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Buying products or hiring services online is not a new trend. If you are up-to-date with the world, you know perfectly well that we are not reinventing the wheel.
Back in 2014 the number of online buyers was already 1.32 billion. That’s a not-so-insignificant number, to be honest. Time has also worked in its favor, and a study by Statista projects that the number of digital buyers will increase to 2.14 billion by 2021.
These data are part of the very air breathed by Denise Mazmanian, Aivo’s Head of Online Sales. Always willing to share her knowledge, this time she tells us about the latest advances in sales and strategies to boost digital business.
What has Changed in Recent Years?
Continuous evolution means new challenges and opportunities. Regarding Sales departments, there are 3 main transformations that cannot be ignored.
1. A New Model Appears: Inside/Online Sales
Before, the Field Sales model was the protagonist. Salespeople would leave their offices to meet with clients face-to-face. Meanwhile, internal sales representatives assisted them with other daily tasks.
About 7 years ago, this routine began to lose steam, and a new sales model emerged: Inside/Online Sales. This new modality is distinguished by teams and a strategy where sales professionals make deals on their own. They work independently and contact their potential customers by telephone, e-mail, videoconferences, etc.without leaving the office.
According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, today, this innovative way of structuring the sales area is preferred. The media interviewed more than 100 Vice Presidents of Sales in leading technology companies and business service providers. Of these, 46% reported that their companies switched to an Inside Sales model.
2. Communication Technologies
Digital tools go far beyond sharing a selfie on a paradisiacal beach with your friends. Messaging applications, social networks, web platforms, to name a few, are also incredibly beneficial in commercial terms and regarding human resources.
If you have the opportunity for your team to maintain-or even increase-performance without going to the office every day, why not take it?
According to Denise, “Thanks to the simple and numerous forms of communication, companies can build remote teams in different countries and time zones. In this way, different cultures nourish your company.
"This dynamic also allows markets to expand geographically. "If you have virtual services or products that can be sent by mail, basically there are no limits," says the expert in Online Sales.
3. SaaS: Software as a Service
Additionally, the emergence of SaaS, or Software as a Service, offers incredible possibilities available to all types of companies that want to sell online.
Today, with just a few clicks, you can set up tools in the cloud that help you do much more than you could have imagined. And, most importantly, you do not need a specialized IT team. With little technical knowledge, you can incorporate software that is ideal for your online business.
Moving computer systems to the cloud also impacts costs. While it is important to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages for your business before making such a decision, according to Gartner, there are important positive aspects.
First, when using these services on demand, you do not have to invest in IT infrastructure nor in its periodic update ahead of time. Also, the costs associated with this type of software have ahigh degree of variability. This means that they can go down quickly if the demand is reduced.
How to Plan an Online Sales Strategy
The truth is that there is no magic recipe. To develop digital sales, it is essential to work synergistically with marketing.
The first step is to plan and complete the tasks together, proposing ideas and exchanging opinions between the different teams.
It is also important that each company adapts different methodologies and innovates with its proposals. Never forget this key principle: always keep the product in mind, the market possibilities, and, most importantly, the customer.
On this point, Denise explains how this process is in Aivo: "When we develop a product, ideally we consider who will buy it and who will use it. Accordingly, we focus our communications on the different stages the buyer goes through before making a purchase."
The Sales Funnel
Maybe you're thinking: “This is all interesting, but...how do I implement it in my business? To help you visualize it, Denise proposes that you imagine a funnel.
Top of the funnel: This is where the entire audience of the company is. Here, marketing rolls out the products and services, creating awareness through advertising, SEM, SEO, events, PR, social media, etc., with the aim of generating leads.
Middle of the funnel: Once the public is familiar with the company and shows interest in it, you enter the middle of the funnel. At this time, the company already has the contact information of the interested parties and can begin to establish ties with them.
For this, it is useful to resort to sending e-mails and writing specific content aimed at providing information while customers are in the consideration stage. Other resources are case studies, e-books, and free trial offers.
Bottom of the funnel: Now it’s the Sales team’s turn. They should consult with the potential client, listening actively and empathetically. In this stage you have to show that your product is the best.
If you are in the SaaS industry, Denise recommends making commercial demos so that your client can see first-hand what you offer.
In the case of physical products, payment and shipping logistics are coordinated at this point.
Best Practices for a Successful Digital Business
Logistics and Payment Methods
Denise advises keeping this aspect in mind for Latin America. In general, transport companies in this region are not yet prepared for the volume and speed that online purchases require. This increases the anxiety of the buyers, who check on the location of their order and its arrival date more frequently.
Additionally, they look for financing plans, which generally change from one credit card to another. The more options you have, the greater the probability of selling. However, you should be clear about what each alternative offers.
In the United States and Europe, people are used to buying online and know that they will not have problems with payment or shipping. In these countries, what matters the most is experience.
Whatever your market, remember and repeat this word as if it were a mantra: "personalization, personalization, personalization".
Listen and see who your customers are, what their preferences are, what products or services they like, and how they communicate. This way you can give them what they expect, and even exceed their expectations, adding value that other online stores do not offer.
Automation and New Channels
Another way to increase your sales is by enhancing your Customer Service with automated attention. Chatbots with artificial intelligence are excellent for answering your clients' frequently asked questions 24/7. They also help add a layer of personalization, as previously addressed and recommended in this article.
To draw a better picture, a study by Juniper Research showed that chatbots will save consumers and companies around 2.5 billion hours of Customer Service by 2023. Imagine how your company could benefit from all that free time.
AiBot, Aivo’s AI virtual assistant, fulfills these objectives perfectly. It is trained to provide information on products, it knows prices, and it helps site visitors to make purchases. It’s a powerful tool for generating leads.
"Before implementing this chatbot, we only had traditional contact forms. Thanks to AiBot, people interested in our company can leave us their basic information, such as their name, e-mail, and telephone. This way, the sales team can easily contact them, answer questions, make demos, etc.,” commented Denise.
"Also with AiBot we learned many things that our potential customers wanted to know about our products that we were not answering on our website," added the Aivo specialist.
The bot training section gathers those questions that users ask and the bot cannot answer. From these, it is possible to better understand the needs and interests of site visitors and improve communication content.
Are you ready to boost your online sales?
As you already know, the peculiarities of digital sales differentiate them from offline transactions. Denise has shared her knowledge and important resources so that you achieve your goals. Now is the time to design your strategy and conquer the markets.