Getting your prospects to become customers has been complicated by the age of social media, or as some call it, digital media. Not understanding the basics can prevent you from navigating through today’s new selling opportunities and markets.  A great many things influence how well a sales marketing program does in its marketplace, and often the reasons for lackluster results have a lot to do with how well your marketing strategy was framed to meet your target customer’s specific needs. Today, how you sell to a prospective customer is just as important as what you sell.

Times have changed and the ways in which we sell have changed with them. According to Wikipedia, as of July 2011, Facebook has more than 750 million active users. That’s up from 200 million users in April 2009 when Mark Zuckerberg stated that if Facebook were a country it would be the fifth largest in the world. The net impact on all sales marketing people is your customers want to know “Do you have what I need and can I find it easily and quickly?” The obvious problem here is hundreds of thousands of media choices available and no company can effectively navigate these many waters, regardless of their size.

20 years ago it would have been ridiculous to write a marketing plan that ran on every single media channel available. That would have been insanely expensive and just as out of control as any company’s marketing could become. Today, the very same principle of selective marketing applies to effective marketing. Here are a few basics to guide the way.

#1 Today’s sales are more about conversations and less about aggressive selling

This is sometimes hard for seasoned sales professionals to grasp, that they are more effective by providing insights and intelligence to business problem-solving than reading someone and matching their behaviors through their chameleon selling. In years past this was one aspect that separated truly strong sales people but today it’s more about the information than the persuasion.

#2 Make sure your online story matches your in-person selling

In former times a sales presentation was made face-to-face, and a handshake accompanied a hard fought presentation of services after the sale was made. Today, most sales presentations begin online and most are concluded online so gaining someone’s attention and helping them through their evaluation and decision-making is essential to making a sale.

#3 Offer your prospects at least 5 reasons to consider buying from you

There are lots of variables but here are several we have found extremely effective in helping make a sale:

  • Effective pricing
  • Included services provided
  • Easy tutorial and demos
  • Easy in and out service plans
  • Strong customer services
  • Service guarantees

#4 Recognize the mega online media lines that have been drawn

In today’s cluttered and complex online media world, it makes sense to strategically simplify your marketing. One quick way to accomplish this is to separate the mega stars from the rest and build them out to what will be the most valuable to your prospects and customers. Realize one size does not fit all, and there are primary online media versus sub-media that are best to use. Here are a few guideposts:

  • Facebook is for friends
  • Linkedin is for business
  • YouTube is for videos
  • Flickr is for photos
  • SlideShare is for presentations

Customers will focus on a few communities that offer unique value-add to their life and interests. The same holds true for consumers.  We expect that most people will participate somewhere in the range of 2 – 10 social media communities. Note: We did not say dozens, hundreds, or thousands. In today’s strategic marketing mix, it’s better to be dominant in several media than milk toast in two dozen. Take a look at your strategic market plan and make sure you’re supporting your visitor’s questions as they navigate through your website and company’s services. By providing them with a clear path to making an informed decision that meets their specific needs you can become the value-added provider they have been searching for.