Interesting research from MIT

"Groundbreaking international research by MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) reveals that enterprises that invest in building the digital skills of their internal workforce significantly outperform those who cut back"

"That conclusion is supported by conducted similar analysis from management and recruitment consultancy Korn Ferry which arrived at much the same conclusions – the most successful business are those who take a longer-term view on building a workforce capable of navigating and thriving through the challenges of the future."

I started in sales and marketing, before the internet and email existed. Can you imagine that? Of course not.

In the 1980s I cold called, there wasn’t any other way, apart from writing letters, of course. They were called mail shots, not a term you hear anymore.

During the 1990s, I recall how email started to get mass take up. A friend of mine was paid to undertake a business case for a company to implement email across the company, it was rejected as the Board said that nothing, not even this new technology, email, would replace letters How wrong they were!

I worked for a company, where usage of mobile phones was investigated. The Board rejected the expenditure. The view was the mobile phones would never take off as we all had a phone on our desk. They were wrong as well!

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It does seem amazing and funny today that business couldn’t see the change that was impacting us.

I read an article today that stated “sales and marketing hasn’t changed” and he is 100% right.

All of these inventions, fax machines, VCRs, slide projectors, acetate slide ... many of you won’t even know what these are. But they were invented, we used them to better the sales process and the technology changed. We moved on, but ...

Sales and marketing hasn’t changed. 

It’s the same as it was 30 years ago.... does that not scare you? You sell and market the same in 2020 as you did before the fax machine. In fact there are many, many "sales experts" who have a vested interest to tell you things haven't changed. Why? Because they no longer have a job.

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The article, I read, went onto say, that the buying process has changed. How very true, we are all empowered to buy things, using our mobile phones.

If I tell you the iPhone is the best phone in the world, you can go onto the internet and validate that. What do you do? You go to Google and search for articles.

You will ignore article by Apple and it’s competitors, because you know they are biased.

But you will seek advice from your friends. One of the DLA Ignite team has just built his own PC, not because he spotted an advert, but because a mate of his (on social) suggested it. 

You may even, ask your friends questions about what phone to buy on Facebook or WhatsApp. 

You can make a buying decision, on an expensive item like a phone and buy it all without a salesperson being aware of it.

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Look at BMW, in November 2019 they had 28 pieces of inbound.

That’s 28 people contacting the dealer interested to buy a car.

They converted 14 of these into sales. Let’s assume the average price of a BMW is $50,000, selling an additional 14, at a time that Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), their competition, said they were cutting back production because sales were poor.

There you have, one company, BMW selling an additional ($50,000 x 14 = $700,000) for free (at no marketing cost through LinkedIn) and Jaguar, who have not transformed their Salesforce to digital, selling nothing. There does seem to be digital winners and losers. 

I can provide, many, many examples of how people are using social and digital as a way to sell, but your company is still selling and marketing like the 1980s and 1990s. Why is this?

It feels like maybe yours is the company that felt that email would never catch on or the company who couldn't see that the mobile phone was going to be a game changer for bsuiness?

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So here is your conundrum.

You agree with the statement above on how people are using social to buy. But you are still selling, like we did before the fax machine was invented.

Now, at this point, you will be saying “yes, but...”. “Yes but, we have invested in all this sales tech....”

True, but making broken processes faster does not make an impact. Your sales and marketing processes are broken. 

"Shit that arrives at the speed of light is still shit." - David Abbott

You can spend as much on sales tech as you want, you are still going to end up in the same place, just faster, as you burn through your cash faster.

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The same with spend on advertising, email marketing and cold calling. Advertising was invented in 1930, cold calling in 1980 and email marketing 1990. They are all based on interrupt and broadcast. You interrupt me and broadcast or pitch to me. As internet enabled, social aware buyers we hate you doing it and it’s effectiveness gets less and less and less as they years go by.

You can buy a “Martech stack” but the facts do not change. You are using 1990 technology in 2020 .... you wouldn’t use VHS videos, so why have you not changed your sales and marketing?

Sales and Marketing in a Covid19 World

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So what are you going to do?

This is not a tool vs social discussion. You either agree that selling and marketing like the way we did in the 1980s, which is the way you do now, is either right or wrong. You either get the way the world works or you don’t .... keep making excuses, it doesn’t change anything. 

If you want to buy a tool, please do, it just accelerates the time you will hand the keys to your business over. 

So What Do You Need to Do?

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First you can move your sales people, technical people, Human Resources people, etc to social. This is not spamming people with pitches as connection requests, this is not posting and hoping, this is having a methodology based on the way people buy today.

Start in sales and then gradually role this across the business. I know you don’t have the budget, which is why the project is self funding. As the sales people sell through social (and yes you can measure it, anybody who sales you cannot measure social don’t know what they are talking about) you reinvest that into the business training more people.

What you will find is the more you transform the business to social, the less people you need. Social will enable you to strip out cost and increase your efficiency. Or put it another way, more sales at less cost. 

It’s the question all CEOs are asking “how do we sell more, for less?” So now you know.

“How do we make sure we survive the Pandemic, or better still, make up the losses we have made”. Another question CEOs ask, and here is the solution. 

"How do we reconfigure our sales and marketing costs" is another question we get asked by CEOs.