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by Paul Watts
Sales Reinvented

Embrace Tech: Modernize the Way You Sell with Tony Hughes


Tony Hughes points out that we live in a digital-first world. 2020 was a catalyst for accelerating what people are describing as the 4th industrial revolution. He emphasizes that “There’s timeless principles of selling that we need to adapt as we modernize the way that we engage clients.” One of the big trends is that companies are shifting resources from field selling to using the tech stack to sell digitally. So how can you drive change in a digital world? How do you excel with digital selling? Tony Hughes shares his take in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:11] Digital and social selling
  • [3:41] How to improve your digital selling
  • [7:35] Tony’s digital selling blueprint
  • [9:46] Attributes that lead to greatness
  • [12:19] Tools + techniques + strategies
  • [16:46] Top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [19:27] Tony demonstrates the power of connections

How to improve your digital selling

Most buyer’s journeys begin in their trusted online network. They seek social proof for the things that they’re looking at purchasing. Tony was talking to a group of 18 CEOs about modernizing the way they sell. One was the CEO in Australia for a North American company that sells into the pharmacy industry. The two highest-performing territories in North America didn’t have salespeople in them for four months out of the year. This company had been convinced that they needed to maintain mindshare with pharmacists. When they interviewed the pharmacists and business owners they found some interesting things.

Firstly, the pharmacists noted that when the reps called on them, it took them away from serving customers. Secondly, they thought the information being shared with them was just marketing material that they’d rather get in an email or snail mail. The only thing the buyer valued is that they were getting a great price. So this company decided to run some testing in Australia, removing their reps completely. The business has never been stronger. Tony’s point? The belief that bots can never replace you is nonsense.

Tony’s digital selling blueprint

Tony believes that any blueprint has to begin with understanding your ideal customer profile. You need to think about their:

  1. Firmographics: What is their vertical? How big are they? Where are they located?
  2. Technographics: What are the attributes of the organizations? What is their competition?
  3. Psychographics: Are they in a growth mindset? Are they in crisis? Do they outsource? Are they trying to innovate and disrupt the market?

Companies with a growth mindset are the most likely to purchase.

Then you need to look at the buyer personas—those that say “yes” or form a consensus. You then build the conversation narrative. Once you do that, you need to map the buyer’s journey and go and be where they are. It will certainly include social media, but it will be in other places as well. You move away from the “us” narrative because no one wants to hear it. You need to lead with a narrative about how they can drive improved results in their role. If you do all of that well, they’ll want to understand why you would be the best solution for them.

What three attributes does Tony believe lead to greatness? Listen to find out!

Tools + techniques + strategies

Tony recommends that you look at the tech stack that you’ve got. How can you use what you already have? Would your boss say you’re a good user of CRM? Do you capture meeting notes, build a dashboard, and identify the next best actions to take?

Secondly, use the sales intelligence tools available to you, such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator. You can also build searches that monitor for trigger events within your customer base as well as your ICPs and buyer personas within the marketplace.

Can you do pragmatic research? Are you using sales intelligence tools that get you emails and phone numbers? Tony believes the fastest path—and highest probability to a new sale—is when you can provide relevance and context through a trusted relationship and a trigger event. Listen to learn what Tony does with this.

Listen to find out what Tony’s top digital selling dos and don’ts are—some might surprise you!

The power of connection

A great friend of Tony’s is a CEO who just took a role with a new company. As they were talking over breakfast, Tony offered to introduce someone who would be a good fit as a client. When Tony’s friend posted a LinkedIn update about his new role, he liked it, commented, and shared it. He tagged the name of the person he thought would be a good client and said “You two should get together.” This person responded within five minutes and messaged Tony’s friend.

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Episode 257

by Paul Watts