The digital age has led to the evolution of the customer journey.

The sales process needs to evolve as well to be effective.

In the past, customers would simply pull out their giant phone book, look up a business, and give them a call.

By 1996 consumers started using the Internet, in 2000 Google search emerged, and by 2007 mobile devices consumers gained access to information anytime and anywhere in any place that they need it.

This disrupted traditional advertising substantially, and advertising revenue began to drastically decline as businesses diverted their advertising dollars into digital-first channels en masse.

By the year 2022 forecasts predict that online advertising revenues will surpass all traditional media channels combined. This is forcing traditional media players to get into the digital space by offering services across the whole digital marketing stack: websites, online presence, reputation management, social media, display ads, and more.

Most traditional media players are still reeling from this massive drain on revenue.

The bottom line is that your mindset and processes have to evolve to stake a claim in the new world of sales, marketing, and advertising.

This post covers exactly what any company that sells digital solutions needs to know: How to enhance and streamline your sales process to succeed in the digital future.

Let’s start with the main reason why a sales system overhaul is so essential.

🙋Before we continue - you could alternatively watch my FREE webinar on the ARG sales system. I dive deep into each step and have a special announcement for those who watch!

The Cost of Acquisition is Too High to Squander Opportunities

Unfortunately, while digital presents massive revenue and growth potential as an advertising channel, many traditional media companies are struggling. Why? It’s mostly because there's a very high cost to acquire new business, and profit margins are razor thin.

Let's explore why that is:

  1. They’re busy. Local business owners are busy. They're hard to sell to. it can take five to eight hours or more just to educate that advertiser on what this new digital solution is going to do for them and close a deal.
  2. They’re overwhelmed. Local businesses have become inundated with salespeople who are calling on them 78 times per week trying to sell them digital advertising solution. Anyone with a laptop and a cell phone can now provide these types of services, and businesses struggle filtering through who's going to bring the value and who's just going to take their money.
  3. They have too many options. There are way too many options for businesses to choose from. Many of them are getting analysis paralysis and not making the decision at all.
  4. They’re using outdated tech. Many of the traditional media companies that we're working with are using old processes, old technologies, and old systems that are eating up their time and hampering salespeople. This makes it hard to compete in the marketplace against more technologically savvy companies who are utilizing software tools to accelerate their funnels and to close more deals.

The Sales System That Makes Selling Digital Profitable

I’m here to share the secrets to reducing those high costs of acquisition, improving margins, and make it easier for your company’s sales team to sell digital.

We'll discuss the elements of the ARG sales system (Acquire, Retain and Grow), how to optimize this system over time and how to significantly reduce the amount of time that it takes for your team to get to a sale.

These are the same strategies that Vendasta has used to help thousands of local media companies and agencies all over the world generate hundreds of millions in monthly recurring digital revenue.

The first step to lowering your cost of acquisition is to have a repeatable digital sales system that can be easily trained and executed by traditional or digital sales reps. The acquire, retain, and grow is a digital sales system we've been working on for years.

Here’s how it works:

1. The Acquire Stage

The first stage is the acquire stage which has four steps:

1. Research

First, we want to conduct research on the local business and find qualified prospects that might need your solutions. It’ll help to think about what types of businesses you’re most successful at engaging, and who needs the most help.

There are multiple strategies for research or prospecting but at this point you want to create a list of anybody that you might want to call on, or any businesses that you might want to work with.

2. Educate

Once you've identified prospects you want to speak with about your solution, you need to educate them. This step involves reaching out and educating the business on the importance of online marketing and advertising. You’ll need to show them how they're currently doing and teach them different things that they could do to improve.

This is a value before the sale approach and it really helps to differentiate your company from those others that are calling on the business.

There are a number of ways to educate: like content videos, training, in-person consultations and more.

3. Mine Intent

Now that you've educated your prospect, you need discover if they’re actually interested in what you offer. This is going to help you to save time: Are you calling on somebody that's actually interested?

Ultimately you just want to understand if they're going to take the next steps and buy one of your solutions and solve some of the problems they might have.

You can mine intent with phone calls, in-person visits, emails, or text messages.

4. Consult and Close

Now it's time to meet with your prospect and discuss their desired outcomes. You've mined the intent so you know they're interested.

Do they want to generate more leads? Do they want to outsource their marketing? Are they looking to establish a better online presence?

It's essential that your sales force provides a consultative sales approach versus a hard close approach. Businesses make final decisions based on trust and understanding of what they are getting.

Consult with them on how your business will help them solve their problems and achieve the desired outcome that they're looking for.

2. The Retain Phase

The retain stage is all about being able to show the business even more value and help them understand what they bought. You’ll also want to share those benefits that your solution is going to give them every month.

1. Adoption

You've sold your prospects on your solutions, but now you want to communicate your solutions’ value by helping them adopt it. This is critical to reducing customer churn and keeping clients locked into the long term. We want to provide content, education and consulting time with the business on what they purchased.

Why? The chances that they’ll remember exactly what they purchased and the value there in the 30-60 days after the sale is going to be slim to none.

You'll want to share valuable information with the business about their solution and get them to engage with it. We want to help them adopt the solution.

2. Proof of Performance

At this point, you need to be providing monthly reports on how your solution is performing; what results are you getting for your customer? The business needs to know exactly what you've done for them, otherwise, you shouldn’t expect to keep their business very long!

Every business that buys marketing just wants to know in the back of their head that you are actually doing something productive with their money and actually getting results.

3. The Growth Stage

At this point, your client is happy with the solution that you've been providing them. You've been delivering desired outcomes month after month, they’re satisfied with your service and maybe have even told a couple of their friends. However, there's more you can help your customers.

The first sale is the entry point, but there's more you can do and more ways you can enhance their results.

1. Mine Intent

In step one of the growth stage we need some mine intent again and find out if they're interested in an additional solution. Maybe they need a website. Maybe they need some social media marketing. Maybe they need some branding help. In most cases, once your advertiser has a taste of success they want more of it.

Once they believe you can get them results, you're going to have a greater opportunity to go back for another sale.

At this point you want to mine intent again with phone calls, in person visits, emails, text messages or other communication. This will help you understand if they're interested in buying an additional solution from you.

2. Upsell and Cross Sell

Now that we've mined intent again and we know that our client has interest in an additional solution, it's time to upsell or cross-sell that client into an offering that’ll enhance their first solution.

You’ll want to close the sale with a monthly retainer. A monthly retainer helps the business move faster move towards their goals every month and it’ll help YOU create more predictable revenue.

For example, let's say we initially sold them online listings in an online presence program that helps them grow their findability. Now it makes sense to sell them a conversion product such as a website, or sell them more awareness and help them generate more traffic to their listing.

How to Be There for Every Step of the Local Customer Journey

Now that we’ve covered the ARG sale system, I'm going to share with you the secret to providing scalable digital solutions to your prospects and customers. When we're thinking about the digital solutions that we want to provide, we want to think about the local customer journey.

The local consumer journey has changed dramatically since the digital revolution. It still starts with awareness for the customer - they become aware of their problem, a solution, or something they want to buy.

That now happens is the channels (like Google or Facebook) where they went to investigate that awareness, so the business needs to be findable on those platforms. They also need to have a good reputation. The consumer needs a reason to purchase from that business, and they're going to convert via the website or give them a call from the listing profile.

Finally, is the business promoting advocacy? Are they getting consumers to come back into the funnel to buy again? At the bottom of the customer journey graphic, you can see that there are a number of solutions that’ll work each step of the way. It's hard providing all of these solutions in a streamlined way. You could build a team in-house to execute against all of these different services and products, or you could partner with a local agency who’ll provide these solutions for you.

Dive Deep into the ARG Sales System in My Free Webinar

To dive deeper into the ARG sales system, check out my Free webinar.

  • We'll dive deep into the ARG (Aquire, Retain, Grow) sales system and how to make it work for you
  • You’ll learn how to use automation to create hot leads and engage with your customers while you sleep
  • You’ll learn how to lower your company's Product, Service, and Fulfillment costs
  • You’ll get a chance to win a special deal on our award-winning prospecting tool!
  • The market has changed drastically...has your sales strategy?

Join me to find out how to do it, step by step: