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Close more deals with the latest sales trends and tips from Salesblazers.

What Is Digital Sales? Tips, Strategies, and Tools

A woman with a credit card shopping online: digital sales
Digital sales is about how you sell your products and services online — with a personal touch. [Adobe / Studio Science]

The world has gone digital. Now is the time to level up your sales strategy with digital selling.

The sales environment is overwhelmingly digital. McKinsey & Company found that 80% of B2B buyers want self-serve digital options. It’s a similar story in B2C circles, where up to 70% of deals are closed online, depending on the industry. With this in mind, you’ll have a better chance of reaching your customers by upskilling with digital sales. This guide will help you get started.

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What are digital sales?

Digital sales refers to the process of selling your products and services online. This includes many different digital channels, including websites (online stores), social media platforms, email, and chat.

Examples of digital sales channels

  • Websites: A website is a digital storefront. Potential customers can browse products and purchase on their timeline without interfacing with a sales rep.
  • Social media: If you’ve ever seen an ad pop up in your Instagram or Facebook feed, you know all about the social media selling landscape. These ads often allow you to peruse products directly on the social platform before transferring you to an online store to complete a purchase.
  • Email: Personalized emails go beyond promotional blasts. Today, they can deliver targeted, relevant messages that show prospects products relevant to them. With embedded links that take them directly to an online store, it’s easy to close deals.
  • Chatbots: Have you ever visited a website and a window popped up asking if you need help? That’s a chatbot. Chatbots are software that simulate human conversations. They’re often used for customer service, but also work well as selling tools, asking questions about prospect interest and suggesting products that align with those interests.

Why are digital sales important?

Digital sales lets you connect with your target audience on platforms that are commonly used today. Additionally, it offers these benefits:

  • Faster prospecting. Thanks to the internet and social media, brands have access to a global audience. In fact, according to Sprout Social, 68% of consumers follow brands on social media to stay updated on products and services. This digital presence is relatively easy and quick to build, which means hooking prospects takes less time than traditional sales.
  • Cost-effectiveness. With digital selling, you no longer need a physical store or extensive inventory — both of which can be costly to maintain. Sales can happen completely (or mostly) online.
  • Data-driven insights. Data from digital platforms can help you zero in on your potential customers’ behaviors, preferences, and pain points quickly and accurately so you can offer relevant solutions.

B2B vs. B2C digital sales

B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) both use digital sales channels. However, they have vastly different sales processes. Let’s look at the key differences:

B2B sales

B2B companies sell to other businesses — industries needing raw materials, manufactured goods, software, or other products to run their businesses. For example, Salesforce is a B2B company that sells its products and services to help businesses manage customer relationships.

B2B sales target large groups of decision-makers (upwards of 10-14 people) who make purchase decisions for high-priced products or services that typically affect the entire organization. This not only raises the stakes for both the buyer and the seller, but it also requires customized solutions based on the business’s needs. By the same token, it means you’ll have a much longer and more complex sales process than in B2C.

Given these characteristics of B2B sales, digital channels are used for early-stage communication (prospecting), but are less frequently used towards the end of the sales process when in-person meetings better serve to negotiate the complex details of a sale.

B2C sales

B2C companies sell directly to customers. Anytime you shop online, you’re involved in a B2C sale. In contrast to B2B sales, there are fewer decision-makers involved and much lower stakes, so the process is much quicker. Think about ads on Instagram or products in an email — it sometimes takes just a few minutes for a consumer to see the product and decide to buy. As a result, the focus in B2C is on experience, value, and instant gratification. This makes digital selling much easier throughout the entire process — from awareness of a product in an email or social media ad through purchase in an online store.

What is a digital sales room?

A digital sales room (DSR) is a secure, online space where sales teams and potential customers collaborate, typically for complex B2B sales. The centralized hub streamlines the buyer experience by providing easy access to stakeholders and communications all in one place. This not only drives engagement but helps you stand out from the competition who often manage sales in multiple channels/spaces.

Digital sales rooms evolved from simple online folders with basic document sharing and communications features to the sophisticated microsite platforms. They often house personalized, interactive content, demos, presentations, and other deal-specific assets. In addition, DSRs are optimized with real-time analytics that track customer engagement and integrate with CRM tools to streamline workflows.

Digital sales vs. digital marketing

Digital sales focuses on closing deals. It uses tools like sales automation, live chat, personalized offers, and product demos to convert qualified leads into paying customers. Digital sales success is typically measured by conversion rates, average order value, and sales cycle length.

Digital marketing is a long-term strategy aimed at building brand recognition and bringing prospects into a company’s ecosystem, encouraging them to buy. Instead of zeroing in on a single buyer or small group of buyers, it focuses on the entire target audience. Common tools in the digital marketer’s toolbelt include SEO-optimized content that brings prospects to a company’s website and social media posts that showcase a company’s products and expertise.

Strategies for an effective digital sales model

  • Embrace technology: First, pay attention to content engagement, website traffic, and demographics to learn what your potential customers want from your business. Then, automate time-consuming prospecting tasks to hook the right ones quickly. For example, you can create pre-made forms for potential customers to fill out to get product specifics.
  • Make it seamless: Website glitches, slow load times, and a confusing user experience give your prospects the perfect excuse to jump from you to your competitor. Make your digital selling experience intuitive — from first exposure to the final “Buy” button.
  • Prove it: Case studies are excellent resources to show that your business knows what it’s doing. If you claim to offer a solution, show how this has played out for customers.

Best digital selling tools

Choosing the best digital selling tools for your business depends on your needs and budget. Consider adding these to your sales toolkit:

  • CRM: Platforms like Sales Cloud organize customer data to streamline relationships and sales processes. They also allow you to manage your pipeline when digital sales leads come in, and automate communication like emails to ensure you continue to engage high-value leads.
  • Social media management tool: Schedule and track social media posts to engage followers. Make sure you pick a tool that includes robust analytics so you can see what’s working — and what isn’t.
  • E-commerce platforms: Power your own online store for selling products and managing transactions securely. You can maintain inventory digitally, and even fold in engagement tools like chatbots to encourage prospects to buy.

Digital selling tips

When you understand your target audience’s needs, the possibilities for effective digital sales are endless. With this in mind, here are examples of digital selling strategies to consider:

  • Get social: The 2023 Sprout Social Index found that 51% of consumers want brands to engage with them on social platforms. Join forums, leave comments, and send direct messages.
  • Be human. A webinar or social reel humanizes your brand. Additionally, it lets you express your feelings about your product or service in a way that a static ad can’t. Foster that human connection!
  • Find your brand champions: Who are you more likely to trust? A friend or family member’s recommendation, or an internet ad? Use the influence of people who already love your brand to generate new business via word-of-mouth endorsement. Then, ask satisfied buyers to leave reviews or post about your product on social media.

Build lasting relationships in the digital space

Digital sales are here to stay, so it’s time to make the most of your strategies. As customers demand more self-service options, personalized experiences, and seamless purchase journeys, you have the potential to create meaningful customer connections and grow your business. To make this possible, be sure to use the right tools — like email, social media, and e-commerce platforms — to nurture customer relationships. Use your CRM to analyze data, perfect your digital sales process, and connect with your customers when it matters most.

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Erin Hueffner, Writer, Salesblazer
Erin Hueffner Writer, Salesblazer

Erin Hueffner is a writer from Madison, Wisconsin. Her career spans two decades in tech, journalism, and content marketing. At Salesforce, Erin’s work focuses on sales fundamentals and best practice content for Salesblazers. Erin has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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