This blog provides a summary of some recent research from Linkedin, you can download the report here, or read my summary below.

The World HAS Changed

I had to smile today, way back in 2017, before the pandemic and a year before GDPR was implemented here in Europe.  A "sales trainer", let's call them that, lambasted me.  I said you didn't need to close people anymore and they said I was wrong  sales was all about grabbing hold of a prospect, getting your teeth into them (his metaphor) and not letting go.

He's just posted on Linkedin "the best way to sell, is not to sell".

Even the hard nosed salespeople, must have realised that banging your head against a wall, because of some old domatic way, or because it says so in a sales book, does not get you success.  The world has changed, the internet, social media and Covid19 have all been factors in this.

We all hate being sold to, we all know that we push sales people away from us.  So why do we go from civilian life hating being sold to and get back to our desks and start doing to others, which we hate ourselves?  It would seem that LinkedIn is listening and supports this.

What About This Research From Linkedin?

I mentioned this to a client today, "on Linkedin, you are just another salesperson".  The same if you are cold calling, cold emailing or even "warm" calling or "warm" emaling." and it's true.  

As with any person who connects or pitches to you over Linkedin "why would I believe anything you say?"  Let's get into this report.

The Linkedin report states ...

"90% of C-Suite executive don’t respond to impersonal B2B sales, while 60% of salespeople expect a decrease in sales this year. This means it's never been so important for sellers to put themselves in the buyer's shoes to understand their evolving needs, and develop a partnership based on trust."

Pre-Covid, it didn't seem to matter, everybody seemed to make their number.  But social media and Covid 19 have transformated sales, it's transformed how people buy ...... which means we have to transform how we sell. 

(I will explain how you can get C-Level meetings using social, further down the blog).

Let's Think About The World Today

Here in the UK (United Kingdom) we have entered into out third lock down and while there is a vaccine being rolled out, by the time this has been rolled out to everybody, then it will be autumn.  The UK Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty has already announced that there will likely be lockdowns in Autumn 2021.

This is not about being alarmist, but as business leaders, we need to take the facts related to us and use them to prepare our businesses.  Now is the time to start being digital. 

So what do Linkedin say?

"We’re now more than six months into the reality of living in and doing business in a virtual world. As each of us—sales professionals and our customers alike—has reevaluated and reinvented how we do our work.

Virtual selling is here to stay. According to a LinkedIn survey of over 500 sales professionals, 80% said they have somewhat or completely shifted to virtual selling due to COVID-19. 

Of those respondents who said they shifted to virtual selling, 57% believe the new virtual selling model is better than their previous traditional selling approach, and 46% expect to continue selling virtually beyond 12 months.

Designing a sales model that embraces this reality isn’t just a ‘nice to have’—it’s imperative. The companies that act now can realize a significant competitive advantage, those who don’t face up to this reality run the very real risk of being left behind.

This moment calls for a new model of sales. One that treats buyers like the modern consumers they are, and equips sellers to be the trusted advisors they can be. 

At LinkedIn, we’re calling this model Buyer First selling."

But Tim We Are Doing This Already!

Not according to LinkedIn "Sellers believe they’re putting buyers first, but that’s not how buyers feel. They just want someone to listen to them, but sales managers aren’t even hiring for this skill."

Buyers are thinking "why would I believe anything you say?" ..... you are just another salesperson on Linkedin.  We know what happens is you let salespeople close to you and what do they do?  They ruin everything by pitching, using templates, etc.

That's why "90% of C-suite executives don’t respond to impersonal B2B sales, choosing instead to engage more selectively with those they trust".  In this blog, I'm going to show you how to get C-Level meetings with social.

The buyer is empowered, we have access to mobile phones, we have access to an infinite amount of data and content.  You approach a salesperson and they can contact the competition, just a click away.  But Tim, we have email ....

The Death of Email Marketing 

Switching to a recent Hubspot report.

Email is the weapon of choice for the analogue company trying to be digital and email is not the place to maintain trust.  Push marketing has no place in the digital world and we can see this here.

The graphs show that there is trouble in email marketing world, the volume has gone up, but the open rate has stagnated and in fact dropped.  This should not surprise anyof us, email marketing was invented in 1990, 30 years ago.  We don't use faxes, Sony walkmans and VCRs, so why would we use email marketing? 

Yamini Rangan, from Hubspot says "we are inundated with email, especially busy executives and we are overwhelmed.  So how do you cut through this, that is where the key is?" 

The answer is very simple.  Get on social.

You must empower your sales people on social people, get them to have buyer centric profiles, get them to build networks in the accounts they want to influence, get them creating content.

The last thing you need to do is send more and more emails and fight push marketing with push marketing.  It's like putting out a fire with gasoline.  There is nothing worse than pumping out more emails, but there is, pumping out more emails with video.  Video messaging is not personalisation, it's just more crap us busy executives have to delete. 

It's interesting to hear Kipp CMO from Hubspot says that Hubspot are "sending less email."  Hubspot being a vender that sell email marketing systems.  It is also interesting to hear him say "the better you are at segmentation, that better you will have audience message relivancy".

Of course, if you have empowered your sales team to be on social, to have grown their networks and connected to the people, buyers, customers, industry influencers, then you have have the ultimate in segmentation.  You have one to one relationships and direct message relevance as the salespeople will be "known, liked and trusted" by their networks. 

B2B Buyers Hate The Tactics From Sellers and Marketers

Recent research from TrustRadius from September 2020 states

"When asked what their marketing pet peeves were, buyers’ number one and two responses were marketing emails and sales cold calls. While this isn’t exactly surprising (who loves cold calls?), it highlights the growing disconnect between tech marketers and their buyers."

"Digging deeper, we asked buyers how likely they would be to respond to these tactics. Unsurprisingly, over 90% of buyers say they are “not likely at all”  to respond to non-personalized messages and cold calls."

This is pretty damning indictment on current sales and marketing

95% of people ignore emails

93 % of people ignore cold calls

90% of people ignore chatbots

81% of people ignore targeted ads

57% of people ignore notices about online events

In fact all of the research that comes out before the pandemic, and came out during lock down said the same.

Mckinsey say so, Gartner say so, Hootsuite and We Are Social say so, Hubspot say so, Google say so, MIT say so, Trustradius say so Twilio say so .... 

How To Crush Your Target Without Selling

People hate being sold to, so what is a salesperson to do?  We have targets? and in the current climate there is less business around.

Spend some time doing this, you will reap the rewards, guaranteed. 

1. First you need a great Linkedin 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.

Don't forget, people don't like being sold to, so this isn't about your company or your products, that pushes people away. 

Check out these examples

Eric Doyle

Vanessa Gartell

Sam Oxley

Adam Gray

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.

There are many reasons for this, but one is that 1 to 1 relationships, phone calls for example, don't scale.

Let me get mathematical for a second

What do I mean?  If I phone you, then I spend twenty minutes getting my message across.  I have some 20,000 contacts on Linkedin, I will spend 20 minutes creating this blog and 20,000 people can see it.  There is also the possibility that 20,000 (my network) and 903 (my networks network) so 20,000 x 903 = 20 million people could see this blog. That's a more efficient and effective way of spending your time.  That's what I mean by scale.

3. Finally you need content.  When somebody comes to your Linkedin profile, you need content to show people what you stand for.   Please don't share boring corporate content, nobody is interested.  Also let's not forget that "people buy people" so why not share humanised content about yourself, here is an example. 

How Do I Create Content As A Salesperson, To Get C-Level Meetings?

This is Eric, he's one of the team at DLA Ignite the post took him 10 minutes to create. 

You will see a lot of content like this on Linkedin, there is nothing new in this.  Accept, Eric posts strategically.  Eric got 6 C-Level meetings off the back of this post.

He knows why he is posting something, better still he has the DLA Ignite social selling methodology behind it that enables him to strategically get meetings off the back of it.

Next time you see people post on Linkedin, (your marketing department, your sales VP, your colleagues) ask them how many C-Level meetings they get off the back of it?

There you have it, how to get so many C-Level meetings your biggest issue is how are you going to fit them all in.

Just think about if you scaled this across your sales team, the difference that would make across your pipeline? 

For Many Sales People This Means Change and Change 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.

Steve Jobs used to wear the same outfit every day, because it was one less thing to think about.

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.

Breaking The Barriers to Change and Crushing Your Number

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.

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".

But how?

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. 

Let's not forget, this is how we sell as a business.  We have never spent one single $ on advertising, email marketing or cold calling.  You don't need to and still you can crush your number.

Which comes to our methodology, (similar to Steve Jobs clothing) that takes the thinking out of being social.  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.

The Payoff

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.

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.