This is a great article and one that should appeal to sellers:
I liked this paragraph – Go Beyond Engaging
Successful social sellers are designing interactions (“conversations”) in ways that solve customers’ problems. In fact, they always have and so have most of us (before social media arrived). This approach makes it easy to help customers guide themselves toward products and services they really, truly need. How do we know this? It’s been this way since the beginning.
“Social behavior in humans is as old as our species, so the emergence of an Internet based on social behavior is simply our rudimentary technology catching up with offline life,” says Paul Adams, Facebook’s Global Brand Experience Manager.
Solving customers problems has always been a successful way to produce awareness, interest, desire, and purchase behavior. Providing answers to customers’ questions remains the best way to effectively coax or nurture customers toward making a purchase. Social media is inherently interactive, making this process even easier to accomplish. The key is using this familiar process, not figuring out what time of the week earns more Twitter re-tweets (or other nonsensical yet popular recommendations we often hear).
What do you think? Are you using this approach already? How is it working for you?
Is there still one decision-maker or is it a consensus decision?
Selling is different today than it has been in the past. There is a dramatic shift. I see the change as being more difficult to find and connect with decision makers through traditional routes. Email is one of these road blocks; it’s less responsive and there are dramatic shifts in the way it is being used. Also different is how information is making it’s way to the decision maker; the catalyst that is forcing these changes is the abundance of information.
Google indexes two billion websites — that’s twelve times the population of the world. A lot.
This is changing the behavior of your buyers. At one time, the biggest currency that a sales person had was information. That is why buyers would call us. They would say, I want to know about your products, want to know about this or that. Now what are they doing? They use a search engine and research about your brand, your company, and who you are.
A huge percentage of their decision has already been made before they engage with you. They are doing this online and not connecting with you to find out more. So the other thing information affects is abundance – the amount of information is so great that people aren’t sure they are getting the correct information. They think they are, but to check, they ask their friends, colleagues, trusted sources, and anyone who can bring clarity to their question.
The decision-making process has also changed regarding this question: Is there still one decision-maker or is it a consensus decision?
So we have massive amounts of information that is the meteoric rise of a grand thing called social media. How do we deal with this? People are social animals by nature — they want to connect, understand, know, and relate to others.
Here are some amazing statistics (taken from an event I attended):
- Ninety-six percent of the online population in the US used social media in January 2012.
- Time spent on social media is three times that spent on email.
- Fifty-three percent of active social networkers follow a brand but only thirty-two percent follow a celebrity.
The use of and need for email is changing greatly. One generation of users does not want email; certain education facilities no longer provide email accounts to students. To this younger generation, email is a thing of the past. Social media is change and it’s happening now.
Another wild statistic is that 294 billion emails are sent each day. It is believed 90 percent of them are spam.
Other aspects to think about:
- Social media is an important channel.
- Social media is used more than email.
- Following a celebrity is nascent and already insignificant
The three big players in social media are FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. All of them have done tremendously well and are very successful. They each service separate markets, which is why they have done so well. Twitter is a fantastic broadcast system and should be used in your sales process for getting the messages out. LinkedIn focuses on your professionalism. So if you’re selling business to business, this is the place you need to be. It services the professional and not seen as a typical social media platform but a social networking platform. All said, together they can service industries very well depending on what your message is. You need to think content and context; whichever medium you are going to use to send your message is very important.
Let’s talk about LinkedIn for a moment. The conversion rates of individuals successfully using LinkedIn is very high. Recent figures from LinkedIn demonstrate that the success rate is three times that of other platforms. LinkedIn has some great tools that can help you capitalize your network.
Social selling. I hope many of you have heard of the phrase. Social selling is taking the forces of social media and the new buying tactics, and blending them. Taking social media channels and being able to reach out and provide information to your buyers will be key in this new era. The flip side to social selling is social buying, which your buyers are already thinking about and doing, in your marketplace.
What I want to do is give you a framework of how to think about these aspects in social selling and how you can use social media to your advantage.
To be continued…
Guest Post: Mark Fidelman
IBM STUDY: If You Don’t Have a SOCIAL CEO, You’re Going to be Less Competitive
The list of the world’s CEOs regularly includes celebrities, billionaires, big egos, risk takers, and failures. What it does not include are social media experts; but that’s about to change. When IBM (NYSE: IBM) conducted its study of 1709 CEOs around the world, they found only 16% of them participating in social media. But their analysis shows that the percentage will likely grow to 57% within 5 years.
Why? because CEOs are beginning to recognize that using email and the phone to get the message out isn’t sufficient anymore.
The big takeaway: That using social technologies to engage with customers, suppliers and employees will enable the organization to be more adaptive and agile.
“As CEOs ratchet up the level of openness within their organizations, they are developing collaborative environments where employees are
encouraged to speak up, exercise personal initiative, connect with fellow
collaborators, and innovate,” the IBM study concluded.
Simply put, CEOs and their executives set the cultural tone for an organization. Through participation, they implicitly promote the use of social technologies. That will make their organizations more competitive and better able to adapt to sudden market changes.
Other key findings of the study include:
- The study reveals that CEOs are changing the nature of work by adding a powerful dose of openness, transparency and employee empowerment to the command-and-control ethos that has characterized the modern corporation for more than a century.
- Companies that outperform their peers are 30 percent more likely to identify openness – often characterized by a greater use of social media as a key enabler of collaboration and innovation – as a key influence on their organization.
- While social media is the least utilized of all customer interaction methods today, it stands to become the number two organizational engagement method within the next five years, a close second to face-to-face interactions.
- More than half of CEOs (53 percent) are planning to use technology to facilitate greater partnering and collaboration with outside organizations, while 52 percent are shifting their attention to promoting great internal collaboration.
- Championing collaborative innovation is not something CEOs are delegating to their HR leaders. According to the study findings, the business executives are interested in leading by example.
- CEOs regard interpersonal skills of collaboration (75 percent), communication (67 percent), creativity (61 percent) and flexibility (61 percent) as key drivers of employee success to operate in a more complex, interconnected environment.
- The trend toward greater collaboration extends beyond the corporation to external partnering relationships. Partnering is now at an all-time high. In 2008, slightly more than half of the CEOs IBM interviewed planned to partner extensively. Now, more than two-thirds intend to do so.
- CEOs are most focused on gaining insights into their customers. Seventy-three percent of CEOs are making significant investments in their organizations’ ability to draw meaningful customer insights from available data.
I’ve often held IBM as the best example of a Social Business and a company to emulate rather than Apple. I believe this study and the analysis behind it, reinforces that view.
The IBM study shows that CEOs and the companies they manage must constantly evolve to stay competitive. Partners, suppliers, employees and customers want CEOs to communicate with them on a personal level to build trust and to help align them to the organization’s strategy. There is a lot at stake here. And if CEOs continue to hide in their Ivory Towers under the guise of some old command and control mentality, the next chapter in their career might be written somewhere else.
No one wants that.
In this digital age sellers now have to take on an additional job role and become a marketeer. Creating a personal brand that raises your profile above the rest, sharing your expertise and knowledge as well as leveraging the online world to ensure that you become identified as the eminent leader in that field are all important.
So why does eminence matter?
You have called, written, called again – you believe that the potential customer should be interested in talking to you, but they never return your call. Why?
Understanding buyer behaviour is key; they have limited time and will have recognised sources of influence. It may be their boss, their colleagues or their peers – whoever it is; they are listening to them – not you.
To become heard you have to start seeing their position from their world. This was summed up by a CEO who said:
“I don’t have any time to listen to a sales pitch … but I have all day to talk to a peer I can bounce ideas off and get real insight from. If more salespeople made the type of call where I’d be willing to write a cheque for their time, they’d have a better chance of winning contracts. The product they’re selling is less important than knowing you’re in expert hands.”
The challenge you have is that the CEO doesn’t want to buy a product or service and probably isn’t the slightest bit interested that you have ten percent off today. Unless your story resonates with their challenge – then in most cases you are wasting your time.
Then we get to the second part of the challenge – why should they listen to you?
Influence through association
Perhaps the direct approach is not always the best. If we want to influence the CEO but they are not listening to us, then we need to work out WHO they do listen to. In such circumstances understanding their ‘web of influence’ may well give us a clue as to who we should use as a conduit for our message. Understanding where buyers get their influences from changes the communication process and the target audience. In your industry who are the influential bodies and why?
Perhaps the CEO is interested in thought leadership and would be interested in your companies position in a particular area. Create a web of influence and work out who you should be targeting and with what message.
Now we get to the nub of the issue.
If you are not known in your industry or product area then why should someone listen to you? You may well have the thought leadership, expertise and the skills BUT unless you are prepared to share those thoughts and become known for them, then nobody will be listening.
Being known for your skills and opinions is eminence and that is why eminence matters.
What are your thoughts?
The rise of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks has accelerated the growth of YouTube as it enables discovery and sharing of online video.
- 500 years of YouTube video are watched every day on Facebook
- Over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter each minute
- 100 million people take a social action on YouTube (likes, shares, comments, etc) every week
- An auto-shared tweet results in 6 new youtube.com sessions on average
- There are 500 tweets per minute containing a YouTube link
- Millions of subscriptions to YouTube happen each day. (Subscriptions allow you to connect with someone you’re interested in — whether it’s a friend, or the NBA — and keep up on their activity on the site)
- More than 50% of videos on YouTube have been rated or include comments from the community
- Millions of videos are favorited every day
What about you?
How do you use YouTube and video in your marketing?
Has social media opened up global opportunities for you? What is the most exciting and inspiring business or personal event or connection that has been instigated by social media?
Look forward to hearing your stories.
FACT: Social Media isn’t a fad its a REVOLUTION
This is the statement from the latest HubSpot report: 120 Awesome Marketing Stats, Charts and Graphs. The below is my take out from the report on Social media and its influence on sales. We are all in business? We sell or else #WESOE
63% of companies using social media say it has increased marketing effectiveness—among other benefits.
- Increasing effectiveness of marketing
- Increasing customer satisfaction
- Reducing marketing costs
- Reducing support costs
- Reducing time to market for products/services
- Increasing product/service innovation
- Increasing revenue
More than 1/3 of companies say social media helps them get found online.
61% of marketers use social media to increase lead generation
The reason why you need a company profile on LinkedIn:
BOTTOM LINE : It’s time to go social.
What are your thoughts?
Facebook IPO: Can it Beat Google?
All eyes are on FaceBook after its recent IPO, just how are they going to generate more money to please their new shareholders? In quarter one of 2012 it is reported advertising rates increased by 40% while clickthroughs fell 8%. What does this mean for the the B2C market do they need to think before investing in ads with Facebook. Do they need to come up with a new ad model? Just consider clickthrough rates decline by about half after they have been released for a day or two.
With such a varied choice of social media platforms to choose from, its sometimes difficult to know where to make the most of social media. It’s more complicated than just posting status updates at random and seeing what sticks.
The business consultant network Zintro recently pulled research from more than a dozen sources including Mashable, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and Quantcast to put together this nifty infographic, which will help you develop your social strategy. Check it out below for the full report.
Do you use different social networks for different purposes? Let us know in the comments.