The role of the online sales specialist is, well…special! It’s a unique job that requires specialized skills, and it deserves specialized coaching. With one person or only a small team performing online sales, the management of the role often floats up to the sales manager or the marketing director. This means those implementing and leading the program frequently don’t have a background in online-specific sales.
If the person managing the online sales specialist doesn’t have experience in the role, the street cred just isn’t there and the messages they’re giving the online sales specialists might not land the same. Because the role of online sales is so different, someone without that experience may not connect as effectively. But don’t fear—if you’re proactive, you can gain the firsthand experience and skills you need to lead a top-notch online sales program.
How can you learn the role and gain the street cred you need to be an effective leader? Simple. Take leads for a weekend. Handle the phone when the online sales specialist is on vacation. Set a few appointments. Go through the process. Put your prospects in the CRM. A little time spent on the job can give you an understanding of the fundamentals of the role before you coach.
Whenever a manager takes leads for a certain period of time, the number one response they give the online sales specialist is, “Oh my gosh! I had no idea it was like this. This is insane. I don’t understand how you do it every day. What can we do to help you?”
If you’ve never taken leads, you’ve seen the end results but have never experienced the 38 phone calls coming in, the 12 new leads that day, and the 42 chats. It’s extremely healthy and beneficial for your role as a leader to get that hands-on experience.
The role has shifted dramatically in the past five years, and then, it moved at warp speed over the past twelve months. If you came into the sales world more than a decade ago, the skills you started out with 10-15 years ago aren’t the same as what’s needed to succeed in online sales today. It’s important to understand all the new tools for online sales, including leveraging video, chat, texting, and the CRM system, and all the things that now go into selling virtually.
Leverage your team by sitting down with people who use these things well. If you have someone who’s great at utilizing texting in their follow-up process, let them teach something to you and your team. If someone sends out excellent video emails, encourage them to conduct a training. You’ll be there to help coach, and you’ll learn something in the process.
Here’s the catch–you must lead from the front and use the same tools and skills you’re telling them to use. You can’t require your team to send video emails if you don’t do it yourself. It’s extremely important to understand the skill that you’re trying to implement, as well as to use it yourself.
It’s time to step up and be the leader your online sales specialists need. Spend some time in the role and make learning the latest skills a priority. Your online sales specialist and your builder will thank you, and you’ll be able to appreciate their unique role.