Social selling is top of mind for most businesses today, we have all read articles about social selling and the transformation taking place in the buying process. But what should you do about getting social and digital skills into your business? How can you make sure you are not ripped off.
We get a lot of people telling us about the competition, one company told us "we did this LinkedIn training and it was rubbish" another said "we did remote selling training and it was rubbish" so we know there are a lot of people out there who willing to exploit people's ignorance. One of the issues is that there is no quality control the barrier to entry is zero, anybody can set themselves up as a social selling expert, so how can you dodge being ripped off?
Social is strategic
Typically, social is seen as part of digital marketing, where somebody posts something every two weeks, or a sales leader posts something and an email goes around asking everybody to like it. These days have gone.
Social is a boardroom issue and a business need a social media directive from the board. This then drives its use out across the business from a strategic prospective. The Board then get a report as part of the normal monthly management pack which details the amount of revenue and profit associated with social media.
Build or buy
There is no reason today that anybody is building social selling programs. Like nobody writes their own apps for their phones, you go to an expert and use their app. The same with social selling. Social selling needs to be a methodology that intertwines with any other sales methodology you might use.
LinkedIn training Vs Social Selling training
There are thousands of LinkedIn trainers out there who will teach you to use LinkedIn as a tool, but does this really teach you what you need to know about being social?
After all "A fool with a tool is still a fool"
"Get rich quick" social selling programs
We have all seen those "get rich quick" social selling programs on social media. There was German company that offered to make all its students millionaires in six months with their social selling program. They sunk without a trace.
Like anything in life, if it seems "to good to be true," it's probably too good to be true!
Checking out a social selling company
When you do your initial review of a social selling company, critical is, do they social sell themselves? If a company doesn't social sell, then they are highly unlikely going to help you!
Never buy from a social selling company that emails you or cold calls you. If a social selling companies methodology works, then they will use it. It stands to reason.
The next thing to check out the social selling companies social media profiles. You're not going to hire a company that has a crap social media presence, surly?
If they have a website and there are testimonials, then look the testimonials up on social media. We just won some business against another social selling company and we were told that the testimonials this other company had on the website the people had "dull profiles that rarely post". Putting in this extra time will help you and your business in the long run.
Do they have buyer centric profiles, buyer centric headlines and summaries? Your team are buying into best practice, if your trainers and coaches are not leading your team won't follow.
Are they posting their own authentic content on a daily basis?
Are they innovating with social, for example using LinkedIn Live, video, live streaming? After all, they need to be able to support you as your own skills grow.
Are they seen as leaders in the field of social selling?
Have they written books on social selling?
Can they demonstrate a methodology? If you want to connect revenue and profit you need to have a clear step-by-step process, where you can measure work done with output. Every key stroke needs to be connected to social and profit and revenue.
Can they demonstrate a direct connection with social selling and revenue and profit?
Understandable any social selling training and coaching company must be able to show a connecting between social selling and revenue.
Is there an adult in the room?
Social selling is about learning new skills and unlearning others, business will only be successful at this if there is a clear direction provided by the social selling coaching company.
Now picture this
Tomorrow, you and I are going to meet at the lobby of your target customer.
We walk over to the elevators and I press the button to go up to the relevant floors where we can meet with the people you need to sell to. Now you have never met these people before so i will introduce you. That will mean you will get to meet the people you need to meet in this target customer of yours.
Pick whatever department you want, I will take you there and introduce you.
For example, say you sell accounting systems, ERP systems, then I can take you and introduce you to the people in Finance. Or maybe you sell human resources (HR) software and I take you to meet the HR people. Or maybe you sell CRM, customer experience (CX) and I can take you to meet all the people in marketing and sales.
Now if I walked you into finance, (or any of the other departments) and I started to introduce you to the people there one-by-one. Now, you wouldn't hand everybody a brochure and walk away, would you?
This is your chance to get into the business, meet the people, build relationships. Kinda cool!
Either way you would also want to be remembered. So you might ask them a question about themsleves, maybe you spot that Manchester United mug on their desk, the Nick Saban bobblehead (doll). The photo of their family on their desk, you would start a conversation about them. You might crack a joke. You would start building trust. Maybe you would ask them about the business, be curious about them and the company?
As I walk you around the department, and introduce you to more and more people, you would get to know more and more people and the department would get to know you. In fact the whole department will know you, just think of the competitive advantage you now have.
We haven't needed to talk about product, we are connecting as humans, we are having conversations. We are being social.
Just through this simple way of showing you around and introducing you to people, you are front of mind and your competition is not. This is so powerful!
I've now walked you around the whole department, they know you, you know them. It's time to see the big boss and I take you in and introduce you.
One of the things we do in life is find commonality with each other, because when we do that we start to know, like and trust each other.
You then ask her some of the business related issues you picked these pointers up from her staff you have been talking to.
If it's finance you might ask her about how long it takes to close the month end books, if it's human resources it might be about sourcing internal talent, if it's CRM you might ask about onboarding sales people.
I could go on, but you should get the picture now.
It does not matter if you know nobody in this company, they could even be using a competitive solution. But by the time I've walked you around, they know you, they know you as a human, they are aware that you work for a company and you didn't even need to pitch to them. Now it's time to start moving some of those conversations to commercial interaction.
This is social selling
Now you can stop imagining, what I've described to you is social selling.
This is so powerful, so natural and is the killer blow you need today.
Here at DLA Ignite, teach and coach you, to digitally walk into companies, build influence and trust, across the whole team from the ground floor to the top floor. From your ideal customers, to the stakeholders and the budget holders.
It could be new business, you could be trying to displace a competitor, it could be "landing and expanding" it could be part of an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy.
Either way, using social selling and influence from DLA Ignite is the fastest way to success and we can get you there.
On to the second story.
Now Imagine .....
How about if I said, I can take you to a place where all your prospects hang out, would you go?
I can pick you up in the car tomorrow and you can hang out there, having conversations with them.
When you arrived, what would you do?
Grab a coffee and go up to the first one and start a conversation? Of course you would.
Or would you walk in and say "buy my stuff, because we are great". Of course you wouldn't, as somebody would call security.
That's the difference. Selling on social is ...... social. You have conversations with people.
You don't go up to people and pitch to them as people will call security.
The great thing about social is that there is no "prime selling time (PST)", you can have as many conversations as you want. One of my customers, does his prospecting between putting the kids to bed and when he goes to bed.
It's time to bring your demand generation into the second decade of the 21st century and it's time to "start fishing where the fish are" ...... on social.
The third story is about how you can bring all this together
One of the benefits of getting all you team(s) to social sell is that you as a business will start getting what we call digital dominance. So what on earth is that?
You are at a conference and there are a drinks event that evening where all the people from the conference are invited.
You have a conference call which makes you late for the drinks.
You arrive and everybody is there.
As you look around the room, you realise that the people in the room are your prospects and customers. Which is great news. Each of these prospects and customers are talking to somebody, they have a drink in hand and they are laughing and joking.
The question is this, these prospects and customers, are they talking to people from your business or are they talking to the competition?
If they are talking to your people, that's going to be great and make you feel great, if they are all talking to the competition, you are going to feel a sickness in the stomach.
Now think about this in a digital landscape, LinkedIn, Twitter, all the research shows that your customers are hanging out on digital somewhere. Where these prospects and customers hangout, are they talking to people from your business or a competitor?
It's no different from the drinks event.
This is your challenge and also your opportunity.
Your job is to do this, before the competition does it and owns the space.
Owning your market sector or vertical, is digital dominance.
What is social selling?
Here at DLA Ignite, we define social selling as
"Using your presence and behavior on Social Media to build influence,
make connections, grow relationships and trust, which leads to
conversation and commercial interaction."
It's not witchcraft, it's enabling your salespeople to work from home, (or the office) and create conversations with prospects and customers. Conversations on social media and conversations that convert.
The problem with the name "social selling" is that people think that this is selling on social. All these pitches that you get on social are not social selling, they are spam.
The other thing you need to know about social selling is that this isn't about "putting out some videos" or "putting flowers on your profile" or "going viral". Here at DLA Ignite, engagement is important but we are about driving revenue, EBITDA, for your business using social media. This is about you winning business from the competition and having a competitive advantage.
Social is about having a strategy and there are two key drivers
With anything you do on social there are two questions you need to ask
2. How much revenue / EBITDA am I getting as a business?
Posting and hoping or posting random stuff is not a strategy, in fact I doubt it's driving anything for your business.
So who's social selling?
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"
“Social selling is not an option now it is the way of the world and you either learn and execute it or fear getting left behind”
Kevin Murray who is the Head of Sales at MacArtney Underwater Technology recently posted about his success with social selling here and wrote an article about the transformation that has happened in sales here.
Andrew Ferrier who is the CEO of Display Technology Ltd and in this article it talks about why Display Technology have adopted social selling. His team have also created a social media strategy with help from our partner, Crux.
Their social media mission statement is
“We want to position ourselves as a forward-thinking, knowledgeable team of individuals who are all experts in our own right, therefore, collectively awesome!”
Andrew also says in that post
"Adopting this (social selling) strategy has taken all of us well outside of our comfort zones but the rewards we have seen in a short period of time have created an excitement within the business development team (new term for sales team).
Because of the nature of social media, quite often you can get instant results. Even if that is just a comment left on your post, or a like, or someone taking the time to want to connect with you.
The excitement around the sales team is infectious, it’s no longer a chore to reach out to the market place because the results can be instant and are there, right in front of you."
What sort of results can you expect?
If you check out this video of Chris Mason CEO at Oracle reseller Namos, and DLA Ignite customer, fast forward to 19 minutes 55 seconds. Chris talks about a $2.6 million win from being on social, after completing the DLA Ignite social selling and influence course.
What happened? They buyer was on social media looking for a solution to their problem, spotted one of the Namos salespeople, who had a buyer-centric profile and asked if the salesperson could help them. That turned into a $2.6 million deal.
and they will be more than happy to help.
Go and look at their LinkedIn profiles .... look how they can have digital conversations, create insightful content. This could be your company!
We are the only social selling and influence company in the world to offer a certificate in social selling sponsored by the Institute of Sales Professionals (ISP).
Other articles you might be interested in ....
Articles for the CEO
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Can programmatic social selling sort my pipeline issues?
Articles to support sales people - sales process and sales tips
Can I use prospect sequencing with social selling?
Articles to support channel and third party selling
Articles to support Account Based Marketing / Account Based Selling - ABM - ABS
Articles about Employee advocacy
Articles for Marketing
Our VP of Sales Just got 83 likes on a LinkedIn post, so that means we are social selling? No!