I was watching the build up to England versus France in the Rugby 6 nations at the weekend, its known as ‘Le Crunch’ for good reason.  I listened to an interview with famous French Flanker, Serge Bestson, who was discussing the talented French Scrum half, Antoine Dupont, and comparing him to England legend Jonny Wilkinson.

“…it’s not about carrying the ball, its about reading the line and tracking the ball to manipulate the defence and score tries. Its so amazing to watch him play, identifying the weakness and the gap to score”.

This made me think about all those brilliant people I’d worked with in Sales, Marketing, Business Development and Senior Leadership roles who didn’t ‘just carry the ball’ they ‘read the line and tracked the ball’.  Those with that level of insight, vision and mental agility that separated them from the average in their field.

These days we need to be thinking about what separates us from the average in our field of business, what gives us our edge allowing us to ‘see those gaps’ for us to score, time and time again?

These days when we are hiring Sales, Marketing, Business Development or P&L responsible leaders, they need to show that they have skills and experience with Social Media.  Not just posting content on LinkedIn…a deep understanding of Strategic Social Media through Social Selling & Influence. There is no point in adding to your more overhead with another person to do more of what is not working...

Chris Fleming is CEO of Cyberhawk, a visual data solutions provider to the Energy Sector, he put out a post recently saying this…

 "If you are leading a company in 2020 you are actually running two companies. The first is the one you will recognise as your day job but the second is a media company.

Covid has accelerated digital interactions and the new ways of engaging because we can’t go and meet our customers or even our employees face to face!

This year Cyberhawk will embrace the digital by showing and telling more, as we intend to recruit two bloggers who can fly drones, edit footage and tell a good story.

Why is this more relevant, even before Covid hit us?

My kids both create TikTok videos, and they can bash out funny, engaging clips in minutes with all the effects.

I see content that companies I actually admire put out on LinkedIn that are just so dull and utterly un-engaging.

I won’t watch it and sure as “ships” my kids won’t, and they are the employees and customers of the future."

Chris hit the spot, Social Media had changed the world and everything about it. 

Your buyers were active on Social Media, even before Covid, this has accelerated. As a business and as leaders, if we know our prospects and customers are on Social, then your Sales, Marketing and BD people need to be where their prospects are…it’s the responsibility of the leadership team to create the environment and culture to support them as Social Sellers and Influencer in your sectors.

The action of Marketing and Selling you products and services had changed dramatically, yet we still hear of Sales, Marketing and Business development professionals be told to “do more of what they did before Covid”. We need to be asking ourselves as leaders if we have done anywhere near enough to adapt to changes in buying motions and given our people the tools, they need to deliver…?

Have we given our people the skills and the ability to have profiles so they can be recognised in this digital world, to be trained how to engage with these prospects and customers?

We hear business leaders say to us all the time "we are all over social", this generally comes from a lack of understanding and an acceptance of what being shown on the screen at board meetings, it must be challenged.

We see job posting after job posting for Sales, Marketing and BD professionals that don’t include reference to Social Selling...given what we know about our world these days and how buying has changed and is changing, this is baffling.

A quick checklist (for new Sales, Marketing and Business Development candidates and your current people):

Check their profile. 

This needs to be buyer centric and digitally optimised, not easy to spot if you don’t now what you are looking for but…is it complete and interesting? Does it look as if they have spent time on it? Does it create a good image, does it feel right?

Check their follower count? 

You won’t be able to check how many connections they have but you can see how many followers the have on their profile in ‘Activity’ section. The average is around 950 these days, you are looking for more than average. Ask them how many connections they have and what they do to grow their network. What percentage of their digital network relates to what you want to be famous for…? If most of their network is in other sectors, you may have an issue.

Check their activity. 

Where do they hang out and interact? What content do they like and comment on and why? Are they actively engaging with others content and is that in any way related to what you do?

Check their content. 

Do they post regular content and what is it? Does their content get engagement, and do they follow up?

Check if they multi-channel. 

Do they take their Social Strategy to other platforms…?

When we assess a candidates Social Maturity for our clients, we go a lot deeper but, this is a quick easy reference you can use.

"We are seeing sales leaders shifting headcount to those salespeople that are digital savvy” Gartner is backing this thought process.

Maria Boulden, Vice President, Executive Partner, Sales at Gartner advises us that we should "Reshape the Selling Motion as well as the Buying Motion. Enjoy the fact that you are at this nexus and help define the next Sales motion...".

To quote Chris Fleming again "I see content that companies I actually admire put out on LinkedIn that are just so dull and utterly un-engaging."  So many organisations have been advised incorrectly. They have been advised that they just need to do what they did before Covid but now do it on Social. Therefore, we see dull corporate adverts, flat brochure content and sales flyers content splattered all over Social Media platforms   

If you are interested in what the future looks like for sales and marketing, today, check out Chris and his colleagues Cyberhawk.

Social Media Maturity

This is no longer a fun last question at interview, it is now a core competency for Sales, Marketing and Business Development professionals today.

We run a digital company; we never had an office. For us, its normal but for many this is new, and we hear people say, "when we all get back into the offices and it all goes back to normal…”. That is a bet, bets require luck, we don’t use luck in our strategies…it’s all about data, facts and results.

Should we bet the business and the livelihood of our employees on hope? 

The buyer wants a seller free experience.

Another point raised by Gartner was that the buyer wants a seller free experience.

This isn't because buyers want to transform to a web self-service, it's because they are tired with Salespeople.

Salespeople have traditionally gone to buyers and "pitched" they had said "buy my product because we are great". But they buyer has moved on; the buyer is bored with all those interruptions. The buyer is empowered. They can make buying decisions without salespeople (in many cases). According to Gartner, "30% of B2B buyers make buying decisions without salespeople"

That figure is going to grow from 30% to 40% to 50% .... 

It's time for Sales, Marketing and Business Development to wise up and rise up.

Sellers need to be smart humans, not product pushers, they need insight, and they need to educate the new buyer. 


What happens when you get it right?

We expect each of the people we train in Social Selling to be able to make (if they do what we say) at least one additional meeting per week (minimum). Let’s assume that 4 of those meetings turn into proposals and you close 1 of those deals. That means you are closing one additional deal per quarter. 

If your average deal size is £100,000, then each salesperson is closing an additional £400,000 per year. A sales team of 10 will create £4 million additional revenue per annum. This isn’t a one off, this is every year.  These numbers are deliberately conservative…

You save money, maximise your exposure in the right areas and see your company transform.

This is not guesswork or a Beta test for us, it’s what we do for large organisations and SMEs around the world and, we have the results data to back it up. 

We’ve already run all the experiments and tests, so you don’t have to – You can go straight to work.

How are you and your team adapting to advanced buying motions and defining your next Sales motion...?

Live Social '21

Eric Doyle

Crux / DLA Ignite