Here is some interesting research from LinkedIn.
In terms of the sample, they surveyed more than 400 buyers and 400 sellers in the United States and Canada.
It opens with this nice quote:
The past year has changed sales. A lot. The key question now: How much of this change is permanent?
And the answer is of course "everything".
Virtual selling is now .......selling
It's great to see, finally, that people have realised that virtual selling is how we sell today.
In case you missed it, the Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch have banned cold calling and have moved all their people to social selling. This isn't some trendy tech company that might have decided to do this on a whim, this is a very conservative financial services company that has made a decision based on data.
But surely cold calling has a better ROI than social selling? Not according to Merrill Lynch.
"They will also be encouraged to contact prospects over LinkedIn, which has a higher hit rate than cold calling"
To go back to the LinkedIn report
"During the pandemic, virtual selling essentially became selling. It was the only way to reach prospects. Buyers don’t seem to mind this new reality. In fact, our survey found that 50% of buyers say that working remotely has made the purchasing process easier."
But companies are stopping their sales people going where their customers are
We know that the world is virtual, we know that the buyer is digital, we know that businesses like Merrill Lynch have transformed to social selling, so why are leaders telling their sales team to make more calls and send more emails?
These sales behaviours are killing deals and killing your pipeline. There is a saying
Sales orgs and sales managers must adjust — now — to a remote working world.
Back to the LinkedIn report they say
"A significant majority (86%) of sales managers agree that the capability to cope with change is more important than it was five years ago. In the previous edition of the State of Sales, just 70% of sales managers agreed that coping with change was more important than five years ago.
Change is coming at sales professionals faster every day, and one change that is likely to stay with us is the rise of remote work, a situation that sales managers are finding difficult, with two-thirds (67%) of them saying that overseeing a remote sales team is more challenging than they anticipated."
Social provides the key pathway to building trust
To quote the LinkedIn report, but in fact they are wrong.
"Historically, sales professionals have built trust with prospects by meeting face to face. The pandemic blocked that pathway, so salespeople turned to sales technology. Tools such as Gong or Chorus enable sales professionals to analyze transcripts of sales calls to understand the typical customer’s state of mind and to anticipate their objections."
But we know that the old ways of selling such as cold calling (telemarketing) and email marketing are broken. We also know that products such as Gong or Chrous are just a sticking plaster over these broken processes. We are also seeing more of these initiatives failing, why? Because the process is broken.
The most efficient and effective way to build trust between buyers and sellers is through social we know this, our clients know this and Merrill Lynch know this. The LinkedIn report states
"Since the start of the pandemic, sellers, who can no longer prospect at in-person conferences and events, are boosting their reliance on LinkedIn. Almost three-quarters (74%) of sellers say they committed to expanding their LinkedIn network in 2021."
Stop wasting your time on social
We see so many businesses wasting their time on social with random acts of social. While you can be on LinkedIn are you using your time wisely.
We see sales leaders will post something every two weeks and an email goes out asking the team to support the post. Or marketing will post corporate content. We often hear companies saying "we are on social".
Leaders of modern organisations know exactly how much of their business in terms of revenue, profit, EBITDA they are getting from social and modern organisations will be getting at least 50%of their business though social.
Every key stoke on social you should be able to connect with your revenue and profit. Being "on social" isn't enough today.
We teach our clients how to be digitally dominant.
How you can totally shut out your analogue competition on social and win the lion's share of the business, now that would give your pipeline and number achievement a boost in today's hard environment.
How can you tie all the effort you make on social directly to booked business. Social isn't a game, it's your strategic way you will over achieve your number in this digital world.
Some 65% of salespeople surveyed say they always put the buyer first. However, only 23% of buyers say sellers always put the buyer first. Buyers say the top things salespeople can do to be "buyer first" are to be completely transparent about pricing (82% cite it as an "important" or "very important" behavior), stay actively engaged after the sale to ensure value delivery (82%), and offer product tests/trainings/trials (76%).