So what are the traits that digital leaders, well in fact, all leaders need to exhibit, now we are really, really, really, really, in a digital economy.
The days when we could just turn up at a company for a meeting have gone. For many of us, we will never go back to working at an office and for a company to now accept external people into their office environment is a complete no, no.
Our clients are online, our customers are online and our competitors are online. So what are you going to do?
A Plan for Digital
Pipeline - What can we do to maximize pipeline?
This requires us all to do what we can across the business to be in the pipeline building business.
We also have to be totally honest with ourselves here. "What got us here, won't get us there". We all know that business has changed due to the Pandemic and we have to change our sales and marketing models or run out of cash, without the right pipeline. Research from Hubspot shows that "the number of deals created dropped 11% the week of April 6." I'm writing this in October 2020, do we really think that the deals created has picked up?
This diagram is of the deal drop in the US up to the 4th June 2020.
Let's look at two of the most traditional ways of marketing before the pandemic, digital advertising and email marketing.
Yesterday I had a fascinating conversation with a Martin Lucas for an up and coming #TimTalk (my podcast) and the following figures are engagement rates for digital advertising.
0.35% Programmatic (this is where ads follow you around when you browse)
That means that digital advertising has a 98.81% failure rate and based on the amount of money that is spent on digital advertising, that means that $265 Billion is wasted on digital advertising every year. This is an example of one area where before the pandemic it was seen as OK to make spend like this, now it's flushing dollars down the toilet. Another example is email marketing.
Hubspot say in the report "Sales teams are sending about 50% more email to prospects than they were pre-COVID, but responses continue to drop. Last week, sales response rates hit an all-time low for 2020 at 2.1%, a lower response rate than Christmas week 2019."
Diagram from Hubspot showing the number of emails being sent going up and the response reducing.
Hubspot also said "These trends tell an important story. Email prospecting, to put it bluntly, is out of control. It's easy to send thousands of emails with just a few clicks, and in a chaotic time, we understand why sales teams are sending so many. But volume and quality is a tradeoff — the time a team saves by sending out email blasts is wasted if that outreach isn't personalized, relevant, and helpful. These gaps are clear in the data."
What This Means for Businesses
Targeted prospecting matters more than ever.
Advertising and Email Marketing are just not fit for purpose in the Covid19 world,and you need to switch spending in these areas to create pipeline.
To quote Hubspot "As buyers have moved their purchasing online out of necessity, businesses with an established digital presence have reaped the rewards."
The next P in James's model is
This is about making sure you have a real hard honest look at the people you have and work out, "are they the people that will get us to the next phase of our business?"
It's time for some hard choices.
A friend of mine recently advertised for a role, before the pandemic it would have been difficult to get a candidate and they would have employed search and advertised the role. My friend, put a post on Linkedin and got 300 applications.
Obviously, you need to take into account ramp up times if you take on new teams.
One Venture Capital (VC) company I know, whenever they buy a company they fire the whole of the marketing department. Why? They tell me it's very simple, if the team they buy hasn't implemented digital and social by now, they never will. They bring in interim people and build out a new team.
The third position in James's 4 Ps is
Partner or Channel
James's argument is that each business needs to activate and support its channel and partners.
To use a roads metaphor, the direct sales channel is like the autoroutes or motorways, where the channel is the more minor roads. Either way with a direct sales model and an indirect / partner / channel model you should have the greatest amount of coverage.
The more coverage the better the pipeline.
And finally the 4 P is
This is where the business needs to look at all the processes in the business to
- Maximise pipeline
- To make it easier to close business
- To increase the win rate
What can you do to hit all of the 4Ps?
The Number One Thing You Can Do As a Leader Is to Invest in Your Employees to be Digital
Your business went into lockdown analogue, but you as a leader have a duty of care to make sure your team come out as digital.
This is backed up by research from MIT and Korn Ferry.
"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."
High Performing Businesses Use Social Strategically
What Is A High Performance Business in The Post Pandemic World?
If you are a modern high performing business where social media is strategic to your business, or you hope it will be strategic to the business read on.
How Social Media Has Been used in the Past
Social media has been used tactically in the past within the business. Often it will be in digital marketing, which sits in marketing and this involves tweeting a broadcast message along the lines of “buy our product, because it’s great”. There maybe differences on platforms, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but the message is the same. This is often called omnichannel. You use all the channels, including email and cold calling and you push out the same message.
This is fundamentally broken, see statistics above.
Adverting, email marketing and cold calling are based on interruption and broadcast and social is based on permission and relationship. This is a mistake that most companies make.
The Next Step In Social Media Maturity
Back in 2015, I was involved in a very rudimentary social selling roll out across 4,000 people, across Europe. It was basic as it was pretty much a way of connecting with prospects and clients that wasn’t spammy. For example, connecting to people from the same University as you using a references that only a person who went there would know. For example, somebody once connected to me on Linkedin with the message “Remember the “Silver Sword””. Of course I did, I was the first pub off the campus of my University. That meant I connected as we immediately had something in common.
Social / Digital Virtual / Remote Selling Comes of Age
Off the back of that I wrote the book “Social Selling - techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers”, which is available on Amazon worldwide. I also wrote the blog “How to get 10 C-Level meetings a week using Twitter”. These are stepping stones in the evolvement of social. Both showing to the world that there was (and is) a business reason why you should have a social project in your business and the fact there is a return on investment (ROI).
The Social Business is Born
Back in 2018 we found that our social selling programs were “repeatable and predictable”. Whenever we ran them it would create 30% more revenue and reduce the sales cycle by 40%. This is pretty cool and something we are very proud of.
It was at this point that I tasked my Co-Founder, Adam Gray with executing the second part of our strategy, which was to create a “social business”. We talked to our global resellers / partners and our global Associates and asked them which module do you want to come next, and the feedback was Human Resources.
Social Human Resources (HR) - Redefining HR in The Social Age
Now, if you talk to anybody in Human Resources (HR) they will say they use social media already in the department. They probably (tactically) put out job ads on Twitter and when you ask them what return they get, the answer will be, little or zero.
Adam found a guy who is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) and is also very social. He was tasked with “reinventing the Human Resources department for the social age”. He did this and we launched this in September 2019. We also signed a contract for Social Marketing in December 2019.
Social Marketing - Redefining Marketing in the Social Age
Again, this wasn’t about having Marketing and layering on social media, which is the way Marketing works today, this is about redesigning Marketing for the social age.
To quote, Michael Brenner “Marketing’s job is finding people in your organisation, who want to share what they know or what they love” how very true. The same is for technical people.
Digital Supply Chain - Redefining Procurement and Supply Chain in the Social Age
I’ve just (August 2020) launched Social Procurement, but we are calling it Digital Supply Chain as that fits better with the nomenclature and sentiment of the procurement and supply chain market.
Business Transformation in the Social Age
It was back in 2019 that we stopped being just a social selling company and we became a business transformation company, using social media to impact the transformation. Like the social selling programs, we are able to increase efficiency and effectiveness of a business and strip out cost. An idea value proposition in the Covid19 pandemic.
The Social Age is Here
We are currently doing an implementation covering Sales, Marketing, Human Resources (HR) and Technical.
The company is a high-tech business so they have technical consultants and technical people in pre-sales.
Traditionally, these company work in silos or have distinctive roles and clear areas of demarcation. Social has enabled businesses to strip out cost and increase output, ven during the pandemic. Which right now is the "holy grail"
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.
The process of digital transformation demands leaders who exhibit traits that help them anticipate opportunities and threats, adapt to changing conditions and embrace disruption. To perform in this challenging context, digital leaders must focus on generating value, rather than just reacting to business requirements.