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Why The Phone and Cold Outreach No Longer Dominate

Why The Phone and Cold Outreach No Longer Dominate

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

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.

How to use Twitter to get 10 C-Level Appointments Per Week — A Case Study

But It’s More Than That

Whenever you make a cold call you get 4 outcomes:-

  1. You are told to go away
  2. You are told they purchased 3 months ago
  3. You are told to call back in 3 months
  4. You get voice mail

If we look at these in more detail.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

Life in a Post GDPR World

The evidence is there that something has happened across multiple industries, I’m not going to quote research at you as we all go on-line and buy stuff.  We take that business-to-consumer (B2C) buying patterns and bring it with us into the business-to-business (B2B) world.  We see it in tech, in Retail, in Financial Services, Professional Services everywhere!

I’ve sat in I don’t know how many meetings where marketers have said to me “nothing works anymore”.

Nobody looks at adverts, nobody reads your marketing emails and newsletters.  We have seen how in a GDPR world many of those lists were castles built on sand as people just ignored your re-opt-in emails.  Cold calling doesn’t work anymore or you are going to have difficulty in getting the data, post GDPR.

Corporate marketing has become a blur of companies telling us how great they are, so much so that each message blends into each other. Competitor after competitor says the same thing.  So much so that it just becomes noise and we just don’t hear it anymore.  I remember at a company where I worked we had a new starter join us from a competitor and we got them to do their company pitch to us. They said all them same things as us and in fact all of the unique selling points (USPs) we used against them in campaigns they actually were their USPs against us.  After that presentation, nothing changed.

Websites become deserts as nobody goes to them, they are bland and all the same and they tell you nothing…so what’s the point?  A senior Marketing Manager at a major software house recently said to me “5 years ago, somebody filling in a web form was a lead, now it’s a lost deal, as people use websites to validate decisions.”  This was a discussion about intent data, but that is a discussion for another day.

Where once you could push clients down the sales funnel, calling them, emailing them and in a way bullying them along.  Now you cannot do this, this fundamentally changes the way we sell and market.

Let’s Look at The Internet Enabled Buyer

The internet enabled buyer holds a lot of the cards.  They can go on-line and search for products and services.  Perhaps your products and services, but you will never know.  We all know our customers and prospects do it, we do it and they do it.  All of this is in “salesperson avoidance mode” as nobody as ever got up in the morning and said “today I want to talk to a salesperson”.  The strange irony is that in a B2B world, because things are often complex, we do want to speak to somebody.  An expert.  A trusted advisor.  And as sales people, we could be just the person they want to talk to.  Take DLA, for example, we always get inbound as people see us as the solution to their problem.  No I haven’t sold that to them, they have formed that opinion themselves, by checking us out on social.

Back to Our Bad Quarter

A recent analyst said of a company when they posted results that the analysts didn’t like, his comment was “[name of company withheld] issues likely go beyond execution: they appear more deeply rooted in more intense competition in the cloud, reliance on a perpetual model, and perhaps cultural inertia.”

Cultural inertia can mean a number of things, I’ve written before about how people often have systems and processes that are no longer fit for purpose in the modern world.  That said, this was the same company that told me they didn’t need to understand social and digital at a senior level as they got interns to do all this.  I’m sure this is all totally a coincidence and next quarter will be just fine.  A couple of deals slipped we fired a few people and it will all come right, it always does.  Or will it? Maybe it’s a time to change?

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The pen is mightier than the sword

GDPR – The Email Funnel Pyre – Your Opportunity!

GDPR – The Email Funnel Pyre – Your Opportunity!

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

On the 29th May 1981 – The pop band The Jam released a single (remember them?) called Funeral Pyre, a version on YouTube is on this link The Jam – Funeral Pyre via @YouTube

I was reminded of it when watching the feedback of marketers over the new European (or is it global now) GDPR privacy laws.

It would seem that I was a lone voice (not the first time in my life) when I wished for a better world.  A world were people would not stealing my time, by bombarding me with things I don’t want and don’t need.

Sitting in a meeting at a client of ours, who is one of the top legal firms in the world, the conversation went like this:-

Marketer: It’s taken us 10 years to build this email database of 50,000, it sounds like when we ask for content under GDPR only 20% of people will give this.

(A prediction that came true)

  • Me:  So in reality you really only ever had a database of 10,000.
  • Marketer: What do you mean, it took ages to build this database.
  • Me:  But surely you want a list of people are engaged and interested in what you are doing?
  • Marketer: It took ages building the database.
  • Me:  (deciding to change the subject) On the basis, that you now have a list of people that are really engaged with your brands voice, why are you just sending emails to them?  Why don’t you have a conversation with them, with social.  You could migrate as many as you can to social, be GDPR compliant and create a tribe of advocates.

All across the globe, as GDPR is a truly global legislation.  Marketers are waking up to a new dawn in marketing (and sales).  No longer can you spray and pray, building databases of people who are actually not interested.  Or in sales mode, bully people through continuous emails and calls down a sales funnel, hoping people will buy.

There are two routes.

  1. Go back to the old days and ways that you know don’t work.  I read an article today (from a person selling advertising of course) to take a route that involves PPC, buying ads and promoting your company using old fashioned broadcast methods.  Let’s not forget advertising was invented in the 1930s, it is technology from the last century – or
  2. Move to where your customers are, on social media. A free, frictionless way that you can have a conversation with your prospects and customers.  Build trust, get them to be advocates, which brings you more business or am I just dreaming?

So What at DLA Think You Need to Do?

  1. Get the C-Suite to understand that there needs to be a change in culture and thinking, one that embraces 80% of the internet enabled world.  On social Media.  We have deleted our email database, GDPR means you need to be responsible and accountable for this sort of data and we decided not to take the risk.  A risk analysis was taken and this decision was taken as board level.  The C-Suite must also get behind and lead the new social culture.  We can (of course) help, but I’m not here to sell to you.
  2. From that session the company can then drive a new culture of socially enabling the business from sales, customer service and marketing, across all departments. Budget shouldn’t be a problem as the project will be cost neutral, incremental revenues you will create in sales, will finance the rest of the roll out. Note:  I’m not advocating employee advocacy, this is generally getting employees to post corporate materials, this is about enabling the business with social.

In other words, not only will you be GDPR compliant but using this as a “compelling event” to digital transform the business.  Reducing the risk to the business, increasing revenues, enabling the business to be more effective and efficient.

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5 Reasons to Applaud GDPR

5 Reasons to Applaud GDPR

by Ian Moyse | @IMoyse | LinkedIn

With days to go until GDPR becomes enforceable as law, I continue to be invited to keynote at events, speak on webinars and the like, finding even at this late stage that many in the audience are only just started on their GDPR journey.

It is interesting to feel the frustrated, fearful temperature of most of these audiences as the 

realisation from the business perspective sinks in. The work involved, the challenges, the barriers to marketing and selling, the need for change and the risks all cause concerns for those facing the need to be GDPR compliant.

However, on the flipside what are the positives? As citizens we all have data on ourselves being stored in an increasing number of systems and by a growing diversity of businesses across the globe, not just in your own country or the EU.

  1. The bluntest is that you will find as a member of the public that you will to a great deal get an automated cleanup of your email subscriptions and a reduction in email marketing. If like me you often get an email in your inbox, think I should unsubscribe from that, but in fact have a lot on your plate or are mobile at the time and so simply delete it thinking I’ll unsubscribe next time. Well right now I have been inundated daily with emails prompting that if I do not OPT-IN they will auto unsubscribe me. The clean-up job is being done for me and automated. (by the way this also indicated the mad rush to be clean for GDPR going on as I was not seeing these emails 3 months ago, but in the final few weeks to GDPR enforcement am getting them daily).
  2. GDPR is driving a far greater awareness across all companies of their responsibility to protect the data they hold on their customers, employees, members and users. This is only a good thing. It will not prevent data leaks and breaches, it will not change the world overnight, but it will make us more secure and reduce the risk of negligence, data leaks we do not hear about and give accountability for where a company does fail.
  3. GDPR gives far greater power to the individual of whether they want to be included in new data lists or to be removed from existing ones. Previously companies have opted you in by default and that opt in has included you to all their sister, subsidiary and affiliate companies. No longer, now all boxes must be unticked and if they wish to share with other firms/lists they shall need to list those with separate boxes for you to tick. Add to this that you can request, for free, that any company tells you what data they hold on you (SAR- Subject Access Request) and you have the right to ask them to forget you, meaning they MUST delete all data they hold on you including data on backups, ie truly forget they knew about you! The exception here is where they can demonstrate a legal requirement to keep the data for example. So don’t think you can go request those prison records to be deleted!
  4. Under GDPR any organisation who is suspect of a Data Breach must now report this to the authorities by law within 72 hours. Previously how many data leaks have gone unreported and under the covers?! We can only imagine, but this stops now at least in the EU and the UK. What does this mean? Well you are now going to find out if your data has been leaked/breached and the authorities may then take action and impose a larger fine than we have seen before. The benefit to you (if there is one of having your data leaked) is that you will be able to take civil action on the back of a company being found guilty of leaking your data; So just wait for the ‘had an accident at work’ lawyers to unveil their new ‘Has your data been affected’ approaches and cash right back in!
  5. Another benefit of all of this is that Social Media will increasingly become King (or Queen) for customer communications and engagement. Consent is granted by definition that the user chooses to come view your stream and follow it. They opt into your feed and opt out of their own accord being governed by the social platform. We have already seen companies killing their email newsletter and offers and moving it to social and expect to see an increase in this as the growth of spend in millennials and the Z generation increases.

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Let’s face the music and dance…

Let’s face the music and dance…

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

A lot of time has been spent writing and talking about GDPR and its ramifications. We laugh when people say “that’s not going to effect my business”…because this simply is delusional behaviour. GDPR is going to effect every business. Fact.

When you contact anybody directly “Dear Mr Smith” by email, letter, telephone…any channel you can think of it is because YOU HAVE THEIR DETAILS and that makes you subject to GDPR regulations.

That means if you are in the business of, or your business relies on, personalised outbound marketing or call calling…in the words of Irving Berlin “There may be trouble ahead…” and oh boy is there trouble.

Marketing automation? Marketing orchestration? Telemarketing? Newsletters? Text blasts? Fax blasts?…all of them are going to be problematic from now on.

And in the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda “and if you don’t know, now you know.” 

Don’t push back, own the problem and think about what this means for you moving forward.

If you rely in generating new business by contacting people directly then this is going to have to make you rethink how you do things.

So, I know what you’re thinking GDPR is going to be the saviour of the advertising industry right? Because if you can’t send out personalised communications the way that you used to then surely sending out non-personalised messages…like advertising gets round the problem? Well actually it does get around the problem…partly. It certainly gets around the GDPR issues that people have been scared of, but it doesn’t get around the fact that adverts don’t engage like they used to (although I suspect that ad agencies won’t be telling that bit of the story). Just because the government has placed much stronger regulations on how you (the business) can communicate with your customers, it hasn’t effected how you (the consumer) react…or fail to react to advertising.

So, I hear you ask, what should I do?

Well, the answer is what the answer has always been. You need to produce loads of good content that engages your audiences and then you need to distribute this great content access all of the networks that your customer inhabit and then the customers will come to you to buy.

Is it going to be easy? No.

Is it going to be easier than the 4% of global turnover fine and/or a criminal prosecution for each infringement of GDPR regulations? Yes.

As always, the choice is yours, but whilst this might seem scary (in fact it is scary, let’s be honest) becoming GDPR compliant and ensuring that you operate within the regulations will give you a huge advantage over your competitors, and if we at Digital Leadership Associates can do it (here)…you can too!

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What Can Companies Do to Stop Being The Next “Facebook” Data Breach?


What Can Companies Do to Stop Being The Next “Facebook” Data Breach?

What Can Companies Do to Stop Being The Next “Facebook” Data Breach?

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

I wrote this article on how companies need to have a different attitude to data, especially people’s data.

With GDPR regulations coming into force in Europe, companies outside of Europe that trade in Europe and for companies that are outside Europe that have European employees there is already a framework, through GDPR.  GDPR is mainly just an update to existing legislation but the fines of 4% of turnover seem to be concentrating people’s minds.

(If you are not yet GDPR compliant, then I wrote a blog about what we did as a company to become compliant you can access it here it also offers you a free power point presentation.)

Anyway what has this to do with Facebook?

Facebook has been in the news because it allowed a company to syphon off data.  Very simple, the company ran one of those quizzes we always see and the company was able to pull off not just your data, but your friends and your friends of friends data too.  Facebook has since updated it’s security settings.

I think we all agree this is terrible that firstly people are profiting from yours and my data.  Our friends data, our families data, your and my mums data.  This is wrong and has to stop.

(Interesting there is no mention yet of LinkedIn, they stopped people “scraping” the data and are being sued by the data scraping company.  Obviously if LinkedIn lose that case it will be legal to scrape data.  Another blog for another day perhaps.)

Everybody seems to agree what Facebook has done is bad.  Then the first comment I get on when I post the article on LinkedIn is

The person is from Canada.

This person obviously does not seem to grasp the severity of the situation here.  I’m sorry, but you cannot play fast and lose with other people’s data anymore.  Didn’t we just agree this above?  And in sales it’s different?  Really?

But Here’s The Rub

I’m not going to publish this person’s name or the company they work for, but if their employer gets to see that comment.  I suspect they would get fired.  People cannot play “fast and loose” with other people’s data anymore.  And just like we cannot say certain words (quite rightly as they offend people), we cannot anymore write on social media that you don’t care about mine and my mum’s data.

It’s Time for Education

It’s time for companies to grow-up about social media and data and provide company-wide training, similar to health and safety, bribery, diversity etc.  Companies cannot have their employees employed in “fast and loose” practices with people’s data.  Companies cannot have their employees talking on social media that they don’t care about your data and mine.

Now I agree that GDPR should help too clear this up, but in the light of the current Facebook situation companies can no longer ideally sit by and let there employees use data like it’s the “wild west”.

Finally whose responsible for this?  The CEO of course, data, privacy and social media is a Board Room (C-Suite for US readers) issue.  Just as Mark Zuckerburg the CEO has been pulled into this and is expected to answer for Facebook, so will the CEO of your company.

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