Being CEO of a global company you get feedback from around the world, many things are different, but there are many things that are the same.

Covid19 Pandemic for example.

I've lived through many recessions, the aftermath of 9/11 the recession after Lehman Brothers went down in 2007.  They all impacted different companies, different sectors and different countries .... in different ways.

Talking to my team around the world, the impact of the Pandemic has been the same.  Lockdowns, opening up, local lockdowns; from Peru, US, Europe, India the impact has been the same.  It's forced people online and on social.  It has also forced people to change their habits and they are now used to shopping online and on social.

The Online Revolution

While the internet is 30 years old, and we have talked about digital transformation for ten years.  It was always about evolution not revolution.  Covid_19 has changed all of that. 

Transforming Sales and Marketing

We all know that the old ways of interruption come from a different world.  Advertising was devised in 1930, cold calling was devised in the 1980s and email marketing was devised in the 1990s.  Just like having a whole bunch of offices in a business, in a post Covid19 world, sales and marketing just isn't fit for purpose.

If I Tell You The IPhone is the Best Phone In the World - What Do you Do?

The first thing you do is go online.  We all do, and even more so now during the Covid 19 pandemic as more of us are used to being online.

We would read content, not corporate brochures as they just tell us how great something is.  We look for opinion, insight, something that will educate us.

We might even ask our networks a question to validate.

You would probably come back to me and tell me that actually your prefer a Samsung, you might push the boat out and tell me the Samsung folding phone is worth the extra money. 

I don't know, what your answer would be, but you will have got there, not by adverts, not by being cold called and not by having email thrust down your throat. You will have got there through social.  In fact, now, if you invest in advertising, email marketing and cold calling, the above example just demonstrates about how you will drive business for your competition who ARE active on social media.

So How Big is Social?

In this report by Simon Kemp he outlines the extent that social media has become part of our lives.

Linkedin have just announced there are now 706 million people on Linkedin. 

Growth of the Internet

Simon Kemp research states

4.57 billion people around the world now use the internet, accounting for close to 60 percent of the world’s total population. 

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. 

Simon points out that there are now more people on social media than not on social media.  

But is that about sharing cat photos and photos of your lunch?

In fact Simon Kemp stated recently that 4 out of 10 of the global social media users, use social media for work related purposes. 

Do We Have Time for Digital Transformation?

Before Covid19 we knew that we needed to be part of a digital transformation project, but it happened organically.  In many companies "digital transformation" was seen as systems change or a move to cloud. The problem with this is that while the systems might have changed the business process didn't.

As Brian Solis said “I tried digital transformation, but I got stuck in meetings"

Surely We Just Change the CRM? Or Buy Some Sales or Marketing Tech?

As business change is often seen as related to software.  I'm aware of companies that keep changing their CRM and still the sales figures are bad.  The sales figures being bad has nothing to do with the CRM.

And buying more sales tech or marketing tech does not solve the problem.

I was on a webinar the other day, where the Marketers whole existence was to build a "marketing stack".  All this "marketing stack" was going to do was send more emails. Really?

We already know, that email marketing was defined in the 1990s. These analogue methods just don't work anymore, companies are wasting their time and money.

Why, when you know your client is on social, they are will to have a conversation with you, they are probably even willing to follow you; would you choose to email them?

When your client is open to a relationship based on permission and trust and you can have an open dialogue with them, would you to interrupt them, annoy them and then broadcast at them. (Which they will ignore.)

It's the difference between analogue and digital, and this is the choice that you and your leadership team need to make. 

There is no Time to Wait - Digital Is Accelerating

What’s more, the pace of growth appears to have accelerated in recent months, despite the global total having already passed the halfway mark. 

In fact this research shows that we have gained ten years of digital transformation in just 3 months. 

The New Normal is Digital

So when Stéphanie Genin, vice president of global enterprise marketing at social media management firm Hootsuite said this, I wasn't surprised, are you?

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 and so must your business.

Where as a B2B Business Should I Place My Bets?

In a recent article by University of Edinburgh, Ewelina Lacka is a lecturer in Digital Marketing and Analytics she said about their research

"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."

If you are in B2B (Business to Business) you need to be on LinkedIn.

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. 

As A Leader You Need to Build Trust in Sales and Marketing

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 for CEOs. 

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. 

So How Are You Going To Create Business?

You want pipeline, 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 Case Study

Eric Doyle, he's a partner of ours.  He posted a piece of content, it currently has 165 likes and 37 comments and has been viewed 18,292 times.

It's created for him 124 leads.

28 outbound connections.

13 new inbound connections.

6 meetings (1 CEO, 1 COO, 2 MDs, 2 FDs)

1 Proposal

All from 10 minutes of work, all for free!

(I wonder if you can create 6 new business meetings in 10 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.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/timothyhughessocialselling/