This affects all of us…

“In a recent Forrester survey, 62% of B2B buyers said they can now develop selection criteria or finalize a vendor list solely on the basis of digital content. Even the best sales reps cannot win a deal they aren’t aware of…”.

We often see headlines like this and glaze over them. If you are in Sales, Marketing, Business Development or in any way associated with growth in your business, it’s time to stop, delve deeper and take stock.

The Digital transformation is real and it’s right here on our doorsteps...

A recent article stopped me in my tracks, I think it’s one of the most important pieces business literature out there, it’s from Gartner and they tell us:

"Over the next five years, an even greater rise in digital interactions between buyers and suppliers will break traditional sales models".

Break traditional Sales models…

The ‘Gartner Future of Sales 2025’ report predicts “by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels”.

If you sell your products and services to other businesses, you are included…this is not written for someone else or another sector, it’s for you!

Stop and think....

80% of all business-to-business transactions by 2025 being done in digital channels. 

Imagine pure digital buying of your products and services, if it’s too difficult or complex to visualise it means you haven’t started thinking about adapting to the situation…

Lets take a loot at some of the jewels in this report in more detail:

“Chief Sales Officers (CSOs) and other senior sales leaders must accept that buying preferences have permanently changed and, as a result, so too will the role of sellers".

"Sales organizations must be able to sell to customers everywhere the customer expects to engage, interact and transact with suppliers".

Chief Sales Officers and Senior Sales Leaders must accept that buying preferences have permanently changed. This is a loud alarm call not just a sound bite in an article…

Gartner defines the future of sales as the permanent transformation of organisations’ sales strategies, processes, and allocation of resources, moving from a seller-centric to a buyer-centric orientation and shifting from analogue sales processes first-engagement with customers."

"Gartner research shows buyers typically only spend 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers when considering a purchase. With less and less customer face time, virtual selling via digital channels will predominate."

"B2B sales reps need to embrace ... a new manner of engaging customers, matching their sales activity to their customers’ buying practices and information-collecting needs."

This means the change is here, its going on right now.

This means you, me, and everyone out there in the b2b space needs to be remapping all that we do to adjust to digital selling. This doesn’t mean posting corporate content on LinkedIn…this is a business transformation and needs to be handled carefully.

Some still believe this is a fad or a passing trend. I regularly here from Sales Leaders who tell me they prefer a “blended approach” of ‘traditional and modern ways’…

I’m all for a blending methods and processes that work, I’m not for blending old, outdated, broken methods that don’t work with modern, relevant and results driven methods and processes.  

All that we do has to be based on data – what works and what doesn’t. When we make a Sale, it must be attributed in CRM to the source…that way we can sort out what is working and what is not. This is based on data and results, not gut feel, or romantic attachment to the past. 

old fashioned sales and marketing processes...

How do you to maximise pipeline with Virtual/Digital/Social Selling?

This requires us all to do what we can across the business to be in the pipeline building business, but we can’t look back, we must look forwards. 

Two of the most traditional ways of Marketing before the pandemic were digital advertising and email marketing – both are now in serious trouble.

Digital Advertising

Engagement rates for digital advertising are falling.

1.61% Facebook

1.91% Google

0.35% Programmatic (where adverts 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 advertising every year.  

Let’s hope none of your hard-earned cash is on that pile of waste….

Email Marketing

According to Hubspot the response rate to emails fell to a record low of 2.1% in April 2020. 

So, 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."

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 are trade-offs — the time a team saves by sending out email blasts is wasted if that outreach is not personalized, relevant, and helpful. These gaps are clear in the data."

If your team are sending out more emails and paying for more adverts, you have to ask to see the results (don’t accept the first answer, dig deeper…)

High performing businesses apply deep strategy to Social Media.

Social Media has been used tactically and randomly in the past within businesses. Often it will be in digital marketing, posting a broadcast message like “buy our stuff, it’s better than the other stuff”. 

There may be 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 broken...

Adverting, email marketing and cold calling are based on interruption and broadcast and social is based on permission and relationship. This is 2021 and we are all wiser to what we like and what we don’t and, we know how to stop the things we don’t, like advertising.

We block what we dont like these days....

Your salesforce needs leads and meetings, as it’s only sales that are going to generate you cash in the short and medium term. You need your Sales teams consistently making and building relationships on Social Media. 

Several you will be saying that you already do this – It’s time to put the ego and pride to one side and be honest – this is about saving and securing the business. 

Check out your LinkedIn profile, you’re Marketing and Salespeople’s LinkedIn profiles…. are you truly a Socially Mature organisation that leverages all the business value available to you from Social Media…

• Are you the Digitally Dominant player in your sector?

• Are you using LinkedIn and other platforms to prospect? 

• Does your organisational Social presence and activity create inbound?

• Are you connecting with the right people?

• Is your content working for you or do you post for the sake of it?

• Are you joining conversations with your prospects and doing this at scale?

• Are you using content to move deals through the pipeline and close sales? 

As a leader, have you created a culture where all your people know how to do this as second nature and work together as one?

We know what when we run our Social Selling and Influencer programs the results are repeatable and predictable. 

We also know that whenever we run them, and the methods are adopted, it creates 30% more revenue and reduces the sales cycle by 40%. 

Whether Social Selling & influence delivers results is no longer the issue, the issue is whether organisations have the foresight, the culture and commitment to adapt and achieve Digital Dominance.

You and your team have the power and the ability to change this...

You are not in this alone, we are here to help you and here to work with you.

Live Social ‘21

Eric Doyle 

Crux / DLA Ignite