I was fortunate when I first got into Sales. I worked for a large company that had the Sales, Marketing, Business Development, Key Accounts, and the Communications mix just right.
It was a machine that was well honed and set up to allow people to home in on their individual specialisms, then bring them together to extract best value for the greater good.
A short breakdown on how it worked:
Scouring all the available channels and newswires for data and insight on relevant regional and sector specific project information. They would the curate all this data and insight into leads for the Sales team.
Taking the leads from the analysts and qualifying. Connecting, contacting, and having conversations with those in the target organisations who could validate and share vital information. Logging the information in the CRM and building a timeline of activity towards the proposal or tender.
Taking the information from CRM and working with the Sales and Operations/Technical to prep the proposal or tender.
Continues to communicate with the prospect from proposal or tender. Tagging in with Technical Sales to work up the proposal or tender for delivery. Organising technical presentations and eventually into negotiation and closing.
Highly occupied, working to expand the company’s reach and offering. Joining industry dots with new customers, suppliers, and partners to ease our way into new markets and new sectors. Feeding back to the analysts who created new leads for the Sales team.
Working closely with key clients. Making sure that every need was met and picking up on additional scopes. Feeding back to the analysts, BD, Sales and Operations.
Marketing and communications
Putting out well worded press and trade articles that flew the flag for our specialisms and project successes. Staying tight with Sales and Business Development to tune the message around events, tenders, or industry trends.
This was a well-oiled system that allowed each area of what we needed to do to win work, to be done efficiently and effectively. Each role fed into the next but, gave breathing space for each to do what they needed to do. The analysts were generating leads, the Business Developers were looking to the future and making valuable ‘out of the box’ geographic and sector connections, Marketing and Comms were making us look good in the press and Sales were closing deals.
……and then I left to start working with small service companies.
No Market Analysts, no Technical Sales, small Marketing & Communications team (perhaps 1 person), and a few Sales professionals (who had been branded as Business Developers but who’s main job was to sell and close deals (?))
Fundamentally, this small group have the same over arching responsibility as the large team: Find leads and win work!
The large company has departments, technology, and ‘leg room’ to exceed in each of these areas. In the small company there is overlap and each element is diluted.
In the small team, when Sales are on BD type activity they are not prospecting or closing. When Marketing is organising an event, they are not communicating information about the company…and so on. And when the big tender hits, its all hands to the pumps. When we are knee deep in tender preparation, we are dropping the ball on market info, prospecting, and other Sales activity.
These teams work hard trying to juggle a dozen different plates, but something must give. There are only so many hours in the day.
With the added pressure of Covid, lockdowns, working from home and restricted travel, how does the modern day commercial team in a small business, keep on top of what they need to be doing, at the rate they need to be doing it?
We find often it’s the desire to adhere to a traditional ‘shape’ that’s at the root of many problems. Its times to redesign the process and the model and the structure for Digital and Social.
We know that Social Media has changed the world and its dramatically changed life for our buying community.
We also here the same thing over and over “well, our clients like to do business on the phone…”, I’m sure they do, but they are already your clients, you know them, they know you.
How do you get into a new organisation in 2020, if you don’t know anyone and don’t have a referral?
What if we tuned our team to harmonise with how they now work? Not just Sales and Marketing, a much wider team.
In 2020, we need to be better at employing Social Media than our competitors – and that means taking it seriously, doing it strategically and creating the right environment. The ‘right environment’ requires some serious habit and behaviour change, it might not sit well with what you have learned and experienced to date but, when we are thinking about the business, nothing is more important than the business….right?
So, what do we need to be doing:
We need to be communicating with the right people on that ‘new’ target clients list. These are the companies we have never worked with before.
In the past we would be calling and emailing, we know that this is losing or has lost its effectiveness in these digital times.
But the target list still exists, and we need to be on it. We need to be understanding their issues and timelines, formulating responses. We need to be making connections and having conversation, perhaps even more than we did BC (Before Covid).
So, this is where thinking differently comes in – We train the Management Teams, the Technical, The Operational teams and the Sales, Marketing and BD people in strategic Social Media.
We optimise their Social Media profiles and put a plan in place for targeting the right connections…. everyone, working as a team. Before long you are dominating the share of voice in your chosen sectors, receiving inbound and getting on those video calls you would have never had by using the old methods.
Some may tell you that cold calling and email campaigns still work today. We prefer to work on deliverables, data and results.
The last thing you want to do is stop Marketing – but the first thing you need to do is stop Marketing.
Save the money you are throwing away on paid adverts, save the money you are paying for PR, save the time and money you are wasting on email campaigns.
Turn off The Salestech and Martech apps and programmes that people are not using . We are forever being called into companies and being told "we have purchased this app and it doesn't work". It does work, it is just that your team have not been trained as to how to be social.
If you cancel subscriptions, many Salestech and Martech companies give you 3 months for free. This will save you money. You can then tell the people that are "using" it that either they get a return in three months or you will turn it off for good.
It's clear to all of us that the days of advertising are over. It was invented in the 1930s and it's amazing that people are still seeing as a necessary part of the marketing mix.
When Procter & Gamble Cut $200 Million in Digital Ad Spend, It Increased Its Reach 10%
Chase Manhattan began limiting its display ads to pre-approved websites to avoid proximity to content like fake news and offensive videos. Chase Had Ads on 400,000 Sites. Then on Just 5,000. Same Results.
Uber was paying an agency $10 for each app install, they did an 80% reduction in this spend and it made no difference. Why? Because of the fraud in the system.
So while people are arguing that you shouldn't switch off advertising because you will be invisible. There is a clear argument that you were never visible in the first place.
We know that ad spend is collapsing report after report is showing, this. To quote the marketingprofs report, which is a stalwart of the marketing market.
"Engagement with social media advertising has also declined ... because audiences are turning to more organic content than paid."
"The researchers found the average global CTR (click through rate) across the 18 industries examined was down 17.2% in mid-March compared with the start of the year."
This is all predicated on waste: Wasted time, wasted effort wasted money. A lot of ignored noise and messages trying and interrupt someone into paying you attention – It’s all ‘hit and hope’.
We have to measure our success in Marketing in £, $, or € - If we spend 1 we want to know we are getting 2 back and we need to know when.
With Social Strategy we turn this model on its head. We get your team creating rich and diverse content around the subjects and issues you want to be known for and their Network push it out - the people who are interested react and engage and give you the opportunity to have conversations (see prospecting above).
The average LinkedIn user today has 930 connections – do the maths. If 10 of your team created 3 pieces of good, optimised content per week….and then add the connections of the connections and their connections….
We have trained technical teams in this who’ve never considered Social media before, and they bring in the results. In many cases more than other because their content usually hits home with the Technical Buyer, so we make sure their content is biased towards that particular group.
We usually find that this alarms people who know and work in ‘traditional’ Marketing circles – but there is no need. The Marketing role evolves and becomes crucial in this new way of working. The central figure in curating and corralling all the new activity.
The same with Sales, someone must take this inbound and convert it to Purchase orders. We need your skills more than ever, because we have a hell of a lot more activity than we did.
So, getting back to the new model I spoke about earlier….
All your team can and should be trained in Social Media. They should have optimised profiles, be active in conversations and have a connection plan. They should be creating good quality content and interacting with responders.
Marketing is running all of this – Programming and scheduling, helping, and guiding, taking info from the Market, and tuning the internal activity to suit.
Sales are following up with all these new leads and inbound and doing what they always should have been doing, closing deals.
Your customers are not waiting for you to interrupt them and for you to broadcast at them with advertising, email and cold calling. It annoys them, just as it annoys you and me, so why do it.
But your customers are on social. So, connect to them and build relationships with them.
Social Selling (or Modern Selling as it tends to be called nowadays) enables your at home sales force, in fact all your employees to prospect (sometimes called social marketing), to take employees through the sales process and for you to close them. This does not mean you don't have phone conversations or zoom calls, but social can be used all the way through the sales process to support the sales from opening to closing.
The Social Selling Business Case
We expect each of the people we train in social selling to be able to make (if they do what we say) at least one additional meeting per week (minimum). Let’s assume that 4 of those meetings turn into proposals and you close 1 of those proposals. That means you are closing one additional deal per quarter. If your average deal size is £100,000, then each sales person is closing an additional £400,000 per year. As sales team of 10 will create £4 million additional revenue per annum. This isn’t a one off, this is every year.
You save money, maximise your exposure in the right areas and see your company transform.
This is not guesswork or a Beta test for us, it’s what we do for large organisations and SMEs around the world and we have the results data to back it up.
We’ve already run all the experiments and tests, so you don’t have to – You can go straight to work.
Lets talk about resetting your Sales and Marketing for 2020, and beyond.
Crux / DLA Ignite
"But even in today's brave new digital world—where in-person events, tradeshows, and conferences have evaporated in the blink of an eye—other facets of business have not changed. Though the pandemic has created a scramble for ways to best engage with customers in the current environment, the biggest obstacle facing marketers existed before the pandemic wreaked havoc. That is what we call the "performance gap."