We recently shared some insightful information about etiquette for virtual selling and how to use LinkedIn for virtual selling, but what do you do if you work in a traditional industry that hasn’t quite caught up with digital transformation? Don’t worry, we’re going to explore how to find your ideal prospects - and connect with them virtually - in a traditional industry.
The new revolution is virtual
When we say traditional industries we’re talking about verticals like
- Industrial manufacturers
- Commercial manufacturers
- Oil & gas
- Precision craft
These industries have been experiencing the biggest shift in how they work and do business since the Industrial Revolution at the turn of the century. With in-person meetings, networking events, trade shows, and conferences canceled in the face of COVID-19, salespeople had to find new ways to identify potential customers while also maintaining strong relationships with existing ones.
According to a 2020 McKinsey report, three-quarters of buyers and sellers say they actually prefer digital interactions over face-to-face, and only about 20% of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales. This clearly shows the direction we’re headed and should ignite salespeople who have yet to embrace virtual selling.
Virtual Sales and LinkedIn are growing
So, what do you do if your ideal customer is in that 20% of B2B buyers that are not interested in virtual sales or they’re not on a social-selling platform like LinkedIn?
“I'm selling to the industrial and manufacturing space and most of my clients aren't even on LinkedIn and aren't even using social media. What should I do?”
First of all - remember that social media, including LinkedIn, is part of your long game equation. If you have an immediate need, you’re better suited to use a virtual sales prospecting tool such as Outreach.io, RocketReach, or Lusha.
Second of all - remind yourself that just because you may not have clients on LinkedIn today does not mean there will never be potential buyers on LinkedIn. As your target companies continue to hire the next generation of employees, who are usually younger and younger, the likelihood of them having some type of business social media profile is also going to continue to grow. In fact, LinkedIn now has 740M members and 57M registered companies. LinkedIn users are keen on the platform - 40% check it daily and clock over 1BN interactions each month!
It’s hard to deny the fact that LinkedIn is growing and virtual sales are possible on this platform. What is certainly in your favor - no matter what virtual sales vertical you are interested in - you don’t need every single prospect or client to be on the platform. You wouldn’t have disregarded major conferences, trade shows or the like because not every person was going to be there - so why do that with virtual sales? All you need are a select few and that number will continue to grow over time.
Find the next best contact
If your perfect lead isn’t on LinkedIn, and you’re not interested in using a sales prospecting tool like the ones suggested above, find the next best contact to your perfect lead. Is there an individual in a different department of that company? In a different role? Connecting with them won’t negatively impact your virtual sales process - if anything it will only enhance your virtual sales relationships. It will give you another opportunity to have a different conversation with someone in a different department and get an inside scoop on what is happening within that organization. In turn, this will give you a greater insight when you do connect with your virtual sales prospect in the future.
The most important thing to remember with virtual sales is to never be afraid to expand your networks and reach out. The more you connect with people, the better your chances of finding the right virtual sales relationship.
Do you have advice for selling virtually to traditional industries? Comment below and have your ideas heard.