Do we still need people skills when sales are increasingly targeted through digital means?

There is a major difference in style between a seasoned, old school salesperson and a young account executive just getting into the game. The guy who’s been at it for 25 years has the experience of hundreds of cold calls. He’s got a pretty great idea of what works to garner trust and close a sale.

But he’s lacking one really important thing. He has few, if any, digital marketing skills.
Now take a look at the twenty-something just getting into the business, armed with mobile technology, social media, the cloud, and big data. And completely lacking in relationship marketing experience. To whom does lead generation belong?

The Lead Generation Gap is the chasm between people skills and tech skills. We are entering the era of big data. Lead generation no longer happens on a handshake. It happens at the tip of the funnel. These days, a sale starts with the request for an email address and a zip code, and that scrap of information pulls back the curtain on a world of data.

With the robust power of big data, are high touch sales techniques a thing of the past? Yes and no.

In order to bridge the lead generation gap, you need to become a pro at an entirely novel method of marketing: digital people skills.

It’s all part of inbound marketing – the practice of attracting an audience in a non-interruptive way. Rather than obnoxiously interrupting the prospect’s experience with an intrusive ad that disrupts the flow of content, inbound marketing relies upon blogging, podcasts, video, whitepapers and eBooks to contribute to the content and information flow.

Even if your company is not directly engaged in ecommerce, your funnel friendly website takes the place of human to human interaction. People skills are far from obsolete.  A human being makes the purchase, and a human being designs the interface.

Your website must replicate the experience of a human interaction. For example, would a salesperson begin a pitch by holding a large card in front of your face and forcing you to view a static ad for five seconds before you are allowed to start the conversation?

Instead, build your website as an extension of your company’s personality. Take it digital, and tap into the top tricks of seasoned salespeople. Provide great content that’s informative, engaging, and offers relevant solutions, and your website becomes your best sales tool. Treat your visitors like humans, not data sources. Your openness, willingness to listen, knack for problem solving, warmth, and insight is the key to finding great leads and closing deals.