Every week we meet with C level Executives and Directors of companies, to talk about the state of play, how things are going and how we can help.

There are several themes that come from these meetings. Notwithstanding the wellbeing of the teams, the overriding issues are…

  • Cash Flow
  • Order Intake
  • Sales Pipeline

This week I saw a post on LinkedIn where people were debating whether we needed business cards nowadays, I scrolled through the responses and felt deflated... 

We are facing a global economic outlook the likes of which we have never seen in our lifetime, with predicted long-term damage to potential output and productivity growth that the analysts cant yet fully map out….meanwhile we are blindly arguing the validity of business cards in 2020….really?

It reminded me of the Dinner party scene from ‘Carry On Up The Khyber’ where the top brass of the ‘Kilted Third Foot and Mouth’ continue with a dinner party whilst their house in under attack.  

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The dinner guests ignore the fact that the house is being destroyed. The Captain (Roy Castle) decides to go out and check ‘how things are’, and is convinced to stay, “but Captain, you haven’t had your dessert and its Strawberry Mousse..!”.

We don’t have time to mess about, this is crucial. Time to stop ‘organising the deck chairs on the Titanic’ and have some grown-up conversations.

We know the big issues and we know we must address them.

We need Order Intake to stabilise Cash Flow - We need Sales Pipeline to feed Order Intake.

How to you generate leads and build a sales pipeline these days if you haven’t taken your team Strategic with Social? That is a genuine question...  

I am serious, how do you do it? We hear it all the time “we prefer the phone and email” – “we like the old school methods”.…what are you talking about?

Recently, I’ve had conversations with seasoned Sales and BD veterans, people that have done this for a living for 25 years +, people that are qualified and experienced, people that were at the top of their game….and they admit that, although it sounds romantic to cling on the old ways, they categorically do not work.

So, it makes me angry when I hear people put themselves and their own ego/politics/lack of foresight before the growth and success of a company.

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In B2B 2020, there are a few different types of organisation:

The Analogue Company:  

 Not digital, not Social. Stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Reliant on old fashioned outdated methods and techniques to drive business. Cold Calling, paying for adverts and spamming with email marketing campaigns.

Commonly heard saying: “We prefer to do things the old-fashioned way”, “we are old school”, “we don’t do Social Media much”, “It’s all about our black book…”.

Common issues: Increased costs, Decreased sales pipelines, Order intake down…

The Randomly Social Company:

A few people in the company post occasional material on LinkedIn.

Not using Social to drive business but some think they do. Still using old fashioned outdated methods and techniques to drive business.  Still Cold Calling, paying for adverts and spamming with email marketing campaigns.

Commonly heard saying: “We do some bits and pieces on LinkedIn”, “we do a bit more on Social Media these days”, “we have tried social media, but we are still on the fence”.

Common issues: Increased costs, Decreased sales pipelines, Order intake down…

The Tactically Social Company:

Several people posting on Social Media Platforms, no strategy or structure.

Not using Social to drive business but, the leadership team believe they are Social Selling. Still using old fashioned outdated methods and techniques to drive business with occasional inbound.  Still Cold Calling and spamming with email marketing campaigns but paying more attention to Social Media, now running paid ads on LinkedIn.

Commonly heard saying: “We already do Social Selling”, “we are all over Social”, “we decided this year to put much more focus on Social and (insert name) has been doing this”

Common issues: Increased costs, Decreased sales pipelines, Order intake down.

The Socially Mature Company:

Team are trained in Social Selling & Influence. Defined strategy and structure.

Optimised profiles, using content strategy to best effect, connecting, and having conversations at scale.

New metrics, new language, new way of working – new gains.

Driving most or all business through Social Media.

Commonly heard saying: “We anticipate all of our deals this year will come from Social”, “We have a defined process which means we are confident in what we do”, “We measure ourselves differently, our language has changed”

Common issues: Decreased costs, increased sales pipelines, Order intake up…

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We find that most analogue companies are actually open to transformation. When we show what needs to be done and what will happen, they tend to go with it. 

The tougher challenge comes with Random and Tactical groups - Those that are not Social Selling, but think they are.

Someone in the organisation has convinced the leadership team that “we already do this; we are all over Social Media” the leadership team have not made time to check and this has been accepted. 

In this case, all the business benefits that come with well organised, Strategic Social Media management are blocked. The opportunity to have the conversation about what it really means is obstructed and clouded.

All we are concerned about is getting you and your team Strategic with Social media, so you see the benefits. This is what you would expect to see if you were “already doing this and all-over Social Media.”:

  • Decreased Marketing costs: Advertising and zero-value activity stopped
  • Visibility: Recognition in the marketplace
  • Own the ‘Share of Voice’ in your sectors: Turning your volume up and the competition down
  • Trusted advisor status: Becoming the trusted voice in what you do
  • Pipeline, growth & inbound: More conversations, more proposals, more POs…
  • Recruitment opportunities: You need people and you want them to want to work with you.
  • Employee engagement & shared sense of purpose: A new sense of ownership.

If you don’t see this, you are not ‘already doing it’ and are not ‘all over it’ – here are a few questions to ask for verification:

  1. When were we all trained?
  2. Where is our strategy?
  3. When were our profiles optimised?
  4. How to we get leads for our Sales team?
  5. How much revenue to do attribute to our Social Media presence and activity?
  6. What are our Social Media metrics?

There is another type of company that exists these days, it is the company that understands Social Media is the answer and wants all the benefit but, isn’t prepared to earn it...

The Silver Bullet Company:

This company want all the benefits that Social Brings but have been convinced that there is an easy road – Outsourcing or automation.

They have all the spamming tech and/or have outsourced their effort. They have people running email spam campaigns, people creating content, they even have people managing their accounts.

Commonly heard saying: “We are killing at Social Selling”, “we are all over Social”, “we are fully Social”...

Common issues: Massively increased costs, Decreased sales pipelines, Order intake down

Do you really want your team and your brand to be associated with spamming and bot fatigue? Being Social is about a connection, however you slice it. 

  • You take that connection and you grow it
  • You build on it through influence and you strengthen the connection
  • You communicate and find common ground
  • You build trust
  • You talk and help each other
  • You work with each other

How do you do this with a bot? How do you do this with a spam email campaign? How to you do this with a paid advert? How do you do this when someone else is pretending to be you?

You can’t and you shouldn’t…

Do you believe that putting your relationship with your precious client base in the hands of someone pretending to be you or even worse, a bot, is a good idea?

Social Selling is you to me and me to you, we earn the right. 

We put in the hard work and we claim the benefits.

I’m not going to brag in this article about the results our clients see with our Social Selling & Influence programmes. If you want to know, drop me a line and we can discuss.

We have been transforming teams to Social Media for years; we know what works and what doesn’t. 

This is not guesswork or gut feel, this is the result of rigorous trial and test, its proven.

Our Social Selling & Influence programme is repeatable, predictable and scalable.

Lets talk about getting you and your team ready for Social Selling in the New Year - you can contact me here

Eric Doyle

Crux / DLA Ignite