Sales is the nucleus to every business. And sales models these days are undergoing a tidal wave of change. Buzz words like Social Sales, Social Selling or Sales 2.0 reflect the change social media is having on the way people do business. What do CEOs think about Social Sales? My experience tells me they don’t think about it at all. When it comes to sales models, they comfortable with the status quo and their sales teams are selling like it’s 1999. It’s time for change.
There are many in the c-suite who aren’t adapting to Social Selling. I know, I’ve met with them, their objections are many: It’s for teenagers, it’s for celebrities, my buyer (CXO) isn’t there, it’s for B2C, for women, for students, for retail. While some of this is true, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and it’s a BIG iceberg.
- Is it because of the age demographic? The average age of a CEO in 2013 was 55 and perhaps that’s the biggest hurdle to overcome.
- Is it because the c-suite is also risk averse.? They are quick to point out examples of social media gone wrong.
- Perhaps social sales is an ambiguous term and not well defined within their sales and marketing teams. Many are familiar with terms such as tweets, likes, posts and updates but how does that relate to social selling? How it’s used in B2B? What value it can bring?
- Is it time. Who has extra time to learn about it, apply it, manage it and measure it?
- Or, is it just easier to ignore it or believe the myths?
It is with those obstacles in mind that I pose this question: as the CEO or VP of Sales, what is your capacity for change? Are youcomfortable with the status quo? The answer to those questions probably reveal your attitude towards Social Media for #B2B
Sales 2.0 requires change. Change in thinking, in communication, change in approach and behavior, change in the ROI model, change in direction, change in vision, sales philosophy, time management, change in sales training, in company and employee transparency and an overall change in mindset. Change is the obstacle.
Todays technology provides every company the ability to listen, connect and engage your target audience, in real time and provide them value online. Social media s an incredible tool to build your business. First you build the strategy to meet the objective, then define the tactics to execute the strategy and finally apply the tools and applications to measure the effectiveness of your efforts. And voila! Results will follow…if you have the capacity for change.
Social Selling provides access to customers, media, vendors, competitors, referrals, industries, markets, governments, institutions and just about anything else you can think of: AND, it is sustainable and profitable. Not because I say so, because your peers say so. Ask them. CEOs on Twitter. CMOs on Twitter. CIOs on Twitter. CFOs on Twitter. CTOs on Twitter.
I defined Social Media in my book, Taking The Mystery Out of Social Media, as People talking about things they are passionate about and telling their Story:
- People as in customers, entrepreneurs, students, and employees.
- Passion as in a love for their product, service offering, customers, careers, and more. Story as told through text, photos, images, videos, info-graphics, resumes, testimonials, profile pages, bios, blogs, etc. At the heart of social selling is “story”. Story is the best way to communicate a message.
- Story is the best way to connect with your audience emotionally and when that happens, you get them to act. We are wired for story. It’s in our DNA. Good story makes for great business.
Social Selling requires you to tell your story, personally and professionally. It’s a platform to tell the story of your customers’, employees’, your company, your industry, your products and so on. Your story is your brand and Building Your Brand Builds Value For Your Brand.
Many companies have some social presence or activity online. But social selling requires a Strategy. A strategy that’s well thought out, well executed and well measured. Simply doing social media to do it is a waste of time. Finally, social selling requires authenticity and transparency. Let your audience know who you are, what you do and why you do it. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. At first, this can be awkward and uncomfortable. It’s supposed to be. It’s what sets those CEOs who embrace it apart from those who put their head in the sand and ignore it. The audience has to believe that you are real. No spin, no PR, no “buy our product” or “like” our Facebook page because we say so.
What results can Social Sales model deliver? Here are a few examples:
1. Increase sales revenue by increasing the engagement with your target audience in such a way that it will get them to “act”
2. Decrease the cost of acquisition of customers to improve your bottom line and enable you to manage to budget
3. Reduce marketing costs (direct mail, collateral material, trade shows, etc) by cross promoting your product and service offerings via social network engagement
4. Reduce your sales cycle and accelerate company growth
5. Provide an exceptional customer, vendor and employee experience where brand champions are created across the board that results in others telling your company’s story for you. Think Disney, Zappos, Chick-fil-A
6. Gain competitive intelligence that you can leverage to differentiate your product, services and customer experience
7. Hire top tier talent in real time which adds value to your organization, reduces your talent acquisition costs and increases employee satisfaction and retainment.
8. Implement a Social CRM program that tracks account activity, customer engagement, evaluates website traffic and conversions and enables you to measure the effectiveness of your online efforts. What gets measured gets managed.
9. Build YOUR brand and define how you are perceived online. Build a strategy that gets you noticed with your target audience. The only thing better than being impressed when they do business with you is being impressed well before they do business with you. Leverage “Social” to be an effective, interactive business and branding tool
10. Build relationships with the press., i.e. trade journals, industry publications, bloggers and journalists at targeted media outlets
Another way to look at Social Sales is what I call the “The possibilities of 10″
What is a 10% increase in sales worth to your business? What’s a 10% reduction in marketing or customer acquisition costs worth? How would 10 more customers impact your business? With well over 2 billion people on the world wide social web, do you think 10% increase in sales revenue or 10% decrease in marketing costs is possible, probable or a reasonable expectation to have?
Social Selling is an online strategy that continues the conversations you have every day with a target audience. Conversations build relationships, relationships build trust and trust builds your business. You can buy leads, CRM tools, marketing collateral and so on but you can’t buy relationships and that’s the nucleus of a Social Selling model.
Who’s delivering results with a Social Sales model in B2B?
Jill Rowley is changing the game at Oracle. Oracle Sales Professionals Use Personal Social Media Accounts To Sell it’s Products
She’s not alone:
Does your CMO embrace Social Media? David Packard, the iconic co-founder of Hewlett Packard, famously said, “CEOs who leave marketing to the marketing department are not doing themselves, their investors, or their employees any favors”
Josh James, Domer Founder and CEO, wrote a fantastic piece in Forbes Magazine, CEOs Afraid of Going Social Are Doing Shareholders A Massive Disservice.
Are facts our friends? See what CEOs are saying about social engagement in Ekatrina Walter article, Want to Prove Your Company is Human? Get Them To Tweet
From the Wall Street Journal “Some firms are pairing individual leaders with young mentors, while others are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach the entire c-suite how to use social tools .” Hundreds of thousands of dollars? What do those CEOs know that the others don’t? Bosses Learn Not To Be So Clueless.
So, what’s your capacity for change? Are you inclined to adapt or adopt a Social Sales strategy? We’d welcome the opportunity to present to your leadership team if you’d like to learn more about “the why”. We’d also like to interview readers of this blog for an upcoming book on the C-Suite and Social Sales. Please contact email@example.com if you’d be willing to participate and provide your feedback.
At Social Brand U, our passion lies in partnering with CEOs who want to build a productive Social Selling model that transforms strategy into results. Our capacity for change is unlimited, unwavering, profitable and exciting! What’s your capacity for change?Sincerely, Adam M. Karwoski, Ruined For Ordinary Social Brand U, LLC