Zoom. Not one video, but many. Our process, our costs and our relationships with customers are all fine tuned to these short video takes.
- Photography and illustrations, particularly within web sites. Our web design for one client involved also taking 800 new photographs. Can you imaging using 800 photographs in a 50 web page site? It was incredibly visual and created a experience of the web reader being within the factory or the office. Our goal was to approximate a customer visit to the facility as best we could.
- Zoom and conference call training and consulting. I have said above that I am not very good with zoom. I am a bald, old guy!!! One of the things I have done is worked with lighting. I have experimented with the lighting, the color, the background and so on. I have found what works. Just throwing this out there. Have you gotten your sales and executive people on a typical zoom call from their home office to see what they look and sound like? Advok8 would set up a $50 per session training for each of your people. Your own marketing team should be doing this. Accomplish two things. Set up the optimal zoom presentation. Bald, redhair, women, man, office, kitchen table, tan, pale, older, younger … all these things can be designed into a zoom environment. The second thing is to brand your calls. Perhaps even going as far as having a virtual background that includes your logo and perhaps even the corporate office/product/manufacturing floor in the background.
All of these things matter. By accomplishing them, you are directly driving a lower cost of sales with a higher conversion rate into the mix. I viewed a scientific instrument company the other day. Each and every product presentation was completely different. They were all a mix of technical data, paragraphs of marketing, and some company “we are the world” statements. The point being is that this does nothing to help their sales efforts.