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 or lack of it
  • Order Intake or lack of it
  • Sales Pipeline or lack of it

All of the Business Leaders say to us

"I Know The World Has Changed But I Don't Know What to Do"

The $56 Million Question 

There lies a problem, as there are probably a million people on Linkedin who will be more than happy to sell you a solution to this problem.  Doesn't mean it will work, but they are happy to sell you what they do.

Eric who is part of the DLA Ignite team thought it "funny" the other day that a guy who printed business cards for a living was pitching that, if only people had business cards and or their Covid19 pipeline problems would go away.  Of course he is going to say that, it puts food on his table, but I doubt a nice new business card is going to make that much impact on your current pipeline.

One CEO I've been talking to, has purchased a new website, because he was promised a "lead generating engine" of course, a website does not create him leads and he has no money left for any other real world pipeline generation.  I guess in business we make decisions and have to live with the consequences, this CEO has been "mugged".  He will probably go bust unless a miracle happens.  It's terrible that a company will do that, I assume the web design company was able to pay their staff for a few more weeks.  

So How Can you Make Sure Your Business Survives the Pandemic?

The world has changed and the fundamentals of marketing, that have worked for 90 years, unsurprising, no longer work.  This fundamental is "I interrupt you, and then broadcast a message"

Adverting, email marketing and cold calling are the mechanisms for interruption.  You then pitch.

It just does not work anymore.

We Are In The Middle of a Pandemic

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.

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

We all know the world has changed ... we are all online, virtual, remote, digital, social; call it what you want, but we know it just isn't the same anymore.

We also know that it's critical that we win, every piece of business we can.  Cash is king. 

How to you generate leads and build a sales pipeline these days?

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”.…Really? 

What You are saying is that what worked in 1980, works in 2020? Really?

Do you still use faxes and a Sony Walkman

Recently, I’ve had conversations with seasoned Sales Leaders and Business Development (BD) veterans, people that have done this for a living for 25 years plus, 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, virtual, remote. 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…”. "It worked for me 20 years ago and it will work for me now".

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”. "I posted something the other day on social" and when you check out the 20 likes it's all from the person's direct reports and channel partners.

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

The Tactically Social / Digital / Virtual / Remote Selling 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 Silver Bullet Company:

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...

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

The Digital / Remote / Virtual / Socially Mature Company:

Team are trained in Social Selling & Influence, using a world beating strategy and structure.

Optimised profiles, using content strategy to best effect, connecting, and having conversations at scale.  Their profiles are working for them, night and day to get inbound and build influence.

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”

(As an aside, we have found that during the Pandemic, that our clients ability to create pipeline has gone up, not down.)

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 / digital / remote / virtual 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.

People invited into deals early and controlling the "top table" of a sale

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:

When were we all trained?

Where is our strategy?

When were our profiles optimised?

How to we get leads for our Sales team?

How much revenue to do attribute to our Social Media presence and activity?

What are our Social Media metrics? (Yes you can measure it!)

Why Would We Invest In a Social Media Campaign?

This isn't a campaign, campaigns have a beginning and an end.  When you stop paying for advertising, your visibility finishes.  Social / Digital / Virtual / Remote selling is handing you the keys to self sufficient demand generation. For life.

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 Have Conversations

You build trust

You talk and help each other

You work with each other

Where Do We Go From Here?

For those unsure of what to do, DLA Ignite will complete a review of your current social / digital / virtual / remote selling capability.  For free. 

We will take your team (up top 10) and perform a complete root and branch Social Media Performance Assessment.

Sales, Marketing, Management, Technical, HR. Procurement ....whoever you want to include.

This will include: Profiles, connections, followers, inbound and outbound activity, content, engagement, follow up, results.

(Happy to provide the list of deliverables).

We will map your business against the DLA Ignite baseline and present back to you our findings. We will show you where improvements can be made and what results should be expected.  No hard sell, just present back to you a road map.  You entered lock down analogue, this is your chance to leave this pandemic, digital.

Please contact me here or one of the DLA Ignite team here, so please pick one of our industry experts or one of our experts in your geographical locality.  Our website is here.

Thanks to Eric for allowing me to use his original blog.