The year 2010 seems like it was just yesterday, doesn’t it? But if you think about it, digital years are like dog years, they go by so fast. So, although it’s actually only been seven years, in the digital marketing world, 2010 was almost fifty years ago.
How do you connect with your foodservice leads to determine which ones are qualified? If you use legacy tactics including cold, un-customized emails and voicemails, your response rates are probably in the low single digits. It’s spam at the end of the day. If you do get the F&B director on the phone, you have to spend time qualifying them to determine if it's the right time to talk. You are disrupting them. Better make it count.
I imagine this happens to you too, right? So how does today's inbound salesperson truly connect with today's empowered buyers? Let's take a look.
Back in the mid to late 90s, I was a cold-calling machine. I placed 100-200 calls per day, trying all the tricks in the book to get to the decision makers within some very large companies. I sent out bulk invites to potential customers via fax. Yes, fax. I sent email after email (with some pretty decent open and response rates to boot). That's what the top sales rep had to do to be the best.
It's not to say that dialing for dollars is over. But it's damn hard to do it without losing credibility from the F&B Director, or that restaurateur who owns 10 locations. They don't want to be interrupted by sales people, especially if you don't know what their needs are. YOU don't want to be interrupted by sales people making cold-calls and sending cold emails.
Regardless of your role in a company, there are a few key digital marketing acronyms with which you should be very familiar. If you stop and think about it, your buyers in the foodservice industry are engaging with you online like never before. Understanding terms like Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, and Social Media Marketing will only help your company continue to grow. So what's the difference between SEO, SEM, and SMM? Let's take a look at all three.
The way we sell today is changing. Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram provide us so much valuable intel about a contact or a company that sales people should be better armed than ever to provide better value to a potential customer. Social media helps you build your personal brand and truly be known as a thought leader in your field. Whether it's prep before that first call, or at the end of the deal stage of closing the business, social selling is paramount for the ultimate success of today's sales executive.
One important note before we get into the meat & potatoes: do not SELL on social media. Do not go for the close. Social selling is about listening and learning about your prospects/customers. It's about educating and providing value. It's a long-term game - not for short gains.
So what should you be doing on a regular basis?