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The Importance of your micronetwork.

The Importance of your micronetwork.

by Alex Low | @Alexander_Low | LinkedIn

With 590million members on LinkedIn sometimes social media can seem being a little bit daunting and you don’t know where to start. This is where the power of your micro network can really come to the forefront in helping you understand where the next opportunity may be.

What do I mean by the micronetwork? This is your network which will be unique to you, based on you school, university, colleges – even your previous employer. You can use LinkedIn to track your micro network and to work out where your next referral for you might be, for example.

Think about your University and have you connected with everyone you went to University with, at least those that you would want to connect with. That said, LinkedIn data shows using your college, even those people who you were not at college with at the same time as you, they show that this is a great way to get a referral in.

So, this is where you would search for example, I will use LinkedIn to filter out anybody that went to Exeter University in the UK and within my network there are around 100,000 people. I can then start to narrow this down to be relevant to job title, role, length of time in role, whatever you want, if you are you are Sales Navigator, you can take this even further with the detail. You can take this one step further if you search on previous employer on linkedin.com. This means you can then find your people that used to work in your organisation and understand where they have moved onto so same principle applies; you might connect with them you might or contact them, even if you don’t know them. If you work in a similar type role in could well be, we don’t know each other, however could you introduce me to or would you be comfortable in helping me find out who is the head of sales, head of marketing, head of legal, whatever the job title might be that you’re looking for.  This could be nice route into helping unlock a referral rather than approaching outright cold.

The great thing is that LinkedIn also allows you to set up email alerts to 10 so that you can track this in almost real time and react accordingly.  To understand how you can do that, watch this short video.

Finally, this is the first post that I have dictated using Microsoft Word, as you can see below, there is a little bit of work to be done. Maybe it’s because this is the first time, I have done this, so it needs to learn and understand my voice and language, notwithstanding I will have a stinking cold!

The unedited dictated version! No idea who Barry is….

Newport inside your micro network

Will 590000000 members on LinkedIn sometimes social media account being a little bit daunting and you don’t know where to start. This is where the power of your micronet were can really come to the forefront in helping you understand where the next Tuesday. What do I mean by the micro network?This is your network which will be nice to you but based on school clubs new vestes colleges even your previous employer you can use LinkedIn to track your micro network and to work out when the next door to use you might be for example

Think about your University days and have you connected with everyone he went to University word for those that you would want to connect with that said LinkedIn data shows using your college so even those people who you are not at college at the same time they showed that United away in to get a phone Barry porn

So this is where you would search for example I want to text you that I will use LinkedIn to filter out anybody that went to Exeter University in the UK and within my network there are around 100 1000 people I can then start narrow this down to be relevant to job title roll length of time in role would ever U are you want if you had self navigate to you can take this evening then you can take this one step further you search on previous employer calllinkedin.com which means you can then find your in London so people that used to work in your organisation and understand where they have moved onto so same principle applies you might connect with them you might contact them even if you don’t know them if there’s no luck with your network or you work in a similar type role in could welbni why don’t we don’t know each other however could you introduce me to would you be comfortable in helping me find out who is the head of sales head of marketing head of legal whatever the job title might be that you’re looking for this could be nice route into helping unlock call a referral rather than aproching out loud cold The great thing is that LinkedIn also allows you to set up email to 10 so that you can track this in almost time and react accordingly to understand how you can do that short video

Find post that I have dictated Microsoft Word how do you say no little bit of work to be done but maybe its because this is the first time I have done this so it needs to learn understand my voice language on someone no standing I will have a stinking cold

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B2B is in a Data Arms Race.

B2B is in a Data Arms Race.

by Alex Low | @Alexander_Low | LinkedIn

We are in unprecedented times. The 4th Industrial Revolution is gathering pace at an extraordinary speed. Exponentially? Possibly. 

Self-Driving cars, Hyperloop, quasi sentient chat-bots such as Google Duplex, Amazon, 20year Old billionaires, VR, AR, WeChat, Douyin, half the world is now connected online, the list goes on and on and on. All B2C.

B2B is not there. Yet.

We are all consumers. We consume information, almost every minute. I am sitting on The Northern Line drafting this on my IPhone on Evernote, which will sync across all devices. The power of the nefarious cloud. I look around me and 90% of the carriage are staring at their phones. Black Mirrors. That is why Charlie Brooker called the series Black Mirror. When our phones are off. They are a black mirror. A reflection of yourself. A reflection of society. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest watching. The subjects that are tackled are now becoming reality. 

The more books, blogs, videos and podcasts I consume, the more I believe, no predict, B2B Sales & Marketing is in for a rude awakening. An Uber moment if you will. 

Google Cloud, AWS, Azure, IBM Cloud are now in a  Cloud War. They want all your data, your search behaviour, your voice behaviour, your social media behaviour. Even your face’s data. All of it.

Every time you search Google, Bing or any other public search either by typing or your voice, they learn. Every time you comment, like, share. They learn. Every time you use a loyalty card. They will learn as that data is sold. Where you are in the world. Every time you check in. They learn. Every time you tap in & out of the Tube. They will learn. Every card transaction. They learn. 

We are in an Arms Data race. It is a race to the top. Or bottom depending on how you look at it. 

GDPR is trying to tackle this in Europe. However, now the hype is over, I suggest most people don’t care at the consumer level. We want it seamless & now. The brands that can deliver this will get our money. In order for that to happen, we willingly give them our data. The better they get. The more we give.

Think about it. How uncanny it is they Amazon usually gets the predictions right in guiding you to your next purchase, Netflix to your next film or documentary, Spotify curates that amazing playlist without you even asking it to. YouTube is even taking on the music streaming industry. Think of all the search data it has access to. Owned by Google.

This is the digital ecosystem your suspects, prospects, targets, clients, whatever Sales & Marketing terminology you use, this is the world they live in.

So now what.

Any word that you put in front of Sales & Marketing is dead. Tele, Cold, Email, Social, Digital, Modern. Whatever the next buzz word is. This is just Sales & Marketing. In the 21stCentury.

We are in the world of Predictive and Prescriptive analytics. Cambridge Analytica may be gone. But Pandora’s Box has been well and truly opened. And there is no way of closing it. 

Are we that naive that something like this happened? What on earth do you think Supermarkets have been doing for years with their, sorry your, loyalty card data. 

This for me is where CMOs, CROs, Sales Directors, Marketing Directors – in fact, this needs to be on the CEOs agenda – have to be focussing on as part of the wider go to market strategy. The irony is that this could even predict your go to market strategy for you. 

B2B Sales & Marketing is in its own Data Arms race. Microsoft acquiring Linkedin should have been a massive sign post to this. SalesForce is on the warpath having lost out on this deal. 

The focus must be on data acquisition strategy first. CRM, Marketing, Client Feedback, Website traffic, Social Listening traffic, Cost of Sale Data vs Profitability Data. 

Unlock this and then you can start to look at historical trends, which then can enable you to start looking at predictive analytics, which can lead to prescriptive analytics.

This is the future of Sales & Marketing. 

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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Vs Intent Data – Are You In Control of the Buyer Journey

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Vs Intent Data – Are You In Control of the Buyer Journey

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

CEB (now Gartner) have the 57% statistic.  Which if you didn’t know is based on a large sample of buyers in a business to business (B2B) context.  In summary, this means that the buyer no longer needs to ring you up and ask for a brochure.  You may recall in the past we used to be called by people asking for brochures. We would put one in the post and then they would receive it three days later.  Buyers, have access to internet and if we want to buy something, from a car to a $500 Million outsourcing deal we go on-line and get that information. Which means, as buyers we:-

  1. Ask questions. “Can my network help me, we are looking for a new accounting system, what do you recommend?”
  2. Look for content “Top 10 Things You Need to Think about When buying a New Human Resources (HR) System?”
  3. Go to Google and search for solutions to a problem. You might search on products you know, Workday, SAP, Oracle or key words, ERP, Accounting, Supply Chain etc.

Traditionally as marketers you define key words that people will search on and you either tune for them in content or buy them through Google Adwords.  Buyers then consume content, blogs, white papers, videos, anything that is insightful and educational.  Buyers generally tune out anything that is overtly sales or pitching as we all try and avoid sales people.

In addition to the 57%, CEB, now Gartner also has another statistic which is 37%.  As a buyer embarks on their buying journey, they know nothing about what it is they want to buy.  As they read more and more content they are formulating a view of their requirements.  It is approximately 37% of the way through the buying process, which is when they decide what it is they want.  And they seek a solution to their problem.  It being 57% of the way when they contact a salesperson.

During the buying process people will, as well as ready your content they will:-

  1. Look at your website. As pretty much 99% of these are “corporate brochures” telling you how great the company is, so much so they all blur into each other.  That said, we are seeing that people on visiting the website will often deselecting vendors as much as selecting.
  2. Check out your people on social media. As buyers are seeking a solution to their problem they seek experts who can help them.  This can be social media influencers, as well as employees.  Activating your employees to talk passionately way, without pitching is a critical piece in today’s business development jigsaw.
  3. Be active in “dark social”. While the term “dark social” sounds like some sort of hacker world, it actually refers to the areas that social media listening tools (we use Brandwatch) cannot reach.  For example, WhatsApp groups, Facebook Groups etc.  For example, somebody researching a new CRM system might ask people’s advice in such groups.

Intent Data The Game Changer

As a corporation, a marketer and a salesperson there are a number of routes you can take.

The 57%er – This person sites and waits and hopes the phone rings.  Hope was never a strategy and this is not recommended.

The 37%er – This person uses Content Marketing and SEO and hopes they bait the buyer as they are part of the way through the process.  We would advise you put your budget into this area as part of your Marketing mix.  DLA is a great case study for this, we put out a blog a day (there are 12 of us in case you think we have massive resources) and get 3 pieces of inbound everyday.

The 0%er – This is where the marketer and seller are using intent data.  The moment the buyer start searching you are there educating, providing insight and collaborating.

A Solution

While there are a number of solutions out there, the one we have used is Microsoft Dynamics 365, the module contained within which is called MSE, Microsoft Social Engagement.  This allows you, by sales rep to listen for intent.  This means that each sales people (it only takes an hour to set up) can listen based on their own territory or product speciality.  In effect you can be in meetings and prospecting at the same time. How good is that?

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Mark Zuckerberg, Cambridge Analytica…and YOU!

Mark Zuckerberg, Cambridge Analytica…and YOU!

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

I’m sure you have heard the comment “You’re not the customer…you’re the product” and I think this needs exploring once again in light of recent revelations in the press about Facebook data being “harvested” by Cambridge Analytica to “hack” elections (Trump and Brexit).

I do not profess to have answers…or even particularly good questions to ask about this but a few things seem to be very obvious to me but not so to people who are shouting so loud about what’s happened.

  1. Facebook is a business. Zuckerberg created the company to be a platform for people to share their experiences and bring them closer together, probably without any clear understanding of how he could monetise this. For over a decade we (everyone) has used Facebook to keep in contact with friends, to share content, to promote ourselves and we haven’t paid for the privilege of doing to. Facebook is a business and NOT a charity…
  2. People are talking about how these elections have been hacked. Yes, we feel dirty. Yes, we feel manipulated…would we have voted differently if this hadn’t happened? Perhaps, perhaps not…but I’m not sure that people can have a fundamental belief system shifted with an algorithm. If you’re a Catholic (to pick a religion at random) you are unlikely to change to being a Sikh (to pick another at random) because I show you some things about Catholicism that aren’t very nice because…because it’s a belief and this is very deeply ingrained in you. You argue that yours is the one true religion, as every other religious person argues that theirs is. Politics is the same, you have an affinity based on your own values and beliefs (or perhaps your upbringing)…NOT based on facts. So can I change this? Perhaps, but I doubt it…
  3. What they did was against the law. No it wasn’t. In the same way that I share things that resonate with me (which I hope are true, but nonetheless) reflect MY view of the world rather than facts. Read a left wing newspaper’s view of the news, then a right wing newspaper’s view of the news. You may think that sharing things that aren’t true (or perhaps aren’t balanced isn’t nice/right/good)…but it isn’t against the law…

So, what should we, or what could we, do about this?

I can’t help thinking that we, the public, need to take more responsibility for fact checking things before we believe them. Some people believe that The Office is in fact a documentary, I cannot legislate for the gullibility of those people and more than I can legislate for the gullibility of people who make the “wrong” decision at election time.

I think that this is more about how we, humankind, need to think about how the world around us has changed and we as a species haven’t. We need to educate ourselves and our children to be able to fact-check things before we just believe them.

The world of social media is still in its infancy and it is perhaps outgrowing our understanding of it…it’s certainly outgrowing our ability to see some of the consequences of things that happen on there but, for better or for worse, it is what it is. Facebook however is going nowhere. 2,400,000,000 subscribers/users and the mainstay of communication in many people’s lives it is a constant for us all for the foreseeable future.

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Social is about to pivot. And Microsoft are leading the way.

Social is about to pivot. And Microsoft are leading the way.

by Alex Low | @Alexander_Low | LinkedIn

26bn buys you a lot. I mean a serious amount. So why did MSFT pay that for LIKD? Well now this is all starting to come to life. The applications that will now sync with Sales Navigator (link), and more importantly general LI data is moving the needle in terms of Social behaviours in the B2B market. I may go as far as say, it’s taking the game to a whole new playing field and re-writing the rules.

Look at how they are building your LI profile into Outlook.  Look at the other applications that they are building LI data into if you have the SN license.

I have seen first-hand where this going in Dynamics 365. Their relationship prediction analytics is off the scale.  CRM dreams are made of this. And it is here, now. Free up sales people to be Sales people. Let technology do the heavy lifting of the administrative aspects of a sales person’s role. Allow it to search all the relevant data points, the sentiment and intent of your clients and prospects. Bring this to life in a dashboard and seamless integration with Dynamics 365 CRM. Give back Sales more time to do what they are paid to do. Sell. 

Layer this with their AI powered Social Selling Assistant. They are not only changing the game, they are ripping up the rule book and taking the game to a completely new level. 

What’s the catch? Your sales team need to feed the Assistant with data. Where does that come from? Their social channels.  What does this mean? If your sales team is not, or does not understand this? Vs the Sales teams that do. You will lose as the competition will have a real-time advantage on you. 

If you are a Dynamics 365 CRM Customer or are considering Dynamics 365 CRM, then get in touch and we will bring this life for you. In your language.

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It’s time to be brave

It’s time to be brave

by Alex Low | @Alexander_Low | LinkedIn

I listened to Cindy Godwin talking about what it means to be brave. She cited examples of her colleagues running marathons after Chemo, herself working with Grayson Perry and the British Museum to promote unknown art & reposition their own brand at the same time. She was basically told, if this goes wrong…. It didn’t and was a great success for not only the British Museum but also Alix Partners.

Bravery can be shown in many different guises. I love skiing and snowboarding and I have had some moments, literally on the wind lip and thinking, F it, I back myself & my ability, dropping in!! so scary yet so much fun at the same time. 

We are now moving into an era for Sales and Marketing where fortune will favour the brave. You are all experts at what you do. Much like me sitting at the top of a ledge on a ski run, looking into the abyss. If you don’t back yourself, you will never make that leap. 

You are now faced with so many decisions, not only how to make your number, how to do it more effectively, accelerate your pipeline. Marketing, start carrying the can on some of this. IT, we are moving to the cloud, so work with me, not against me. The Board. I respect your experience, but you know what, we have to change our approach. And I know the answer. Backed by data led insight. And me. 

I did this in my previous life. Working the UK board of a Nasdaq listed business to actually put their money where their mouth was. Barely 2 months into my role with them. Presenting twice, and saying, you know what, I back myself so much, if this doesn’t work, fire me. We were looking at Social Selling. I won’t lie, I was pretty scared, but I committed. I didn’t think I was necessarily being brave, I just believed this was the right route to take. And we did. And it was.

Note the word We. I could not have done this without the support of the UK Board. 

Trust your instinct, your knowledge and expertise. Be Brave and take that leap.

In skiing parlance. Dropping In! 

Inspired by Cindy Godwin

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