Sales has changed totally and the people that are saying it hasn't, are more and more sounding like flat earth supporters.
You cannot get more "serious" than this McKinsey research.
You cannot get more damning than this for the old ways, (pre pandemic) ways of working.
"B2B decision-maker preferences and behaviors have shifted dramatically since the onset of COVID. The GTM revolution is here and B2B sales is forever changed.
The tide has turned: digital self-service and remote rep interactions are likely to be the dominant elements of the B2B go-to-market model going forward, when selling to both SMBs and large enterprises
Don’t count on returning to a pre-COVID-19 level of in-person sales coverage, as only 20–30% of B2B buyers want to ever interact with reps in person even in their ideal/post-COVID-19 model
Around 90% of B2B decision makers expect the remote and digital model to stick around for the long run, and 3 in 4 believe the new model is as effective or more so than before COVID-19 (for both existing customers and prospects)
97% of B2B buyers claim they will make a purchase in an end-to-end, digital self-serve model, with the vast majority very comfortable spending $50K or more online"
Are You Still Shuffling Deck Chairs on The Titanic in Sales and Marketing?
This does mean that every company and I mean every company will have to go through a transformation of its sales and marketing processes. None of this shuffling deck chairs on the titanic, buying sales tech and using at a sticking plaster (band aid) on the problem.
Jeb Blount says in his book Virtual Selling “VanillaSoft, HubSpot Sales Pro, Outreach and SalesLoft have become little more than expensive ways for salespeople to send thousands of automated emails cloaked under the guise of sales activity” How very true, but let's be honest here that is just Jeb's opinion, what we need is fact not conjecture.
This is backed up with facts from Hubspot. 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."
The Good News Is ....
But there is good news which is
Worldwide social media users: 4.14 billion - 53% of the world's population use social media in other words, more people use social media than don't use it.
Simon says that "two thirds of the working population in the world is now active on social media."
What Exactly Does This Mean?
It means that your clients are on social, so now is the time to work with these clients and maybe sell stuff.
It does not mean you should start spamming them.
Back to Jeb Blount's book Virtual Selling where he states “Nobody like a pitch. Not you, not me, not your prospects and customers” This is true, talk to any of the sales experts and talk to any prospects and customers out there, we all hate people connecting to us and pitching or just pitching as a connection request.
So What Can We Do to Prospect?
We all need to prospect. If you work out how many deals you win (your win rate) and then work back from there how many proposals you send out, then work back how meetings you need to get for that number of proposals. This will give you an idea at the level of meetings you get.
It feels to me that people "out there" are getting more and more desperate and this needn't be the case.
But Tim We Need Results Quick
I totally get that you need results quick and anybody that says "social selling takes a long time" does not know what they are talking about.
I was on the phone today with a new consultant for one of our resellers and he said "at my last company we were told to work Linkedin and if we didn't see results in 6 weeks we had to move onto another vertical".
Looking at the company he worked profile it is very clear there is no methodology. The company and the people all looked the same as everybody else on social media. The sales people look like ...... just another bunch of salespeople. The message was "buy my product because we are great" which is the same as everybody else. Guess what? They got little or no traction on social.
So what do I mean by a "strategic" approach to social and what do I mean by a "methodology"?
Selling on Social Case Study
This is Eric, he's one of the team at DLA Ignite and he got 6 C-Level meetings from this post. The post took him 10 minutes too create. He does have posts that have got a better response, the one about Led Zeppelin for example.
This usually shocks people.
How can a post about Eric's 16 year old son get 18,000 views and 165 likes?
But better still, how can a post like this get 6 - C-Level meetings?
Because, all of Eric's post are strategic. He knows exactly why he is posting it and knows how to monetise it.
A Quick Look at Our Content Pyramid
Based on our research, we have created this pyramid of content. Advertising is of course at the bottom, with humanised content at the top.
How As a Sales Person Do I get 6 C-Level Meetings From Post a Piece Of Content?
1. First you need a great profile. Think about the needs of your audience and work back from there. Your prospects and clients do not need the world's best salesperson they need somebody to help them. Your Linkedin profile is your shop window and should show case you 24 hours a day. The days that Linkedin was a CV have long gone.
2. You need a network (not contacts). The average person on Linkedin has 903 contacts and they will be x colleagues and recruitment consultants. You need to be connected to the people you want to influence. Your prospects, your target accounts, your customers, the people influential in your markets. Remember that in B2B the trick is to be memorable.
3. Finally you need content. When somebody comes to your Linkedin profile, you need content to show people what you stand for. That does not mean you need humanised content all the time. You need to have content that educates that provides insight, tell me something I don't know!
That said, humanised content will get you the most engagement and it is that engagement that having a methodology will enable you to monetize that engagement.
This is how Eric got 6 x C-Level meetings from that post ..... that only took him 10 minutes to create.
Anybody sales guru that tells you "social selling is posting and hoping" don't know what they are talking about.
We Do This Already Tim, Our Sales VP Posts a Piece of Content and Their Directs Like The Post
This is where you are going wrong.
Posting is hoping, isn't going to work, it is just a "random act of social" you have to understand strategically, why you are posting and have a methodology to follow up the engagement, to turn it into meetings.
As I mentioned above, the average person on Linkedin has 903 contacts and they will be x colleagues and recruitment consultants. You need to be connected to the people you want to influence. Your prospects, your target accounts, your customers, the people influential in your markets.
You Need a Strategic Approach to Social
Everything you do on social, needs a strategic approach.
Your profile, is a shop window to the world. When you approach people or get approached do you look the person that has an affinity with your clients? Your Linkedin profile needs to work hard for you.
You need to be connected to the people and accounts you want to influence.
You need to be able to create content that is relevant and resonants with your clients. But Tim, this all sounds very scary, surely if we just make one more call and send more emails it will work out? I'm sorry to say, it won't.
This is Scary!
For many people this means change and nobody likes change. It's comfortable doing what we have always done. We understand that and we know when we get up in the morning, what we are going to do. A Sales Leader recently said to me "I still do what I did 20 years ago, it worked then and it works now." But does it?
20 years ago I had a Sony Walkman, a VCR and a fax machine, but times have changed.
But not understanding social media is fine, in fact you are the same as everybody else.
Also not understanding the business opportunity and not understanding what you need to do is also totally understandable and similar to everybody else in business.
This is what's it's like to be in business in a Covid world in 2020.
The Barrier To Change
But being scared of the unknown is your barrier to change.
This venn diagram often does the rounds on social media and it is very true. Our fears are the thing that often holds us back.
I'm in the process of getting fit and losing weight. This is a simple task, I have to go running three times a week. You know that, I know that. But it isn't the going running that is the issue, it's the getting up and going is the problem. The same with selling virtually in the new world. It's not what you know, it's what you do!
How many times in life have you thought "if only I had done x".
You Are Not Alone
All companies are going through this right now, it's scary times, CEO after CEO are saying to us right now "I know that we need to change, but I don't know what to, or how we do it". I totally get that, CEOs are also saying to us "we came into this Pandemic analogue and we have to come out digital".
We Are Here To Work With You
First thing that surprises most people is that we have been doing this for 4 years.
There's been no pivot, we haven't just started doing this. This helps you, not just the fact that we have "been there and done it" but we have data to back up our methodology.
Which comes to our methodology, that takes the thinking out of being social.
(Steve Job used to where the same outfit every day as it meant he didn't have to think about what he had to wear and he could focus his thoughts on other things).
You do "this", you do "this" and you will get results. Nothing to be scared about. We also run coaching one to ones during the program, which means that everybody learns at their own pace. Learning in a safe environment, with people that have done this many times.
Think of it as us working with you.
Everytime we run this program, we get 30% increase in revenue and a 40% reduction in the sales cycle.
There are also some softer benefits, you and your team get a new life skill and as a leader you are providing the business with a digital legacy. Supporting the transformation to digital for the business.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Just give me, or one of the DLA Ignite team and hour of your time and we can walk you through what we are doing for other companies. No hard sell, just take you through what other companies are doing to transform.
The tide has turned: digital self-service and remote rep interactions are likely to be the dominant elements of the B2B go-to-market model going forward, when selling to both SMBs and large enterprises Don’t count on returning to a pre-COVID-19 level of in-person sales coverage, as only 20–30% of B2B buyers want to ever interact with reps in person even in their ideal/post-COVID-19 model Around 90% of B2B decision makers expect the remote and digital model to stick around for the long run, and 3 in 4 believe the new model is as effective or more so than before COVID-19 (for both existing customers and prospects) 97% of B2B buyers claim they will make a purchase in an end-to-end, digital self-serve model, with the vast majority very comfortable spending $50K or more online