In this article, written by my colleague Eric Doyle he talks about going to his first face-to-face meeting since the lock-down.
I was asked to go to a meeting yesterday, but couldn't make it as I was travelling back from France on holiday.
A friend of mine was offered a job in February as a Sales VP. To get to the office is a 6 hour round trip drive, so he asked, "would it be possible to work from home?". The sales VP said "No, nobody works from home.". Writing this as I do in August 2020, this seems alien.
We Have Transformed In Work and Play on Social
In this report by Simon Kemp he outlines the extent that social media has become part of our lives. When I talk to people about social media I often hear people say "I heard that "Karen" left Facebook. This maybe true, while Karen left Facebook, millions of people are joining social media.
Linkedin have just announced there are now 706 million people on Linkedin. But what does this mean for us in sales? Let's look at where we are with the internet.
Growth of the Internet
Simon Kemp research states
Internet user numbers continue to show strong growth as well, with our latest analysis revealing that 346 million people came online for the first time over the past year.
4.57 billion people around the world now use the internet, accounting for close to 60 percent of the world’s total population.
The global total grew by 346 million over the past 12 months, equating to year-on-year growth of more than 8 percent. On average, this means that roughly 11 new users come online for the first time every second since July 2019.
What we find in our work is that use of social media closely follows that of people signing up to the internet. In other words, as people sign up to the internet, they then sign up for social media.
The internet and Social media isn't a fad and it's not going away, in fact usage is accelerating, and now a tipping point has been reached.
In fact Simon Kemp stated recently that 4 out of 10 of the global social media users, use social media for work related purposes.
Fact: Social Media Tipping Point
Simon points out that there are now more people on social media than not on social media.
Back to Simon Kemp's research
Social media users have grown by more than 10 percent over the past year, taking the global total to 3.96 billion by the start of July 2020.
This means that – for the first time – more than half of the world’s population now uses social media, with more people using social media than not.
Growth trends indicate that an average of more than 1 million people started using social media for the first time every single day over the past 12 months, equating to almost 12 new users every second.
What’s more, the pace of growth appears to have accelerated in recent months, despite the global total having already passed the halfway mark.
Then There Was Covid19
Lenin said — 'There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.'
Covid19 has made a massive impact to this transition as the whole world has been forced to stay at home for months on end.
As the CEO of a global company, I've been amazed at how different parts of the world have been hit, exactly the same. Having calls with India, US, Peru, Singapore, Europe, etc, etc. The position is the same "we are on lock down, and we cannot go out". Many of us are starting to see us gradually come out of lock down and Simon Kemp says in his report
"Lockdowns may have been lifted across many countries, but many of the new digital behaviours that people adopted during confinement have endured, resulting in meaningful increases in various kinds of digital activity."
Lock down as accelerated so many things, whereas once we were told things HAD to happen face-to-face, all of a sudden it was not the case.
Church, scouts, piano lessons, choir practice, tap dancing lessons, visiting the doctor all of these things we were told had to take place face-to face. I remember a senior church figure in the UK telling everybody that while the Government had told everybody to stay at home the churches would remain open. He soon had to backtrack.
This change of living and working practice is sticking!
The New Normal is Digital
“After weeks of adapting to Zoom parties, video appointments with doctors, online schooling, social distancing and tapping into social media for virtually everything, will people be happy to go back to their old ways of working and engaging with each other?”
she then goes on to ask.
“The answer will be no. Social media has been holding communities together and organisations will need to assess how to manage the new normal.”
Covid19 Has Changed How People Buy
Search is Changing
Simon Kemp says
But perhaps the most significant change in search behaviours involves the online platforms that people use when they want to learn more about brands and products.
GlobalWebIndex finds that social networks are playing an increasingly important role in people’s brand research behaviours, and are now second only to search engines.
However, the overall gap between search engines and social networks has been steadily closing over recent months, pointing to an ongoing shift in how people look for information about the things they want to buy.
What’s more, social networks are now the top choice amongst internet users aged 16 to 24 when it comes to brand research – even ahead of search engines – with younger women particularly likely to turn to social media for their research needs.
People Buy Using Social Media
Simon Kemp says ...
With roughly 98 percent of internet users across all age groups using a search engine every month, there’s no doubt that these tools continue to play an essential role in people’s online activities.
However, the latest data highlights the fact that people are using a wider variety of tools to help inform their purchase decisions.
As a result, it’s essential that marketers think more broadly about how audiences and consumers might want to discover and learn about their brands, and in particular, how they can weave search-friendly elements into their social media activities.
"What the decision-makers made clear to us was that the most significant influence on their commitment to a supplier was its presence on LinkedIn. This may be explained by the purpose of LinkedIn, which offers a closer bond than the one-way relationship often found on Twitter and Facebook. The expectation of a supplier having a presence on LinkedIn may also offer a sense of security and transparency."
Social Media and Social Selling is Not Advertising
Many people make the mistake and think that when we talk about social media and social selling we are talking about advertising. We are not.
Social media is not advertising, it is being social on ... media and advertising is ..... advertising.
Advertising, (cold calling and cold emailing) is based on interruption and social selling is based on permission. While Seth Godin wrote about Permission Marketing in his book, 21 years ago, marketing still live a life of interruption.
The latest Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust in 2020 reveals that "brands face a fundamental reordering of priorities amid a global pandemic and societal outcry over systemic racism prompted by the murder of George Floyd."
The Edelman Trust Barometer report goes onto to say
Brand trust is earned, not bought. Earned media is the battleground where trust is won or lost. Personal experience and earned media were found to be the most important factors in the gain or loss of trust amongst respondents.
Influence is built through authority and empathy, with industry experts and people like themselves rated as most credible Advertising’s effect has become diminished.
Now, nearly 7 in 10 say that they use one or more advertising avoidance strategies. The shift from 2018 to 2020 has shown double digit increases from those who avoid ads by using ad blocking technology (+10 pts), paying for streaming services (+15pts) or findings ways to avoid almost all ads (+12pts).
What Does This All Mean for sales and Marketing?
This means for sales and marketing that Social Media usage and Social Selling is not a fad and it's not going away.
In fact a company's presence on social is now a business imperative.
Simon Kemp's research..
"Given the broadening role of social media in people’s lives, it’s important that marketers and communicators think more broadly about where social media fits in their plans.
Critically, social media is increasingly a ‘layer’ that permeates almost every aspect of our audiences’ daily lives, rather than being a distinct ‘destination’ with a more siloed sphere of influence.
The trick to making the most of social media today is to understand how these platforms can complement and augment all of our marketing and communication activities.
My advice would be to think less about populating a content calendar, and focus more on identifying and initiating the conversations that matter most to you and the audiences that you care about.
The Social Media Silver Bullet
Social media is not just another channel to place your "interruption" content. Social Media is different. Let's put this another way.
We ask people, so your cold call, your spam email, your advert, your brochure, your website, your brand awareness ...... does this sell anything. Everybody answers "of course not, conversations are what sell things".
Social media creates conversations.
Now Let's Talk About Your September, October and November Pipeline Hole
You want pipeline to fill that massive hole you have in September, October and November of this year, the answer is very simple. You can see that the current efforts of advertising, email and cold calling results are getting less and less, where as your audience has shifted onto social. Maybe it's time to take your sales team and get on social too?
Not as a "random act of social" but with a data driven sales methodology.
Social Selling Results
Eric Doyle, he's a partner of ours. He's posted about the fact that he has started riding his bike again. So what I hear you say!
At the time of writing Eric has 36 likes and 53 comments. That means with the average person having 500 connections on Linkedin that has reached 44,500 people. Think how long it would take you to build an email list of 44,500 people. We could assume that those 44,500 have 500 connections, so that connect could be seen by 22 million people. Who cares? You want leads and meeting after all!
Last time I spoke to him, he has got 6 new business meetings from this, it took him 20 minutes to create.
(I wonder if you can create 6 new business minutes in 20 minutes from advertising, cold calling or email marketing? ... I doubt it, but let me know if you can).
One of our clients sales guys as created the same number of "clicks" with a single Linkedin post (for free, it took him 20 minutes) that whole of his marketing team created last quarter with paid media. OK I lied, it was a few clicks less, but almost the same .... so when we scale that across the sales team of course, the sales team is creating more qualified meetings, for free, than the marketing team on paid media. There are clear winners and losers here in sales and marketing ... it's time to decide which way your business is going to go.
As one client said to us "I cannot believe this, you are in fact just busing prospects to have meetings with my sales team". Now I know I'm biased and there are millions of people on Linkedin with a quick fix to your pipeline problem. What you have to do as a leader is pick the one that will make your business survive.
If you want more information about how we turned social selling from being an art into a science contact me here.
The COVID-19 crisis has intensified existing trends, widening the gap between those at the top and bottom of the power curve of economic profit. Will your strategy keep you ahead of the accelerated pace of change?