This week we kicked-off a programme with a new client and we ran a strategy day with them. During this we delved in to what their aspirations were and how committed they were to make these aspirations a reality and what the challenges might be in bringing this vision to life. During this day we had lunch with the head of marketing and they said something that most marketers know but are simply too terrified to acknowledge.
“Marketing simply down’t work any more – email, events, advertising…none of it.”
For someone who’s job it was to market the organisation’s products and services this might seem like a rather negative outburst, but not at all. They had taken this message to the CEO and the Head of Sales and had their total support. Support to set-out on a new course. A course which might just work…well certainly the old stuff wasn’t working so what could there possibly be to lose?
Before I continue, those of you in marketing are probably sitting smugly thinking “my email marketing [or whatever other campaign] always gets exceptional results”…I doubt that’s true, but even if it is, this is not sustainable. YOU know that YOU do not like cold emails (or cold calls, or being interrupted) from anyone you don’t know, trust and like. You simply don’t. And, despite the fact that you think that your product is different and that people actually want to hear about it. It isn’t and they don’t. And if your email marketing/advertising is working at the moment you are very lucky (and it is just luck) but it won’t for much longer because people have had enough of receiving 100+ emails per day from people/companies that they don’t know offering to solve a problem that they don’t have and making suggestions based on little or know knowledge/understanding of my problems/issues/challenges.
The net is closing in.
This client had acknowledged all of this as was positively doing something about it. Their thinking was very progressive:
“If I don’t like receiving emails from your company, you probably won’t like receiving emails from my company.”
“I never notice advertisements on TV, in the press, on bus shelters…so you probably won’t either.”
“I find events a total waste of my time as I spend hours walking around trying to avoid being sold to…so you probably won’t like them either.”
Many organisations have acknowledged that this is the case…but very few have allowed this to drive their actions. This client has said “generating leads from outbound campaigns is not and efficient way of building relationships and selling our products…so we won’t do that any more and further more the sales and marketing teams who have been measured on – leads, calls meetings – will no longer have targets for any of those things.”
No, not really because if you are doing something and not getting the results that you want why should you keep on doing it!
The interesting thing is that this Head of Marketing (who has been a massively successful and influential marketer for 25+ years) is prepared to “dump” all of that experience and rather than think about how things used to be and what used to work…is thinking about how things are and how they will work in the future.
You too need to think about this. You need to consider how YOUR behaviour at home relates to what you do at work (or perhaps doesn’t) and take a leap of faith. Marketing needs to transform and it need to do it now.
Here are the most common LinkedIn connection requests I get. It’s worth noting that nowadays, the likelihood I get a note is small, maybe 5% and most of those are the bland LinkedIn requests. Most connection requests have no context.
There are 10%, which always make me laugh which say, please can we connect and would you like to buy my product. Of course these always get rejected.
Back to most common LinkedIn connection requests for me
People who sell Real estate
People who sell small businesses insurance
People who load small businesses and start-ups money
People who help entrepreneurs invest money
People who offer business advice to start ups
What is it they all have something in common? Yes they are all going to try and sell me something.
The summary is always funny, something along the lines of “I help small business with their insurance needs”. In today’s society you swap the word help with sell.
A recent event happened to me, this company was all over me, telling me about how they help (spot that word) start-ups with advice etc. I replied saying how great that sounded, but pointed out we had good cash flow and didn’t need a cash injection. They never responded.
So where as, in a pre-GDPR world, maybe these people will have emailed me, now they send LinkedIn requests.
May I make an appeal to you the reader? The only reason that these people do this is that they must get a result. Please you stop accepting them and please don’t buy from them.
The mistake that most people make when talking about old legacy sales methods against modern ways (like social selling) is they rely on CEB now Gartner research and or SalesForce research and to be honest we’ve heard it all before.
Efficiency and Effectiveness.
As Sales Leaders, we know that we only have a short amount of time to make (and or over achieve) our numbers. We are keen therefore to make sure our sales teams are working the most efficient and the most effective. Or “working smarter” as some people put it.
If we take cold calling for example, you have to phone 100 people in the day, of which ten people may be the right people to talk to and out of this you may get one meeting.
Whereas with social selling, you will know who those ten people are and contact them. On the basis you can make 100 connections through social each day, that means you will get ten meetings through social, where as with cold calling you get one.
As somebody said on a LinkedIn discussion the other day, they thought that people chose social selling as it was “the easier option”. Too bloody right it is.
This article (written 3 years ago) takes you through a case study of a friend of mine that makes 10 C-Level meetings a week using Twitter.
Whenever you make a cold call you get 4 outcomes:-
You are told to go away
You are told they purchased 3 months ago
You are told to call back in 3 months
You get voice mail
If we look at these in more detail.
With social selling, of course, you are going to where your clients are on social. It is pure fantasy that, your prospects are sitting waiting for you to call. In the space I work in which is B2B Enterprise, if you ask to be put through to the Finance Director, you will be laughed at by the switchboard. In the comments I often see on LinkedIn it seems like Cold Calling is something prime-evil, that you have to do it, otherwise you are a lesser man or woman. You mean doing something that is 10 times more efficient makes you a lesser person? That is bananas! Let me add another reason why social selling is more efficient, there are no gatekeepers on social.
Never a nice one to be told they purchased 3 months ago. Of course, if you had a personal brand, where tracking intent data and had a content marketing strategy, you would have probably hoovered these deals up, right from under the noses of the competition as inbound. You may recall, we always say that if you are not getting inbound then you are not doing social selling right.
Social selling will also enable you to nurture your call backs. LinkedIn is the best “free” nurture platform there is. If a client says call me back in 3 or 6 months, connect them and then “wave” to them with insightful and educational content across LinkedIn. In fact we see that using content actually accelerates your pipeline. If people are seeing a clear business case for a purchase, day in day out, why would the wait 3 to 6 months. They will pull forward that purchase.
Leaving a voice mail is always a waste of time. With social selling, your prospects will see you every day and if they want to buy, see a clear business case and recognise you as a solution to their problem. You will get inbound.
So there we have it, social selling is by far the “easiest option” it takes a small amount of time to get up and running. A word of warning. Just be careful using the 20 Things that make You a Social Seller Hubspot article, after all in life, you get what you pay for.
We have taken you through what is a clear return on investment (ROI) for social selling, something all of our clients (we are proud to say) have achieved. Maybe it’s time to stop banging your head against the wall and start using a prospecting method that gets results, or should I say, more results than legacy sales methods.
I’m pleased to announce the Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) www.social-experts.netare coming out with a new service that will completely disrupt the driving lessons market world-wide.
That’s right, we are going into the driving lesson business.
What we will be offering is driving training through webinar and CBT (computer based training).
The great things is that this is the “Uber” of driving lessons as we don’t own any cars.
All you have to do is watch my recorded webinars and CBT and it will provide you with all the steps you need to feel confident the first time you step into the car and start driving.
After all, how difficult can it be? I’ve been driving for 30 years, so why pay expensive coaches who will sit with you, when you can listen to my podcasts.
Think of the time you will save, you can run my CBT training during “downtime”, on the bus, on the train and the moment you are behind the wheel, hey presto you can be road ready in no time.
If you are thinking this is a piss take…it is!
But this is how people buy social selling.
Only this week we have been emailed (yes, emailed) by a well known Social Selling company asking us if we want to be a LinkedIn expert that will be delivered by somebody, when you look at their LinkedIn profile, isn’t a Linkedin expert. Would you buy driving lessons from me, when I have no qualification, or maybe I should start root canal work, I have no qualification for that either.
This week (from the same Social Selling company) they have started sending unsolicited emails to a member of my staff asking them to buy Social Selling training. This is seriously ironic, the person sending the unsolicited email / cold emails, does not exhibited any of the skills that the company says they train people in. If you are a social selling company and the reference is sending spammy emails, is that really leading from the front?
Driving is a new way of working, there is certain etiquette to learn. Some people are natural drivers, the majority of people are like me are not. You cannot learn new ways of working through webinars and CBT. That isn’t completely true, webinars and CBT will activate the great drivers. I had a friend at school who had been driving tractors since an early age, he past his driving test first time with flying colours. Most other people, are not interested, don’t have an natural gift, cannot be bothered, don’t get it, etc. These people will sit through the webinar and it will do nothing. In fact it’s likely to just annoy everybody as the gifted people who didn’t need training get better, 80% of the people resent them. Splits appear in what was a team. If you train people, you have to take everybody with you.
You cannot just take CBT sessions and get in a car and drive. For us in the UK as we use manual cars, we need to understand the biting point on the clutch. There is the etiquette, when to indicate, when not to. Most people will want advice as to the best time, or certain circumstances. Or understand, how different road conditions may change your driving.
In the words of Hill Street Blues – ‘Let’s be careful out there’
In my personal life, I email nobody, even my 80 year old parents now use Facebook Messenger. All my other personal contacts are – on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and WhatsApp etc. In my personal life we tend to use social as a way to communicate, rather than email.
But what about the Enterprise?
Email is still used extensively at work, so why the time lag in the Enterprise? If you ask someday to do something in the corporate world they immediately turn to email.
Partly, because there wasn’t the technology to support it and because of the latent interest in IT Department to support Microsoft Exchange and Office 365. (Exchange and Office 365 puts a lot of food on a lot of tables).
But why not use one of the many corporate social products, we use Slack to run DLA, but there is also Yammer (Microsoft) and Chatter (Salesforce) etc.
Using social internally has a number of benefits that are over and above sending people text in the form of an email, such as
Allows people to collaborate without borders
Intellectual property is retained in the Company
No data loss due to people leaving
Relocation can reduce time of meeting (Doesn’t eliminate meetings)
People can access data in real time
Certainly having used Slack now for 18 months, the messages are shorter and are staff seem to prefer working in a social environment. There one or two email junkies and I still get the odd “copy all” type email, but this is a the exception rather than the rule.
Regardless of the sales tactic you use, an information exchange takes place.
The difference is that one is push and the other is pull.
What do I mean? When you cold call me, you want to push upon me your product or service.
I and I think everybody rebels to this nowadays. I always take cold calls, I also always block numbers from cold callers.
In the “pull” world, that I work in. Clients are researching for your product or service, then they make contact with you. This is what I mean by a pull situation. If you are a regular reader you will know that we don’t make any outbound, (we don’t advertise) we feel it annoys people, we also don’t need to, as we get 3 inbound enquiries every day.
People often talk to me about cold calling is about control, you pick the phone up and call people. Totally agree. The issue is that I can research the people to “call” with social quicker than a cold caller can. The cold caller also has the issue with gatekeepers. I don’t. Which is why I can get higher, faster with social than with cold calling.
The cold call, requires the agent to continue to press the value propositions buttons. On and on, call after call. This seems to me a total waste of effort, I’ve done it once, check out my LinkedIn profile. But I’m pressing those buttons as I sit and write this at the car mechanics.
When I sat on the beach at Cape Verde, earlier this year, I pressed those buttons and still continued to get inbound. Being on holiday, didn’t stop me prospecting.
This does require a change of habit. A cold calling guru wrote a blog about how the silent cold calling centre was killing sales. The one he was talking about (I know which one he visited and they tell me output has gone up, so much so, I cannot tell you).
It’s a bit like saying, these cars, don’t make a noise like a horse and cart. Agree, horses and carts do have a place, I’ve never owned one. Like cold calling, seems high maintenance.
The other thing that has changed is that we often don’t need to close people anymore. Ironically, we had to do a traditional close on a client today, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
The buying process is; people research, they contact you. You then use your traditional powers of selling to empower them to buy. Many of our clients, know when they contact us, DLA is the best, so often we take business with, as far as we are aware, no competition.
I would like to add to the cold calling vs social selling debate.
I’ve cold called. It’s slow, cumbersome, time consuming and inefficient. But of course as a sales leader you can listen to people bang their heads against the wall.
Social selling is fast, always on and you can higher, faster.
Obviously it’s your choice and stepping over the chasm can be scary, but maybe it’s time to get more for less. And oh, we can help you, it’s what we do.