Great quote from this article

"Thank you Covid-19, we just broke the record for poor performance. According to Hubspot, the response rate to emails fell to a record low of 2.1% in April. Said differently, 98% of our efforts to reach new prospects failed.

With conversion down, what did we do? You guessed it, we increased the number of emails sent during the same period by 50%, according to Hubspot’s survey of 70,000 customers. We are playing a zero-sum game, and it’s literally a race to the bottom."

When a pro-email marketing site is writing articles like this, you know there is a problem.

Before Covid_19 this didn't matter, we could do whatever we wanted to do with marketing and we still made the number and the bonuses.  Now the money isn't there, we've had our budget cut, the leadership team is looking for an ROI.  Why? Because there is no pipeline.

Plus the business we do have in the pipeline is getting harder to close.

So what is the answer?  Email marketing is not the answer.  Unless the question is "what shall we cut from the marketing budget? and what money could we save if we switched off some of the Martech".

Let's talk about a real alternative.

We Have Transformed In Work and Play on Social Through The Pandemic

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.

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. 

Social Media Tipping Point

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.

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

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 has stuck.

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

People Buy Using Social Media

Simon Kemp says ... 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.

So a a B2B Business What Social Media Platform Should we Be on?

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."

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 Current Pipeline Hole

You want pipeline to fill that massive hole, 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 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!

DLA Ignite have a methodology that support your current sales process.  We can coach you so you can leave email marketing behind and go where your prospects and clients are, on social.

From pipeline generation, to accelerating deals through the pipeline, to closing deals with social. Our methodology is there to support you. No random acts of social, a structure and a known result.

We have been helping business social / digital / remote / virtual sell now for over 4 years.  We also have a team throughout the world, that can support you, wherever you are and whatever language you want to work in

It's time to walk away from the email zero sum game and support the sales and marketing program of the modern world.  

If you want more information about how we turned social selling from being an art into a science contact me here.