We had a little break last week, in St Andrews on the East Coast of Scotland. It reminded me of the time, back in February of this year, when we were wondering if we would manage to get over to Cervinia for our ski holiday we had booked for March.

We didn’t really understand the full implications of Covid back then and were thinking “as long as it doesn't hit Northern Italy” our holiday should be safe...  

Looking back, we didn’t have a clue what was coming, then lockdown hit hard. I remember thinking that it would only be for a month at the most…..here we are in late October and the scientists and Government are talking about us being in and out of lockdown for another 6 months at least. We now talk about the ‘second wave’, worry about the third and fourth and what it will mean for 2021.

But, what about our businesses?

How was Q3 and what does Q4 look like? How are you generating new leads and securing pipeline?

The KPI and OKRs all changed…..the focus is budget and pipeline generation.

Social Selling allows you to go where your prospects and clients are, on Social Media.   The key benefits of embedding Social Selling into your OKR strategy, is that it increases the transparency and gives greater focus and alignment.

The latest stats from Simon Kemp and the team at DataReportal's - 'Digital 2020 October snapshot':

  • 7.81 billion people on the planet
  • 4.66 billion are internet users
  • 4.14 billion are active Social media users

Take out the kids and the retirees and who's left? You, me our clients, partners and suppliers...

and..... 41% of internet users use Social Media for work purposes.

The OKR framework achieves benefit by grouping employees and their respective responsibilities around accomplishing similar objectives.

For example:

Increase pipeline creation - Each salesperson who uses our Social Selling methodology, makes at least one additional meeting per week – Let’s say they turn 4 meetings into 1 proposal per month to one additional sale per quarter.

Assume an average deal size of 100K - That is an additional 400K per sales person, per year, every year.

…these numbers are deliberately conservative.

Then, further strengthen this by training your Technical people in ‘Social Influence’ and have them engage with all the Technical people within your client base….

We can set an objective that describes the main goal that a company hopes to achieve in the long run, while key results are the expected outcomes. We then work with your team to define the work that needs to be done to achieve the key results and provide the methodology and training to support the effort. 

We use OKR as a method that constitutes a set of Social Selling rules to help your people prioritise and measure the results of their work.

The evidence is data driven, if you are using Social Selling throughout the Sales process, you will:

  • Open more sales conversations and open them earlier: which enables you to control and influence the sale process, ahead of the competition. 
  • Increase win rate: de-risk your forecast.
  • Enable you to get new leads: provide the growth you need.
  • Increase your revenue through better pipeline conversation.
  • Reduce your overall cost of sales.

Social Selling works best as a team sport - we will show you how everyone in the business can contribute to this process: 

More activity - more sales - less cost.  

Pipeline – Criticise, stabilise, or maximise?

How much longer can we use the line item excuse on the forecast "due to Covid..."?

Its all hands to the pumps to create pipeline in 2020, or at least it should be. Gone are the days of being precious about who is bringing in the work – everyone is in the pipeline creation business in 2020.

It’s time make the some hard decisions, things might need to change more than you first thought - "What got us here, won't get us there…"

We know that business has changed due to the Covid and the international reaction to it, we have to change our Sales and Marketing models or run out of cash, without the right pipeline. 

Hubspot tell us that "the number of deals created dropped 11% the week of April 6.". We are now knocking on the door of November – have things really changed for the better...?

Digital Advertising

The latest engagement numbers on digital advertising are alarming…

1.61% Facebook

1.91% Google

0.35% Programmatic (this is where ads follow you around when you browse)

What does this mean? It means 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

Prior to the pandemic and the aftermath, this kind of analysis was missed and we piled more and more cash into something we didn’t really understand - now we know. It's like throwing cash on a bonfire. 

Email marketing

According to Hubspot, the response rate to emails fell to a record low of 2.1% in April 2020. Said differently, 98% of our efforts to reach new prospects failed.

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."

They also say "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."

Conferences in 2021..?

We know that there will be no face-to-face conferences this year - will they come back in 2021? We cant bank on that demand generation and those leads, so who do we replace them? 

Will companies allow our salespeople to visit?  All it needs is one of your salespeople to be tested positive and the whole of the face-to-face sales business collapses. Not just for you (and the negative publicity) but the whole world - we must adapt!

What this means for our Businesses...

Targeted prospecting matters more than ever.

Advertising and Email Marketing are not fit for purpose in the Covid19 world, switch spending in these areas to create pipeline.

To quote Hubspot once more "As buyers have moved their purchasing online out of necessity, businesses with an established digital presence have reaped the rewards."

How about we move our marketing to content marketing?

Content is king...

In an article from May of this year Michael Brenner said:

That’s why B2B businesses need to take advantage of the online digital "space" through content marketing. The top three content marketing priorities identified by B2B marketers, according to the Content Marketing Institute are:

  • creating more engaging content (72%)
  • gaining a better understanding of what content is effective (65%)
  • finding better ways to repurpose content (57%)

And we know "Content Marketing ROI is 7 times greater than paid ads."

We developed the ‘hierarchy of content engagement’ through our research:

Corporate content all looks the same. Its homogenised, sanitised and dull. If its all about the brand, we switch off as we want to engage with real people not sanitised brand feeds.

The other issue that brands face is they still deliver content in the ways of the past, through interruption. Traditional marketing has always been about, interruption and broadcast. You interrupt me with an advert, email or cold call and then broadcast a message. The message will be "buy my product because it's great" and nobody is interested and we all get annoyed because of the interruptions. This does the brand damage, so why would we do it?

In this Social world, it also makes your company look desperate, because we are all aware this sort of marketing is old fashioned.

Real ROI on content...

Conversations lead to proposals and deals....

From a Marketing perspective the average person on Linkedin has 930 connections. When you like or comment on an article that means that the network of the person who likes or shares can see that post. That means 100,700 people could have seen this content.

Think of that as an email database of 100,700.... 

That is also a load of people who will look at your profile, if you have a great profile, not a CV, not dray, bland, 'same as' profile.....a profile that shows who you are as a person. All of those profile views are like calling cards.

A profile view is where somebody, (without interrupting) checks you out and leaves a trace. 

This is where our social selling methodology is different. You will see cold callers saying that social selling doesn't work, it's about posting content and hoping. We all know hope isn't a strategy.

This is very old thinking. What we do is give you a methodology and take all of those likes and comments and have conversations with the people. We all know that conversations, turn into proposals and proposals turn into deals. 

We all have content in us...

There is no excuse for 'lack of content' - Your people will know what your network wants, work it out together.

Your single most unique selling point is your people, their history, their life and experiences. So get them to share their experiences in an authentic way...

Have your marketing team co-ordinate all of this and suggest "keywords" to add to that content. This takes trust and your people won't create it unless you trust and empower them. People make mistakes, so they need training and support.

So what do you need to do?

You need to train your people as to what a great profile looks like, how to connect with people in your target accounts and how to create content that engages. 

You then need to train them how to monetarise the engagement...

You may have entered the lock down analogue but, this is your chance to leave the pandemic fully digital.

Contact me here to talk this over.

Eric Doyle

Crux / DLA Ignite