Find Out What A Digital Agency Could Do For Your Business

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If you are trying to get your business noticed in 2016, we suggest you hire a digital marketing agency. You can think of a marketing agency as a huge promotional force like an ocean wave, surging your business forward into the market. They don’t just promote your company on one level. They will use every tactic you can think of to make your business a hit. Here’s why you need the help of a professional marketing team if you want to ensure your business comes out on top.

 

Marketing Isn’t Easy

There’s a common misconception among new businesses that marketing a new company is easy. This assumption is derived from the fact that marketing and promotion can be completed entirely online. While this is true, it hasn’t made the situation any easier. If anything, you’re facing more competition than ever. You can’t just put a few links on your business site and hope for the best. You need to run a complete and orchestrated marketing campaign. A digital agency can help you with this.

 

Modern Marketing Is Submersive

You might have noticed that modern marketing isn’t just about SEO. It’s about connecting with an audience through social media and other forms of interactive promotion. Businesses make this look easy every day. They make it look like it could be completed by someone in their spare time. But working behind the scenes of that promotion, there’s a busy staff completing constant updates. You can hire a marketing agency, or you can hire extra staff in your business. The choice is yours, but it is a decision you’ll have to make. It’s too much effort for someone else in your business to add this role on to their already busy schedule.
Outsourcing Is Cheap

By hiring a marketing agency, you are outsourcing the issue of marketing in your business. That’s a good idea because hiring a full-time marketing team is going to cost your company a fortune. You can save on costs by hiring a marketing agency and getting the same, full benefits. At the same time, a marketing agency will have more resources for your campaign that you don’t have to pay for. If you want the same benefits in your business, you’re going to need to buy the additional software marketers will be using.
The Marketing Industry Is Booming

If you’re worried you won’t be able to find a professional marketing team that suits your business, think again. The marketing industry is booming right now, and that means there are plenty of agencies available to hire. CandidSky provides a full marketing service for your company at a price you can afford. It’s the big marketing service a small business might need to expand their reach.

 

You Need To Avoid Penalties

Of course, the most important reason to hire a marketing team is to avoid penalties. A trap business owners who self-market fall into is using low standard marketing methods. Marketing agencies would never consider using these because they know the result. Blackhat marketing will cause your business search ranking to plummet. It’s the last thing you want, and that’s why you should get a professional behind the keys of your marketing campaign.

How I Hack A Conference With #SocialSelling by Peter Strid

You can’t attend every industry conference.  But you can make it seem like you are there…you can join digitally…you might even find a new deal like I have!

There was a recent industry conference, let’s call it “SocialSlam15!” being held in California an exclusive resort.  A great opportunity for me to rub elbows with my peers and prospect audience of marketing and sales leaders interested in Social Selling!  I had one problem; for those who know me, I broke my leg a few months ago and had a date with an orthopedic surgeon I couldn’t miss, so I couldn’t physically attend.  I decided to do the next best thing…Hack it to make people think I was there!  (I also saved thousands $ in airfare, hotel 😉

My #SocialSelling Conference Hack was accomplished primarily using Twitter, LinkedIn, Email, Text Messaging and, yes, Periscope.  My outcomes were better than anticipated.  I attracted a bunch of new Twitter Followers and unsolicited LinkedIn Connections.  I had 4 existing clients and 3 net new prospects literally reach out to me wanting to get together with me while I was “at the event” because they thought I was sitting in the resort with them!

Evidence:

I even received an unsolicited job offer from an attendee of “SocialSlam15!” (Thanks but no thanks).  The best part of it all;  I anticipate closing at least one Net New Deal because of my activity there!

Here are a few examples of the type of activity during the “SocialSlam!” Event that made my presence known:

1) I start with a post on LinkedIn…a simple screen capture of a picture of the key note speaker that I borrowed from another attendee’s tweet.  Here’s a simple example of a conference being held right now in NYC called “Uncubed”.  Looks like I’m sitting in the front row.  Some people on my team even thought I was in NYC today after seeing this post!  

2) I tweet the same content to take advantage of the many attendees referencing the #hashtag throughout the event.  I also “tagged” the Uncubed team.  I’m starting to get noticed!  And I could continue with more tweets and posts… 

With the rest of this post I’ll describe how I can “attend digitally” without physically being present and while saving $5000 and 4 days away from my office. I am engaging with peers and prospects not in an attempt to trick them, but an important observation is that when people gather physically at a conference, they also gather digitally. This creates an opportunity to engage – whether you are there physically or virtually.  I’ll use an awesome upcoming Conference that I’d like to attend as an example: Selling Power Magazine’s “Sales 2.0” Event in Philadelphia!

Make Yourself Known!

1) Your best results will come if you get a head start.  Before the kick off of the conference you are targeting, do some research. Review the website of the conference for basic details…Location, Timing, Agenda, Speakers, etc…

2) Find the twitter #hashtags associated with the event.  Usually the conference website will have point you to their twitter handle where you might find some info.  In the case of this upcoming Selling Power “Sales 2.0” conference the #hashtag is: #s20c.    3) Follow as many of the speakers and conference affiliates on Twitter that you can find…this will help you get them to notice you and set you up for tweeting about them when they are on stage. 4) Make your excitement and anticipated presence known by tweeting that you will be there!  A few tips…add an image such as the logo of the conference, use the event #hashtag, tag the speakers (you can tag up to 10 people). Every time someone interacts with the tweet they will be notified!  

5) Along with that tweet, make yourself known on LinkedIn as well.  Here I have re-purposed that tweet on LinkedIn by uploading a photo…again making sure to tag the key note speakers.

6) Be sure to retweet, “like” and engage with some of the current activity from the speakers…especially if they are already tweeting about the event!  Also pay close attention to the #hashtag in the days leading up to the event…you might find something to take advantage of.

I’ve outlined the basics of the beginning of my activity.  Leading up to the show I will continue to follow the #hashtag and “like” and retweet select posts.  It’s important to be creative and have some fun with it.  Some events post updates to their blog or website, some even live broadcast.  Use these to your advantage…listen and pull sound bites that you can retweet and credit the speaker.  Speakers love being on stage and they LOVE when people boost their egos with tweets of their presentation content.  People will retweet you and you will be on your way to being there. (Almost!)

This strategy can be incredibly fruitful.  I have literally closed deals because of this type of behavior.  For more detail on how I proceed on “gameday”, reach out to me. I have a lot more tricks…too many to list here; things like how to use Periscope for live action or even YouTube. If you’d like me to teach you or your sales team how to do this in your industry, please reach out to me…I’d love to help.

Have any hacks of your own that are similar…please share them below!

If you found this post useful…send it to your friends.  Nothing better than a nice share to your followers!  Thanks!

Follow Me On Twitter @PeterStrid

Follow Me On LinkedIn

THE ROI OF SOCIAL SELLING: 5 DATA-DRIVEN OUTCOMES [INFOGRAPHIC]

The number of companies adopting Social Selling tactics is growing at a rapid rate. In fact, 62.9% of sales professionals report that Social Selling has become highly important for closing new deals. With such levels of adoption, the odds are high that either you or someone in your company are already using social channels to generate new revenue.

  • Buyers are already 57% through the purhcase process before sales professionals even speak to them. (Tweet This)
  • B2B organizations with tightly aligned marketing and sales achieved 24% faster revenue growth.(Tweet This)
  • Nearly 82% of buyers viewed between five to eight pieces of content from a winning vendor. (Tweet This)

From staying ahead of the competition to having more sales conversations, it’s undeniable the outcomes of Social Selling are evident. The infographic below shows the results that Social Selling is providing for companies of all sizes. Take a look!

social-selling-roi-infographic-#WESOE

Originally posted HERE

Embrace the Work, and Don’t Be Afraid to Get Dirty!

This fun infographic, inspired by Roy Osing, author of the BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series, makes a great point — that success isn’t elegant and is not the result of a formula.

No, doing anything worthwhile can be messy! Things don’t often go as planned — and when something unpredictable happens, you must be willing to scramble and get dirty to move forward.

Achievement is a messy affair, and if you are NOT prepared to get dirty, chances are you won’t reach your desired destination.

What does “get dirty” look like when you’re working toward a goal? Here are Roy’s 10 “dirty rules”:

  1. Make fast decisions.
  2. Have a Plan B.
  3. Embrace Imperfection.
  4. Do it. Try it. Fix it.
  5. Align yourself with doers.
  6. Work outside your comfort zone.
  7. Bend the rules.
  8. Do what needs to be done.
  9. Avoid multitasking.
  10. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

If you want to succeed, take a look at your hands. If they’re dirty, you’re on the right path!

Enjoy this infographic, and be sure to share it with anybody else who’s working toward success.

#WESOE

Originally posted HERE

 

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79 Social Media Facts That Reveal How Our World Is Changing by Jeff Bullas

 

Stack of old newspapers and a tablet pc on the wooden table

Social media is an addiction.

Well, it is for many of us. Most people can’t walk straight these days as they have their head in the mobile phone and one eye on the pavement. If someone from 100 years ago was transported to 2016, they would think we were mad as we talk to ourselves with white wires hanging from our ears!

So why are we so captivated?

It’s about human connection at scale that networks us to billions of people. We are curious about the impact of our creations. Will they like it? Are they sharing my thoughts, photos and videos?1

It also gives us a voice.

Social media makes us feel empowered

This intersection of humanity and technology is human super consciousness enabled by hardware, apps and wireless connectivity. It’s a global mind meld that  allows us to share thoughts, feelings and images with our family and friends no matter where we or they are. Virtual reality is becoming the reality. Social media is now a big part of that reality.

We can also join in global engagement of our individual interests.

A niche interest in playing a certain online game, sharing train watching ideas and cave diving tips can now be indulged with other like minded humans that become our global interest tribes. You no longer have to drive or fly to join or create a conversation. Skype, Periscope or Blab can help you connect from home.

It’s hyper connectivity at scale. It’s changing the world as we know it. And we don’t know where it is going.

Keep innovating

The social web and the digital world is forcing business to think different about its marketing, what content it creates and to focus on innovation.

What worked just 5 years ago doesn’t work today.

Relying on organic traffic from Facebook shares was the main social sharing tactic 5 years ago now. We now know we need to pay for that traffic in 2016!

So you need to try the other options. These include:

Flipboard: Over 70 million users

WhatsApp: Just cracked the 1 billion user mark

Snapchat: Reported to have 100 million users2

Social media is splintering. It’s no longer just about Facebook.

So the social sharing buttons need to be updated. I have now added Flipboard and WhatsApp. To help me do that I use one of the best Apps for bloggers and website owners.. (an awesome app called SumoMe).

It allows me to easily connect and update my sharing buttons (plus 11+ other cool options) which can be a floating sidebar, at the top or sitting at the bottom of the page.

image: http://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Sumome-sharing-buttons.jpg

Sumome sharing buttons

Not only that but it provides you with great metrics and stats. Here is some of the data that you can get from the dashboard.

image: http://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Total-clicks-on-SumoMe-sharing-buttons.jpg

Total clicks on SumoMe sharing buttons

Above is my first day of metrics capture. The data that shows on a mouseover is also very insightful.

Here are the share splits.

  • Twitter was top at 63
  • LinkedIn was next at 17
  • Pinterest – 16
  • Email – 15
  • Facebook -12
  • Google+ -10
  • WhatsApp – 9
  • Buffer – 6
  • Flipboard – 2

What surprised me was how many people shared via email, WhatsApp and also FlipBoard. So we have the old and the new! Shows you not assume how and what people share. You need to know the data so you can optimize and maximize your sharing.

If you want to know some more about SumoMe check out this post on “How to Double Your Traffic Without Paying Google or Facebook a Cent“. Where I take a closer look at the key 12+ tools you can use to double your traffic.

The social web will amplify brand awareness, grow your traffic and increase leads and sales if it is done well.

Flipboard goes viral

Three weeks ago something happened that surprised me.

I published a post “7 Inspiring Books You Must Read” and then I flipped that post into one of my personal Flipboard magazines where I put all my blog posts.

A couple of hours later my traffic blew up.

I found the major source for the traffic of 200 readers a minute was coming from Flipboard.

Flipboard is a social-network aggregation magazine format mobile app that was founded in 2010 and I joined up a few years ago and have been playing at its edges . But the traffic it is driving in 2016 to my site is now very surprising but welcome.

image: http://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Flipboard-magazine-7-Inspiring-books.jpg

Flipboard magazine 7 Inspiring books

So here are the lessons on viral.

Keep innovating and trying new tactics. You will be surprised often by what works and what doesn’t.

If you want to see how the jeffbullas.com posts look like on FlipBoard come and check it out here. For more information on Flipboard, check out this article. “6 Ways Brands Can Amplify Their Marketing With FlipBoard Magazines

So after that small digression let’s have a closer look at the social media facts that behind how the social web is changing how we communicate, market and create content.

Facebook facts

Facebook owns some companies that you maybe aren’t aware of. Instagram(bought for $1billion), Occulus Rift (for $2 billion) and WhatsApp (purchase price of $19 billion). These are some of the Facebook facts from their investor relations division

  1. Monthly active users (MAUs) – MAUs were 1.59 billion as of December 31, 2015, an increase of 14% year-over-year.
  2. Revenue – Revenue for the full year 2015 was $17.93 billion, an increase of 44% year-over-year.
  3. Income from operations – Income from operations for the full year 2015 was $6.23 billion.
  4. Net income – Net income for the full year 2015 was $3.69 billion.
  5. Free cash flow – Free cash flow for the full year 2015 was $6.08 billion.
  6. Daily active users (DAUs) – DAUs were 1.04 billion on average for December 2015, an increase of 17% year-over-year.
  7. Mobile DAUs – Mobile DAUs were 934 million on average for December 2015, an increase of 25% year-over-year.
  8. Mobile MAUs – Mobile MAUs were 1.44 billion as of December 31, 2015, an increase of 21% year-over-year.
  9. Mobile advertising revenue – Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 80% of advertising revenue for the fourth quarter of 2015, up from 69% of advertising revenue in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The role of mobile is a staggering 80% of all advertising revenue. The money machine rolls on.

Twitter facts

Twitter in the last 12 months has taken a battering in the press, lost it’s CEO and is still struggling to monetise its platform. But it has a truckload of cash in reserves (at $3.5 billion) and at the current burn rate will be around for another 412 years according to USA Today.

  1. 320 Million users
  2. Twitter will be offering live embedded feeds from Periscope directly in the Twitter feed via the Twitter app on the Apple iOS.
  3. 120 million monthly users
  4. 500 million tweets are sent per day

Below are some more stats.

image: http://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Twitter-facts.jpg

Twitter facts

Image source Twitter:

Snapchat

Snapchat launched in 2011 and was initially almost dismissed as a joke. A fad that would pass. It was reported that Facebook offered $3 billion to buy the company and everyone thought they were mad to reject it.

But the facts in 2016 show a different story.

  1. 100 million active daily users
  2. 18% of all social media users in the USA use Snapchat
  3. 30% of all US. millennials use the network
  4. 8,796 photos a second are shared on Snapchat
  5. Snapchat is reputed to have 5% of the overall selfie market

Statistics source: Expanded Ramblings

image: http://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Snapchat-infographic.jpg

Snapchat infographic

Infographic source: Growingsocialmedia

WhatsApp facts

This story behind the brand name was a play on words of “What’s Up”. Facebook bought it for $19 billion on Valentine’s Day, 2014 after beating Google’s offer of $10 billion.

It’s core philosophy is simplicity.

This is a little different to how Google approached the concept with Google+. Which was more about the big bang and big bucks theory of beating Facebook. We know how that strategy played out.

So here are some of the facts behind WhatsApp.

  1. Founded in 2009 by Jan Koum and Brian Acton
  2. Just hit 1 billion users
  3. 7oo million pictures get shared on the platform daily
  4. 100 million new users are added daily
  5. More than 100 million videos are shared daily
  6. The average user send more than 1000 messages per month on WhatsApp
  7. Average user checks the app 23 times per day

image: http://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Whatsapp-infographic.jpg

Whatsapp infographic

Infographic source: Shoponless.com

Google+ facts

Google+ seems to have become more about one of its key features. Google+ Hangouts. Google+ has even admitted that Google+ maybe split up into its functional parts.

Maybe the problem was that it tried to do too much rather than start simple and evolve. Cases to prove that simple works include Twitter, Snapchat and WhatsApp.

It’s big bang theory that imploded after investing over half a billion in it’s design and development. Deep pockets don’t always win.

Google won at search but not social.

Despite that here are some figures I managed to dig up.

  1. There are 2.2 billion G+ profiles
  2. Only 9% have any publicly posted content. Do the math. That’s 198 million that published!1
  3. 37% mentioned that those activities were comments on YouTube videos

Statas source: Socialscoremedia

Instagram facts

Instagram has now passed Twitter in the user count and it looks like it is Facebook’s best investment. After buying it for $1 billion on April 9, 2012… Citibank valued it at $35 billion just before the start of 2015 when it had 300 million users.

At the beginning of 2016 it has even more. Here are some facts about Instagram to ponder.

  1. Instagram has 420 million users
  2. Users share 70 million photos a day
  3. Instagram is considered the most important social network by American teens than any other network at 32% vs 24% for Twitter and Facebook at 14%.

image: http://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Instagram-facts.jpg

Instagram facts Infographic source: Instagramchief.com

Pinterest facts

Pinterest feels like it has been around forever. But it hasn’t. On the social media scene it is almost middle aged. It started in 2009.

Here are a few facts that you may use when planning your social media marketing.

  1. 100 million users
  2. 80% are female
  3. 30% of US social media users are on Pinterest

image: http://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Pinterest-facts-2015.jpg

Pinterest facts 2015

Infographic source: Brandingandbuzzing.com

Blab facts

Blab burst on the scene in 2015 and is a live streaming video app that allows up to 4 people to be the hosts while the rest of the world looks on and comments. Sort of like the love child of Periscope and Google+ Hangouts.

  1. Number of users – No idea! But it has got a lot of attention over the last 6 months. I couldn’t find any numbers. If you have the inside scoop please let me know!!
  2. Users can sign in to the Blab through Twitter account only.
  3. Blabs can be recordable both as audio and video files
  4. The recorded Blabs can be share and upload onto the social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube etc.
  5. Blab is available for both Android and iOS platform devices
  6. The 20 characters that are additional in Twitter profile bio will be lost if you have edit the information for Blab.
  7. Viewing Blab without participating in was called as Lurk mode on Blab
  8. Blab allows maximum six hour lengthy content

The Blab rules

image: http://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Blab-rules.jpg

Blab rules

Graphic source: Marc-levy.com

Periscope facts

Periscope was launched in March, 2015 and is an app that allows live video streaming from the app on your mobile phone. Live streaming video from the mobile took off in 2015 with the launch of Meerkat, Periscope and Blab.

Using these platfroms to build brand awareness and market your business are still in embryonic stages. So watch this space

  1. Periscope was acquired by Twitter for $86 million
  2. People are watching 40 years worth of live video every day
  3. 350,000 hours of video is streamed daily
  4. Since Periscope launched last year, people have created over 100 million live broadcasts according to the Twitter blog.
  5. Estimated number of users has passed 10 million
  6. Daily active users has passed 1.85 million

 Source of data: Omnicoreagency.com

image: http://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Periscope-5-tips-JanLehner.com_.jpg

Periscope 5 tips JanLehner.com

Infographic source: JenLehner.com

Flipboard facts

So I am maybe pushing the boundaries of what is a social network but Flipboard does allow sharing, content publishing and comments.

It “is” still social media.

Flipboard was launched in 2010 by former Apple iPhone engineer, Evan Doll, and former Tellme CEO, Mike McCue. The duo set out to create an app that merged the simplicity and feel of a magazine with the accessibility and collaboration that technology provides. The app integrates news from media outlets from around the world and presents it in a magazine format.

  1. 72 million monthly users
  2. 36 million use it every week
  3. It is in more than 20 languages
  4. Users flip through 8.2 billion stories a month
  5. They have raised over $200 million in funding

image: http://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Flipboard-infographic.jpg

Flipboard infographic

Infographic: Aboutflipboard.com

Over to you

How is social media, the apps and the social web changing your world?

Are you innovating or stagnating? What’s working for you? Look forward to your insights and feedback in the comments below.
Read more at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2016/02/08/79-social-media-facts-that-reveal-how-our-world-is-changing/#Ar75ZJ5SM2pdp4W0.99

10 Ways To Teach Your Customers To Buy From You by Gerry Moran

When it comes successful social selling and meeting your sales quota, being more like a car mechanic, instead of a car salesman, might be the key to your success. Huh? How are you going to meet your quota if you don’t act like the tenacious and famous car salesman, Cal Worthington?

Teach Your Customers

I have purchased over 10 cars in my lifetime and cannot remember any of the names, faces or other details of the people who sold them to me. However, I remember every car mechanic I’ve ever worked with. I remember each of them because we built a trusting relationship. They taught me and did not sell me. They showed me how to maintain my car and advised me on what to look for when buying a new car. They were my trusted advisor who helped me fix my current problem and frame my future purchase. Wow!

Whether you are selling enterprise software solutions in the cloud or trading show shipping services you can position yourself as a teacher, like my car mechanics, and reap the rewards of being a top seller.

Social Selling Lessons | Be A Teacher Not A Seller

1. Differentiate Yourself From The Sales Sharks. With InsideView reporting that 90% of CEO’s do not return cold emails or calls, becoming a trusted advisor and teacher to your customers makes sense. It’s the only way to break through to them. Don’t ‘look’ like the typical sales professional and you will separate yourself form the herd of sales sharks.

2. Don’t Be All About Making A Deal. Instead of focusing on a small amount of sales, build a large social network people modeled after your customers and their influencers. 75% of B2B decision makers use social media to learn. So, plug into this larger network, to bust your quota.

3. Pass On Valuable Information. Don’t use your social media and network channels to promote your solutions. Pass on valuable information, instead, to lead the conversation to you when the time is right to buy. You want to be known for handing out knowledge and not brochures.

4. Associate Yourself With Great Brands. You are the company you keep, so keep good company. Associate yourself with great knowledge brands, like Harvard Business Review, Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, to build your reputation and brand.

5. Think Outside The Trade-Show Booth. Cast the trade booth sales mentality away and spread your knowledge so people will eventually visit your trade booth when it’s time to buy; 73% of customers are willing to engage with you on social media, so get to it!

Successful-Content-MarketingThink.com-@GerryMoran

6. Use Social Media To Teach And Not Sell. Selling is best done face-to-face. However, Social Media Today reports B2B buyers look at an average of over 10 digital resources before ever making a purchase. Since customers need to learn before they buy, use this opportunity on social media to connect. Your customers are there whether or not you are.

7. Teach And Connect With Today’s Technology. Connect and get on the radar of your customers and potential networks by retweeting, sharing, commenting and favoriting others’ content. Intersecting with their learning tools is a great way to build a relationship instead of finding and phoning them from a LinkedIn search. LinkedIn reports 85% of IT Decision Makers use social networks for business, so your future customers are waiting for you to socially engage.

8. Develop Insights. Before you teach and connect with your customers, you need to listen to the customer and their customers. Listening is a great way to prepare for your connections and calls. SirisuDecisions reports 82% B2B decision makers think sales representatives are unprepared for meetings, so this insight-driven approach will help you build the best social selling lesson plan.

9. Tap Into The Ready-made Network. There is an entire social community on LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs, where customers are tapping to learn how to be smarter, more effective, more efficient to make more money. Determine how to tap into this potential, leverage the rules of engagement, and position yourself as a teacher; especially since the Sales Benchmark Index reports reps with 5000+ linked in connections have a 98% chance of attaining quota.

10. Be A Publisher. In addition to curating and passing on the great content to your network, create your own assets on a blog. Blogging is the social selling secret weapon. Hubspot reports that 92% of companies that blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from their blog, so this strategy seems like a no-brainer!

Do you have another teaching tip to share? If so, please comment below.

 

12 reasons you should prioritize social selling in 2014 by Matt Heinz

Matt Heinz

I’m asked frequently to justify why social selling is worth the time. Not three months ago, I was booked for a sales kick-off to teach a session on social selling until the CEO nixed the session, telling us he didn’t want to distract the sales team from closing business by wasting time with social media.

On the contrary, social media and social selling can accelerate finding, managing and closing business.

Below are 12 reasons why social selling should be a priority for most B2B sales organizations in 2014.

1. It’s proven
This time last year you could potentially argue that social selling was still new and unproven, but not any more. There are countless individual and team examples of how social selling is having direct impact on closing deals, finding opportunities, increasing velocity of deals closing and more.

2. It’s far more efficient than cold calling
We did an A/B test with a client last year – taking half of the sales team’s time to continue cold calling, and the other half of their time engaging in social selling activities. Bottom line, the social selling time generated 40% more qualified leads and opportunities. It’s just far more effective when you call someone new with context and value.

3. The leads are the same, but come at a fraction of the cost
In some cases, that means free. You can simply use tools such as Hootsuite to find buying signals from prospects you care about. You can also use paid tools such as Socedo to find and engage leads via social, with the cost of attracting the very same customers at a fraction of the cost of paid search and other digital campaigns.

4. Your competitors aren’t fishing there (yet)
I’m still surprised how many companies aren’t yet fishing in these ponds. That will change over the next 1-2 years (if not sooner), but right now your customers and prospects are sharing buying signals and pain points via social (including complaints about an incumbent product or service) and you very well may be the first and/or only person to respond.

5. It reaches prospects earlier in their buying cycle
Once someone is ready to buy, you might be too late. If someone gives an explicit buying signal, more people are likely listening (and the prospect is likely reaching out more actively and to more potential solution providers). But on social, you’ll hear about pain far before the prospect may think to research a solution. That puts you in a fantastic position to deliver immediate value and preference, not to mention higher conversion to sale.

6. You get to solve problems vs. sell solutions (and that’s a great position to be in)
At the end of the sales cycle, you get to sell solutions. But you earn that right by solving problems first. You earn the right by identifying and quantifying problems the prospect may or may not have known that they had. That’s the first-mover advantage, and that’s what social channels deliver to you as the seller (and the buyer).

7. You can reduce or eliminate the traditional friction between the buying & selling process
Inherently, if you’re doing social selling right, you’re reaching people where they are – not where you want them to be. And if you respond and provide value in-kind, you reduce or eliminate the friction that often exists between buyer and seller. That could be the difference between you and every other seller out there, and could be the key differentiator that gets you the deal.

8. It doesn’t require a mature, active Twitter account
One of the common fallacies I hear is that you need an active social media account to practice social selling. Not true! You don’t need tens of thousands of followers, nor do you need to be publishing 10 times a day to be relevant. Social selling isn’t about talking, it’s about listening. And listening means you spend far more time looking for other people’s buying signals vs. publishing your own.

9. The buying signals are automated and come to you!
Sometimes the social Web feels like the greatest library in the world, with all the books on the floor. You’re not going to have a lot of luck, or be very efficient, if you’re trying to keep track of everything going on all of the time. In truth, only a small fraction of what happens online matters at all to you. Use tools such as Hootsuite, Socedo and others to spend your time with relevant people, relevant social signals, that matter to you – where you can provide value back. That’s where the magic starts.

10. It scales infinitely
You can literally identify and nurture an infinite number of prospects via social. You are no longer gated by how many people you can call, or how many you can keep track of via Post-It notes, calendar reminders or even your CRM system. That scalability makes the efficiency and ROI of social selling even more lucrative.

11. It gives your sales reps more control over relationship building
The signals you’ll find via social are all over the place, and most of them won’t have anything to do with work. But that’s a good thing. Get to know what your prospects care about at work and at play. What else has their attention professionally, and how does that relate to what you’re selling or enabling? What makes them tick elsewhere – family, football, what? Get to know how to build relationships, preference and velocity with your prospects.

12. It increases velocity of engagement, preference & purchase among prospects
This is imminently measurable, and proven. Those you engage via social, as long as you’re authentic and focused on the customer-centric problems that ultimately lead to change and purchase, will convert faster and at a higher rate than traditional prospects.

I’m sure there’s more, but 12 seems enough for now. Curious to hear from those already profiting from social selling what I’ve missed here.

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Get on the Phone!!! Guest post by John Barrows

Guest Post by John Barrows John Barrows

The desk top/office phone is going the way of the eight-track, VCR, tapes, CDs, fax machines and many other older technologies being replaced by smartphones and social media.

Inside sales organizations are ghost towns these days with the only sound being the pitter patter of little fingers typing away on keyboards. More and more executives are coming to me expressing their frustration that they never hear reps on the phone any more. Regardless of the results of the team or how effectively they are applying “social selling” (whatever that means to you) to produce those results, it’s becoming a point of contention with managers who are just sick of walking through their offices and not hearing any activity.

Most sales executives today grew up in the bullpen days where all we had was a phone and a printed out spreadsheet or even better, the Yellow Pages. You had to make more calls and be louder than your cube-mate to stand out and get ahead (think Boiler Room or Pursuit of Happyness). So these days of silence just don’t feel right regardless.

The lack of calling is somewhat justified since it seems like most people rarely pick up the phone anymore and the response rates from voice mails average in the .02% range.  The younger generation even admits they think an unannounced call is an interruption and rude.  This perception coupled with the low response makes the avoidance of the phone understandable, but it doesn’t make it right.

Professor Albert Mehrabian’s communications model helps us understand why.  A general overview of his findings breaks down how people communicate as 7% words, 38% paralinguistic (the way that the words are said) and 55% facial expression or body language.  Or, to translate that into sales – 100% of the way we communicate is achieved through in-person meetings, 45% is achieved over the phone and only 7% is e-mail.

Those statistics help show why our sales efforts can be so much more effective if we can get someone on the phone, even for just a few minutes, instead of going back and forth over e-mail.  We’re a rather sarcastic group here in Boston. Have you ever tried to put sarcasm into an e-mail?  How’d that work out for you? Over the phone you can at least hear that sarcasm or recover from it if someone doesn’t get it.  You can develop rapport and help build relationships over the phone. You’re a person and not just some text on a digital screen that can get deleted or dumped into a spam filter. You can qualify much more effectively and quickly over the phone than you can over e-mail.  And by the way, like it or not, the decision makers in today’s world grew up before all this social media and even e-mail.  I’m “only” 37 and I can still remember going to college and having just a few computer rooms on campus that you had to wait in line to get in to use a dirt slow desktop computer with limited search functionality.

E-mail is obviously the number one way of communicating in business today but in my opinion it should really only be used for two reasons: 1) as part of a contact strategy to set up phone calls/meetings and 2) to follow up from phone calls/meeting. E-mail should not be used as a form of conversation or a qualification method.  With that, our initial e-mails to prospects should be short, sweet and to the point (think 2 scrolls on your smartphone), add value and have a strong call to action. They should be coupled with effective phone calls as part of our overall contact strategy. Everything we do through e-mail should be to drive that call/conversation.

 

Here are a few tips on how to make your calling more effective:

  • Stand up when making your calls – you’re more confident and your voice resonates far better
  • Start every call off with this phrase: “The reason for my call today is…” and make sure you have a reason for your call
  • Remove “weak words” from your vocabulary
  • Leave voice mails for yourself to hear what you sound like over the phone
  • Leave voice mails for your colleagues and managers and ask for feedback
  • Schedule “Power Hours” once or twice a week – grab 2-3 of your colleagues, your lead lists, a conference room and a speaker phone.  Everyone stand up and make round-robin calls to see/hear/learn what works and what doesn’t in live situations
  • Have fun with it.  We’re not curing cancer here.

 

Good luck and happy selling.

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Listen “sales”, – There is no such thing as Social Selling!

No doubt this statement will bring the wrath of those “social selling” experts who have arisen over the last few years.
Don’t get me wrong – there is an incredibly powerful and commercially viable way of selling by leveraging social platforms, so let me explain.

First, I have a problem with the phrase “social selling”, mostly because it gives the impression that if you jump onto a social media platform, you will immediately be able to sell something. You won’t, at least not straight away. Using social platforms as an additional channel requires a strategy and one that teaches you to move from a day trader to a long term investor and builder of relationships. Yes you may be stumble upon an update that says ” I need to buy [your product], please contact me” but this is an exception and not the rule.

I also struggle with calling a sales person a “social seller”. Does this individual now only sell on social platforms, or more importantly are they a seller who not only utilises the traditional methods of selling but also blends in the benefits of using social tools to add tremendous value to those traditional face to face and telephone meetings?

Social selling does not work when detached from traditional sales methods. I want to share a strategy that will enhance those traditional methods and if done correctly may even negate the need for cold calling.

Now that I have sorted out the jargon lets look at how the commercially viable Social Sales teams do it. The rule is; create the social wrap.

Below is a suggested approach to blending your traditional methods of selling to enable or influence a purchase decision. Here are my five tips:

1: Build your brand.

2: Contribute to discussions.

3: Network

4: Provide relevance through thought leadership.

5: Practice the law of reciprocity, always.

Build your brand.

Building your brand is key and should be the foundation of any great sales person. You are researching your clients and gaining insights to their personality, interests and business synergies. It would be naive to think that your clients are not similarly checking you out. Right now the strongest platform to convey and market your expertise is LinkedIn, but that platform may not be the only one! Yes you are in marketing now, the marketing of your value and credibility.

Contribute to discussions

Participating in discussions is not just about listening to what your clients are saying or understanding what they are listening to. It is about adding your point of view to the conversation. Don’t sell your product; instead offer advice, strategies, coaching on things to consider, how to guides. Add value to a discussion, and in so doing become the authentic helper.

Network

Network and connect with people. Whether you met face to face or virtually, if you feel that reciprocal value can be achieved then invite them to be part of your network. Top tip; always personalise the invite, because not doing so shows a lack of professionalism and integrity.
Utilise your network. Earn social credit by connecting people to others that will add value and benefit them. By doing so you will increase your network in size.
Also use your network to influence, for instance Twitter is business networking on steroids. Surround your self with people you want to influence and provide them great content, relevance and value.

Provide relevance through thought leadership

You need to understand your network. Two important question you could ask yourself are: What types of information would they benefit from? Where and when are they seeking it? This will help you ascertain which platforms will benefit you the most. Consider blogging, as this will become a huge asset to your branding and thought leadership. As your network increases in size so will the diversity and quantity of your content.

Practice the law of reciprocity

Trading favours is a huge part of doing business in the social world. If you are already utilising your network and introducing people to others, you are already practicing this law. Read more at Wikipedia 

So those are my top five tips for creating a social wrap.
It is all about building a brand, sharing your expertise, offering your helpfulness and building relationships and influence that will enable you to sell more using social media.

Share your best practices and tips below on how you are using social tools to help sales. And don’t forget to practice the law of reciprocity now