The Time is Now: From Paper-Based to Digital Selling

By Tom Pisello | April 15, 2020

I was visiting with a Consumer Products company the other day, virtually of course, and the urgency was clear.

For years their sellers had relied on selling with a paper-loaded binder. Even though their sellers were enabled with laptops, they would use the product catalogue binder in side by side client meetings, to update a customer on the latest products, and then leave glossy paper-handouts so the customer could remember and socialize the recommended products to others.

Now with their customers and sellers working from home, and a new reliance on remote meetings continuing well past the crisis, the old paper driven model won’t cut it. A digital selling transformation was required. And not in a few months. This had to happen NOW.

What to do?

The company is quickly working to take the PDF product information, data sheets and pricing guides, to organize the products into an on-line catalogue, leveraging an easy to setup and use sales enablement platform.

The binder had an organization system, by solution area and product, that the sellers knew well, so the enablement team is leveraging an on-line carousel of menu choices to mimic the navigation, guiding the seller to the right products, and data sheets and pricing / configuration guides similar to the binders, but digitally powered.

The sellers can navigate interactively during the on-line meeting through the hierarchy of solutions using the carousel navigation or leverage smart searches to directly jump to and find the right solution. This information can be shared interactively in the on-line virtual meeting, presented right from the sales enablement system.

Related solutions and resources are smartly recommended and displayed, to help guide the seller to additional content and products that can be shared with the customer, to help improve up and cross selling, and fuel even deeper value-added conversations and engagements.

Most importantly, as the seller highlights various solutions and help guide the customer to the right products, they can “grab” the content into a “collection”. This places the content into a customized portal, creating a shareable link that the seller with a point and click can share with the customer.

The customer can use the shareable link to peruse all the recommended products, reviewing a rich collection of data sheets, pricing and case studies / videos that the seller placed in the collection. Best yet, the seller gets an email highlighting how the customer engaged and consumed the content – how much time is spent with each document, which pages they focused on the most, and even who they shared the content with. Certainly something that paper never afforded the sales reps.

For the content team, no longer will they have to deal with mailing paper update packages to the sellers and dealing with binders and product information out of date. Sellers too are relieved of the manual updates too.

And the content team will now have complete visibility as to what products and content sales is recommending, sharing and how customers are engaging and consuming the content.

The Bottom-Line

This CPG company recognized the need to quickly move from paper-based to digital selling. They leveraged an easy to use sales enablement platform to quickly create a product catalogue to once-and-for-all replace the paper-based binders in remote selling scenarios.

They are rolling this out to the sales team along with remote meeting tools and training to empower the sellers to leverage the on-line virtual product catalogue to collaborate and present with customers, and shareable links to create personalized leave behind collections.

From paper-based to digital selling in a week. A digital sales transformation that didn’t take months, and was just what this CPG company needed.

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