From the beginning of my online adventure, I had the opinion that the best thing on the Web is: all marketing and sales activities can be run online, if you have an appropriate online business model.
It took for me several years, when I realized that the online sales (and marketing, also) activities should be only the part of complete sales effort, if the goal is sustainable and wealthy online revenue model.
Off-line sales activities discovery
First, I remembered that almost all of my consulting jobs have been got through off-line sales/PR/marketing activities (seminars & events, business partners, recommendations, articles). The indicative is, that the base of all sales activities is actually my e-mail magazine “Search & Promote” (the oldest active e-mail magazine in Serbia, from 1997). It means, that in my case, all off-line online sales activities originated from the activities based on the e-mail magazine circulation.
Second, when I started consulting job for Eventgnosis Inc., California based security management company, there were two corporate sales employees (one of them was on the business role as the vise president of sales and marketing). Although I attended two specialized sales trainings, I finally really understood actual role of the corporate sales, sales force and organized sales activity, in the case of mentioned company.
Sales representative needed
After that experience, I always take a good look of the sales team in the online companies. It is indicative that more serious online business models have more serious sales force, generally speaking. Good example of this practice can be found in Web hosting industry.
More than 90 percent of complete Web hosting market have online ticket service, as the pre-sales and post-sales communication tool. As the pre-sales tool, some of those companies have online chat, or similar direct communication tool. The largest players in that market always have sales representatives. I had the actual experience in the communication with the sales representative of the Verio.com hosting company (international conference call). It is complete different buying experience, comparing to web site sales form, even comparing with chat and instant messaging sales communication.
When I compare mentioned (phone) experience with my off-line sales activities, in short, it can not be compared. My point is that the actual physical sales contact can not be compared in the efficiency with online sales tools. Of course, online sales efforts (including a site content and the sellable components of a site) are irreplaceable selling tool, as the part of overall organizational sales activities.
The purpose of this article is to emphases the role of classic sales activities, which is widely neglected in online business models, generally speaking.