Social Selling

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

Transparent Marketing is Risky Business

This blog post will help you understand how to use customer-centric content marketing to make a quicker sale and build a better relationship with your client.

Customer-Centric Messaging


While wearing see-through clothing is sometimes risqué, doing see-through marketing is always risky.

Clients don’t want to see through messaging that is truly a sales or marketing message—especially when they are initially looking for help. You know, the upper-funnel kind. They want information that will start an authentic conversation to help solve their problem or act on an opportunity.


By clouding up the selling and marketing approach, you are obfuscating the customer’s buying journey and delaying your selling process. So, it’s time to introduce a little clarity into your messaging strategy—delivering the right message at the right time on the right channel.

Three Statistics Supporting Your Customer’s Need For Customer-Centric Content

  • 65 percent of senior executives feel that preparing to make a purchase decision is “hard,” “awful,” “painful,” “frustrating,” and “minefield,” as reported in the Harvard Business Review—indicating less pitching and more up-front education might lessen their pain.  (Source: CEB)
  • 86 percent of B2B decision-makers say proactive, prescriptive approach that guides them through decision making increases the likeliness of purchase ease and decreases the likeliness of purchase regret—suggesting the role of the providing the right content at the right time.
  • A Content Marketing Report (CMI) report shows that 68 percent of tech content marketers say creating content appealing to multiple customer roles is their top challenge. 

So, what’s the answer? Take a look at these ways to sell better with content and messaging.

13 Ways To Win Your Client’s Heart with Transparent and Buyer-centric Marketing Messaging 

Consider the following comparisons the next time you work on your sales and marketing message. Whether you deliver your ideas via email, thought leadership content, or social media, it has to be helpful and authentic. This list will help you determine the most effective approach to provide customer clarity and close the sale with content.

  1. Selling vs. solving 
  2. Advertising vs. advice
  3. Commercials vs. thought leadership
  4. Pitches vs. questions 
  5. “I think” vs. “I know” 
  6. Proposals vs. discovery
  7. Audience vs. community
  8. Always-on messaging vs. one-off sales campaigns
  9. You-centric vs. customer-centric
  10. One-off posts vs. conversations 
  11. Entertaining vs. being smart
  12. Talking to vs. talking with
  13. Listening vs. hearing

Well, it’s about time to strip down your sales and marketing messaging to be a bit more helpful—especially early in their buying journey. Or, you’ll find it’s risky business out there.

I’d love to know how you use content marketing to break through to your clients. So, please comment below or reach out to me at moran.gerry@gmail.com.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

Stop Being Snubbed On The Buyer’s Journey!

If you were a hitchhiker on the B2B highway, would customers pick you up?

Or, would they stick their disapproving and down-turned thumb out?

Many new prospects and consumers might consider you a traditional selling stranger – who will scare, bother and inundate them with unwelcome emails – and an unworthy candidate to help them solve their business challenges.

Today’s sales reps need to be social selling and content marketing experts to help position them as a stop-over  on their customer’s journey.

Hitch A Ride | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

The Social Selling Facts

  • 92% of customers would engage with their sales contacts who are thought leaders on some level (Source: LinkedIn)
  • 86% of clients would engage with a sales rep if they provided insights about their company, industry or category (Source: LinkedIn)
  • 17% of customers would engage with a seller if they reached out cold, indicating that cold calls are like jumping on a  car speeding by! (Source: LinkedIn)Social Selling Thought Leaders | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

These facts suggest the best way for you to hitch a ride with the customer is to be a thought leader who can offer relevant insights. That’s your relationship currency to buy you a ticket  to join them on their buying journey.

3 Ways To Use Social Selling Picked Up On The Buyer’s Journey

1. Look The Part. Like any other scary 1970’s horror film filled with axes and leather masks, no one is going to pick you up unless you sound like you can help them! So, tune up your social media profiles to back up the content marketing and social selling value proposition you are offering.

2. Talk The Talk. Your customers expect to be engaged differently on each social media and content channel. Know how to pass on the right information on the right channel in the right way. Otherwise, you might look like a poser or at least not very authentic. Learn how to retweet, learn how to tweet and learn how us LinkedIn posts to help you build your customer credibility.

3. Be The Gasoline and the Roadmap. Use insights, knowledge and content to help fuel their research process and show them the direction in which they should be driving their buying decision. Use social selling and content marketing skill sets to develop a relationship with your customer. Listening, blogging, regular Twitter and LinkedIn posting and engaging with your customers on their networks will make it easier to jump on the buyer’s ‘ride.’ Increase your personal reputation to help build value to the customer.

Do you have another social selling tip to offer? If so, please share below!

The Big Buyer’s Journey Takeaway

By being consultative and providing relevant information you can become a trusted advisor, and be asked on the next trip before it starts! This way you’ll both have a smooth ride on the buyer’s journey, and you’ll have a successful social selling one, too!

P.S. Your Next Steps! I am the author of MarketingThink.com, a social media and social selling coaching blog. Please sign up for email delivery of my posts and pass this sign-up link to your friends and co-workers, who you think might benefit from reading these ideas.

P.P.S. If you want to get hold of me directly, please send me an email to moran.gerry@gmail.com or contact me directly on MarketingThink.com. I read every email.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

Romance Your Customers Before Asking Them For A Date

Would you agree to go out on a date with someone who you did not know and called you out of the blue?

Of course not! You’d expect a little flirting and romancing first, right? And, you’d want to have an idea who’s asking you out too.

Well, B2B decision makers expect that same flirting and romancing before they agree to a first appointment with you – even if you promise you can save them money, make them money or fix a problem you think they have!

I bet you are are breaking the rules customer courting and losing business to your competitors, who are romanticizing your quota attainment away!

Customer Romance | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

Research Tells You That You Need A Social Selling Strategy

Assuming most initial B2B contacts start with a phone call, email or chance meeting at an event, here’s a handy breakdown of the odds of making a successful contact with your customer.

  • Only 2% of cold calls result in appointments. With only 2% of cold calls resulting in a sales appointment, 98% of your time is wasted; your target audience does not know you who are and will not allocate their precious time to receive your pitch. Spend some time establishing your brand so your customer will take your call and invitation to your first appointment!
  • It takes 8 attempts to make a successful connection (or an appointment.) You can spend those early contacts with phone calls or emails intruding with your pitch, which will likely be met with rejection. Or, you can find a way to make a meaningful connection earlier in the buyer journey to increase your chances of meeting earlier with your contact.
  • 92% of B2B decision makers want their sales reps to be subject matter experts. As food is the key to many a man’s or woman’s heart and attention, so subject matter expertise is the way to a decision maker’s heart – and a place in their office!

What does this research have in common? It supports the need to adopt social selling. Like trying to seal the dating deal with the first call, this B2B research indicates the unlikelihood you will secure they big first appointment on your first call.

With so many touch points challenging your customer’s attention – competitors, communities, and social media – you need to invest the time and creativity to get their attention.

What’s The Social Selling Lesson To Learn?

You should invest more time engaging and ‘flirting’ with customers with knowledge, expertise and content to show you can help them. Some people call this activity social selling. Spend time developing why customers should be interested in you and then how you can help them before you try to sell to them. Use content and social networks to professionally ‘flirt’ and get on their radar.

Oh, let’s be clear about one thing. You still need to ask for the first appointment. However, by you can increase your odds of meeting success by using your subject matter expertise to flirt with your customer. Get on their radar first – with socially delivered content, retweets, comments – and you will have greater success to secure that first meeting!

P.S. Your Next Steps! I am the author of MarketingThink.com, a social media and social selling coaching blog. Please sign up for email delivery of my posts and pass this sign-up link to your friends and co-workers, who you think might benefit from reading these ideas.

P.P.S. If you want to get hold of me directly, please send me an email to moran.gerry@gmail.com. I read every email.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

Social Selling Is More Than A Set Of Tools

You can’t build a house without the right tools. Just because you have the right tools does not mean you can build a house that is sturdy and will inspire people to visit or buy it.

The same goes for social selling. You need the right social media and content tools to succeed, or at least come closer to meeting quota. However, the tools, like LinkedIn Navigator, alone do not equate to building a winning social selling program.

Social Selling Tools | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

You Need 3-part Blueprint To Succeed At Social Selling

Successful sales organizations will benefit from integrating social media into their sales motion if they focus on this 3-part platform.

  • Enablement. How do companies show their sellers to use content and tools to engage with their customers to build a relationship? You cannot automate all activity. So, we need to get everyone to think differently about customer contact. Sales organizations need to teach an end-to-end strategy and activation plan, so sellers know what engagement activity to do at what time. Companies also need to enable their teams to increase LinkedIn, Twitter, watering hole, blogging, and content skills to activate selling strategy with social media.
  • Tools. Giving a construction team a box of saws and access to a 30-minute training to show them how to cut a piece of wood in half is one thing. Working with them to show them how to build a house with that same saw is another. Sales organizations need to find the right tools and scale them across teams to the impact results – continually measuring and monitoring the effectiveness.
  • Content – Company, Curated, Created. At the end of the day, we are all publishers, whether we are a marketer or a sales representative. With customers depending on more content than ever at each part of their buying process, sales reps need leverage the right content at the right time on the right channel. Sales teams need to work with their sellers to show how to curate non-branded content (e.g., passing on a great article from the Wall Street Journal), create their own content (e.g., Tweets, blog posts) or pass on company-created content. Providing the resources

Social, digital and content tools are critical to scaling selling success across the organization. Using the proper roadmap to focus on the destination – like awareness, relationship building, pipeline acceleration – will help inform the best tool set.

5 Ways Tools Help Support A Social Selling Strategy

Companies interested in executing a social selling strategy cannot drive sales without the right tools. They need to make sure they buy the right tools to do the right things!

1. Profiles. Sales professionals need to build their personal brand profiles to show customers, peers and influencers that they have the credibility.

2. Reputation. Sellers need to be able to scale their reputation as thought leaders and solvers with content instead of being ‘shills’ offering nothing but company messaging.

3. Insights. Sale representatives need to listen for sales and opportunity triggers and understand how to use them to start and build relationships.

4. Action Plan. After a sales professional develops an insight based on a sales trigger, they need to act strategically on those triggers.

5. Social Channel Mastery. All sellers need to be able to use social and digital channels expertly to build a relationship and accelerate pipeline.

A Social Selling Tool Strategy Alone Won’t Work

Going into a social selling strategy with a tool-first approach, as opposed to a requirements-based approach, might achieve some early and low-hanging fruit wins. However, this ‘bright-and-shiny-object’ approach is not sustainable. Think about it, after giving everyone a ‘tool’ and some training, then what? Replacing a holistic strategy with an only a tool strategy will fail. Alone, this approach misses the mark – not clearly mapping the tools to strategic sales requirements!

Do you have a favorite tool you have used to help  you reach your sales quota? If so, please share your experience below. Or, contact me directly at MarketingThink.com.

A sales organization needs to articulate clear business requirements to find the right tools for their social selling strategy – and then show how the tools drive measurable business impact. And, once you build a house, there’s lots of ongoing maintenance you will need to do – so keep on learning how to improve your tool skills!

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

5 Content Marketing Plays To Win At Social Selling

Content marketing or social selling success is not as easy as turning on a switch. Using content for sales plays to connect with audiences to drive specific results has proven successful for many marketers and sales organizations.

Content Marketing Play | MarketngThink.com

Having a content action plan or play on your chalkboard will help you move the move the sale forward toward the goal.

5 Ways To Use Content To Become A Better Social Selling Rep

1. Blogging is the 24-7 extension of your brand – helping you articulate your expertise and point of view when the customer wants to hear it!

2. Your customers do not want to be sold. 70% of your customers want their problems solved, so position yourself as a problem solver with great content on LinkedIn, Twitter or blogging so they pick you! 

3. You don’t have to create your own content to connect with your customers. There are five simple ways to source it to connect with them earlier in the buying cycle.

4. Many of your customers are Twitter, so knowing how to send a tweet the right way and not embarrass yourself is a key way to leverage content to help deepen the customer relationship.

5. Before you jump into using content to try to help your selling strategy, map out your plan. This way your social selling activity will have a greater likelihood to succeed.

Do you have a content play that helped you win the sale? If so, please share below. Or, contact me directly at MarketingThink.com, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.contact me directly at MarketingThink.com, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.

To win at social selling, we all need to be delivering the right content to the right audience at the right time on the right channel. Maybe one of these five ideas might help you convince another customer to join your team.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran 9 Comments

Blog More To Sell More.

86% of customers say they would engage with vendors if they provided insights or knowledge about their industry, states LinkedIn. Blogging is an excellent selling strategy and platform to provide these insights.

You are in charge of your personal brand and your sales success. You don’t have to be an expert content marketer. You don’t have to be a social selling savant. You just have to take ownership and find a way to connect with your customer on their terms. You are in charge of your destiny.

You Are In Charge Of Your Sales Destiny

When I was young, my dad told me when I didn’t get picked for the basketball team or didn’t start in a game that I was in charge of my destiny. He said, “You are the only person that can get it done for you.” He was right, when it came to playing basketball. I only ‘got so good’ by relying on after-school practices yet was only going to get so far. Yes, I made the team, but never started a game, which quickly got very old. One day I decided to take charge and not rely solely on my support structure. I practiced more, learned more and differentiated myself. I learned how to shoot with my left hand and dribble behind my back. I took charge of my destiny. I turned my results around – finally starting and then making all-star teams for 9 years straight.

Use Content and Blogging To Differentiate Your Selling Efforts

This same advice and set of results applies to today’s sales organizations and your own efforts. whether or not you use social selling techniques. You need to do what it takes to get it done. And, blogging is one key tool to help your personal strategy.

Hubspot states that B2B companies who blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not blog. This statistic alone should motivate sales teams to take control of their lead development strategy by introducing blogging. They also state that 82% see a positive return on blogging efforts.

Blogging Drives ROI | marketingthink.com | @gerrymoran

Can you imagine walking into a sales appointment or bumping into a client at a trade show and have them reference a great blog post you wrote? A blog post that addresses deeper customer issues and information. A blog post that does not sell.  THIS social selling moment is nirvana … and will lead to a deeper relationship and a greater chance to help frame and close a more lucrative sale.

A Social Selling Guide To Blogging

Where do you find blogging ideas if you are a sales representative? Just look in your email inbox or your most recent customer conversations. TMG Custom Media reports 78% of consumers believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships. A sales representative-generated blog post is a great step toward generating custom content. Consider these five sources of content marketing for your social selling strategy:

1. Questions your clients are asking. Have you been asked the same question again and again by your customers and prospects? For example, “Why is cloud computing important to a non-profit company?” When a question is asked more than three times, it’s time to write a blog post to answer it – backing it up with personal experience and research. This content destination can become your 24-7 relationship builder. TIP: Make a list of the 10 most popular questions you receive from customers and write ten 300-500 word posts to answer them.

2. Questions your clients should be asking. Many customers don’t know what they don’t know. When you can present the questions they should be asking, then you have a consultative approach and are out to help them vs. just sell to them. This approach will hep position you as a solver vs. a seller. Pass on this type of blog content before you meet a client, or follow up for when you leave the appointment. TIP: Make a list of questions that support the benefit statements for the products or services you sell.

“Don’t get me wrong, sharing content is a great thing. When you begin social selling, it’s one of the first things you’ll want to do to stand out,” says Amar Sheth on the Sales for Life blog. “But at some point you must create your own content. The power of your own thoughts on a subject matter are vital to your building a personal brand. In my mind, these two are inseparable.”

3. Current industry research customers should consider. Read your email, review your Feedly feeds, or pull a statistic from the Wall Street Journal and develop 300-word blog post on why this statistic is important to your client or their industry. When you leverage secondary research, you build your credibility through explaining why someone else’s statistics is relevant to your customer. TIP: A 300-word post takes no more effort than a well-crafted email.

4. Current trends in the industry or category. Current trends are always a great conversation starter, and many times customer are not paying attention to them or keeping up with them. Take the time to understand the current trends, identified in trade publications or via thought leaders, to map them to the needs of your customers. TIP: Create a Twitter list of thought leaders or trade publications to quickly follow real-time trends.

5. Explaining complex issues in an easy-to-understand way. Explaining a complex issue, like cloud or big data, with a story or an easy-to-understand way is a gift that can keep on giving for you. If you take the complex and make it consumable with a simple blog post, then you can become a go-to resource which will move you into the circle of trust. TIP: Explain your POV to your significant other, your kids or your grandmother to see if THEY understand it. If they do, then write it down.

These five buckets are only a starting point. Do you have other content sources you have used for your social selling strategy? If so, please share below. Or, reach out to me on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+. You can also contact me on MarketingThink.com.

Writing content mapped to each of these buckets not only helps you help the customer but also trains you to be a master of your craft. Working on clearly articulating your POV and expertise will elevate you to a social selling winners circle. Take control of your own destiny and be an all-star on your sales team.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran 5 Comments

Are You Smarketing or Smelling?

Great organizations’ sales and marketing teams converge to create a strategy, an approach, a culture called smarketing. The ones who do not do it so well are, well, are smelling.

And your Modern-Marketer customers don’t like smelling, This convergence is a natural evolution led by a better-informed and more-empowered customer.

Smarketing

Smarketing by Kenny Madden

 

Johann Wrede, a customer engagement specialist for SAP states, “Customers have less tolerance than ever for content-free interactions, and sellers are struggling to connect early enough in the buying journey to exert influence on the decision. To adapt, marketers and sellers need to assess and remix their skills, regardless of the organizational silo they happen to be in, rather than wait for organizational boundaries to change.” So, the customer and content is king.

Are you a smarketer or a smeller?

Why Smarketing Makes Sense

While there is no specific scorecard to discern the smarketers from the smellers, there is solid research to support the integration of sales and marketing strategy, content and activation makes sense.

  • Smarketing Drives Growth. Aberdeen research indicates companies who ‘get’ sales and marketing integration grow 20% faster than those who don’t. Smart marketers, right? No, smarketers!
  • Content Smarketing Generates Leads. HubSpot research suggests blogging companies generate 55% more leads than non-blogging companies.
  • Smarketing Gets Sales Reps Involved With The Buying Cycle Earlier. SiriusDecicions findings show 70% of the buying journey is completed before the buyer is recognized as a prospect and in the CRM ‘books’ by the selling organization.The key inference is that there is less chance to frame the sales opportunities and more chance to complete an RFP.

7 Guiding Principles For Smarketing Success

1. Move from silos to outcome-based activity. Day-to-day reality in many organizations manifests in managing daily call reports, creating marketing content for social media channels and communities, and closing sales for the quarter. Quarter after quarter this set of sales and marketing activities is a ‘wash, rinse, repeat’ cycle.” Rhonda Holloway, Founder and Senior Partner of Six20 Partners has a holistic solution to this chasm. Holloway states, “Sales and Marketing should be SMARKETING for the greater good, but the two roles are vastly different. Perhaps B2B companies should institute 3 month job rotations between Sales & Marketing. After the rotation, the salesperson should have a better understanding of how to partner with Marketing and better use the great content and Marketing should have a better understanding of the material that really makes a difference in the field. Both jobs are hard and I think the problem is we both think the other is easy – hence the chasm.”

2. Manage The Sales and Marketing Convergence. Corporate silos and fiefdoms (remember, the customers are in charge of the kingdom) need a strategic group or individual to bridge the gap and broker the convergence. This person is a Smarketing Director. Although I’ve not seen this official ‘Smarketing Director’ moniker, it is present in evolving smarketing organizations. They are the ones taking the leadership role by laying the foundation. They are bridging the gap between sales and marketing. Most start with a single project, like social selling awareness program or provide structured LinkedIn tune-ups to the sales and marketing departments.

3. A Sales, Marketing or Smarketing Playbook Drives Quicker Adoption. Sometimes the quickest way to drive adoption is to bake the ingredients into an established recipe, to make it new and improved! The fastest way to drive smarketing adoption is to co-opt native behavior and not to ask someone to do something completely different. Just integrate it into a smarketing play.

onvergence Of Sales and Marketing

4. Measure Smarketing Success To Monetize It. It is likely no smarketing KPIs exist for any organization. However, revenue, quota and efficiency are common KPIs. Getting out of bed isn’t a KPI either. However, you need to get out of bed and you need to use smarketing to reach revenue, quota and efficiency goals. Ultimately, success is measured and monetized by accelerated sales pipeline and fewer resources required to do the job. Heidi Schwande, Chief Digital Office For WSI World adds “Getting sales and marketing to see themselves as allies instead of rivals improves the company’s bottom line.”

5. Let Customers Guide You. Martin Weinberg, a Philadelphia-based digital leader states, “From the buyer’s perspective, it truly is one continuous journey, so this type of thinking is long overdue. Separately, it’s too easy for each department to generate activity instead of accomplishment by focusing on short-term metrics. One of the top benefits (of smarketing) would be an opportunity for more effective messaging by pre-handling real objections salespeople encounter within marketing communications. Now that most communication is digital, it’s more cost-effective than ever to take this approach, though the opportunity is often overlooked.” Kenny Madden, a Market Developer for Spiceworks, underlines the need for smarketing with the buyer, “You have to get through the 1st 50% of the sales cycle to get to the last 50%.” I’d call that “percentage smarketing!”

6. Content Marketing Strategy Is Key To Being A Smarketer. Marcy Hoffman, a Miam-based Independent Consultant who helps start-ups and small businesses who people start the process by looking for information often because they know their problem, but haven’t defined the solution; adding Knowledge/content at the beginning of the process helps identify the content creator as a leader in their industry which serves to reinforce the next stage.

7. Adapt and Adopt or Be Overlooked. Victor Clarke, principle for Clarke, Inc, a marketing services firm, states, “I have sold everything from Xerox copiers in the 80s to the first computers to be installed in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate in the 90s to marketing services currently. Sales has been turned upside down in the last 5 years with smarketing. SPIN selling is dead and sales folks either adapt or they are gone.” Mike Ausloos, Head of Business Development for Northern Concrete Construction stated “I don’t know how any system can be effective without operating with SMARKETING. Both are gathering market info & there needs to be collaboration to form the correct content, selling points, etc. seems to be missing a determiner before it.”Barbara Giamanco states in her book, The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, “In the midst of this communication revolution sales must adopt a new approach that incorporates social media. When we overturn the old business practices, what emerges is something called “smarketing.” Sales and Marketing need to work in tandem, as Giamanco notes. However, some forced ‘hard wiring’ likely needs to happen for evolution to effectively occur.

Do you have a smarketing guiding principle or point to share? If so, please comment below. Or reach out to me directly at MarketingThink.com, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+.

Combining sales and marketing to achieve company goals is key. If you do it right, then you are a smarketer. If you don’t do it right then you are a smeller. Which one are you? A smarketer, or a smeller?

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran 4 Comments

Content Is The Key To Open The Door To Social Selling Success

Content marketing is the key to open the door to your social selling success. And, to walk through that door, you need slide content through the customer’s ‘mail slot’ to make a connection, build a relationship and help close the deal.

Yes, helping to frame the business opportunity and presenting features and benefits are essential. However, we do all of that with content. Successful sellers are writers and publishers!

Content Marketing Is Key To Social Selling Success

MarketingThink.com Whiteboarding Session: Content Is The Key To Open The Door To The Making The Sale And Exceeding Quota.

Don’t See The Connection Between Content Marketing and Social Selling?

Don’t you see the content and selling connection? Well, your customers recognize the importance of great content to help them make a purchase decision. The best social selling teams and representatives are journalists and curators; delivering the right content to the right customer on the right channel at the right time of the sales cycle. Research shows customers’ native behavior includes searching, consuming content and self-educating. They certainly are NOT going through their summer reading list when they are online; they are busy working. Many are self-educating early in the sales cycle.

  • Forrester research shows 90% of customers start their purchase with a search engine. Are they finding you? Provide the type of content to get you found early in the buying process on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Search. This is the secret sauce to beat and differentiate yourself from the competition.
  • 46% of buyers consume content weekly. And, 37% spend time daily to get a better understanding of the application technology to business problems, reports ITSMA/CFO. Another research-report indicates buyers consume no less than 3-4 pieces of content to help them make their sales decision. You can be a part in providing that content.
  • 45% of buyers require person-to-person contact in the buying process, reports ITSMA/CFO. And, what are customers looking for with this person-to-person contact? Expertise, which can take the form of content via a Twitter or LinkedIn relationship!

3 Ways To Source Content For Your Social Selling Strategy

Not all content is created equal and all content does not have to be built from scratch. Many conversations I’ve had with the thousands of sales representatives I have trained, center around where to find great content. Ultimately, it’s a sales executive’s job to pick the right content for the right conversation. They have to choose from where to source information over the course of a customer relationship or sales cycle.

 

Sourcing Your Content | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

Customers are looking for different types of content at each stage of the buying journey. So think about where you an integrate yourself.

  • Create Your Own Content. Forrester reports 70% trust content provided by an individual, while 10% trust ads on websites (think about the tweets that point to the registration page). So, it makes sense for sales executives to create their own content. Check out this social-selling problem solver’s cloud blog at Cloud Disruption.
  • Connect With Company-provided Content. Many companies use solutions, like Spredfast and HootSuite, to create and provide ready-made and ready-to-use content for sales executives. It’s up to the seller to modify the content with their own voice or to use as-is. What if all of your company’s reps sent out their tweet or LinkedIn post at the same time? I would not worry too much about that since most individuals have discreet social networks and there is very little duplication, from the customer’s vantage point. It’s easy enough to show how to add one’s own voice.
B2B Content

Customers trust 3rd-party content from their social network and vendor relationships most. Curated content needs to be part of your social selling strategy!

  • Curate From 3rd-party Sources. There is no dearth of content to be curated from third-party sources like the Wall Street Journal. Curate content to provide your customers with 3rd-party support of your sales conversation. Also, they will appreciate you showing them the most important stories to read.

3 Reasons To Use Content To Build Your Social Selling Advantage

  • Differentiate Yourself From The Competition. There are many sellers who find a prospect on LinkedIn and then inundate them with a phone call or email to set an appointment. Imagine the impact of sharing relevant content BEFORE you reach out to customers. How different would THAT be. How differentiated would that approach make you? Get familiar with the channels your customers use and begin to create, curate and connect with them.
Why B2B Decision Makers Search | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

Customers are constantly searching for and consuming content to stay ahead of the curve.

  • Content Is The Cure For The Common Sales Objection. A well-crafted blog post or a curated article passed on from HBR.com to your customer can help thwart the ‘same old objection’ that you hear.
  • Feed The Content Hungry Customer. If you feed your content-hungry customer at each stage of the purchase process, they will be satiated and ask you back for desert and coffee. Remember, they are looking for different content as they self-educate and get closer to the sale, so be ready to serve it up.

Do you have a great social selling experience that includes a personal content marketing strategy? If so, please share it below. Or, please contact me directly at MarketingThink.com,  LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+.

Are you managing your sales strategy with content? Or, are you waiting for an email, call or even a page from your customer to invite you into the sales process? If your answer is yes, then it’s RFP for you. Rest Forever Peacefully (or Request For Proposal). Either way, you are getting involved too late in the sales cycle.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran 2 Comments

The Cure For The Common Cold Call Is Social Selling

Are you coughing up excuses why you missed your sales quota? Are you working at a feverish pace to get through your call list with no luck? Or, are you feeling depressed and alone since your calls and emails go unanswered? If you are experiencing these symptoms which prevent you from making a successful connection with a new sales prospect, then you have a case of the common bad cold call.

No Cold Calling

The Common Cold Call Is An Epidemic Problem

Face it, the impact of the common cold is an epidemic issue in sales organizations, since it costs too much and doesn’t work, as noted in the below statistics!

  • Cold calling does not work 90.9% of the time according to Harvard Business Review
  • Cold calling costs at least 60% more per lead than other methods, like social selling, per HubSpot, The State of Inbound Marketing
  • Less than 2% of cold calls result in a meeting reported by Leap Job

With statistics like this, how can sales leadership not be adopting social-selling techniques as a cure to this malaise of missed opportunities?

Cure The Common Cold Call With A Regimen of Social Selling

1. Look in the mirror to assess and begin work on your personal branding’s curbside appeal. Before you start selling yourself, work on your personal brand’s curbside appeal and tune up your underperforming LinkedIn profile. With 49.5% of profiles incomplete, you can start by getting your profile up to All-star status and then move on to making it be MVP status. Once you have a complete refreshed profile, you will be more findable and you’ll have taken your first step to cure the common cold call.

LinkedIn Profile | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

2. Get your reputation in shape by showing your extended community  you are truly an expert. No one wants to answer a phone call or email from someone who is going to sell them. However, if you have the expert- reputation in your field as someone who can help, then customers will be knocking on YOUR door. Turn your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts into your reputation destination by regularly curating content:

  • Tweet 10 times a day with links to smart and helpful early- and mid-funnel-related content
  • Update your LinkedIn status 3-5 times daily to start by posting links to articles, research graphics, SlideShare presentations, and video paired with a question to facilitate discussion with your network
  • Blog 1-2 times weekly
LinkedIn Update | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

The impact of your LInkedIn updates go far beyond your immediate network. Here is one of my sample LinkedIn updates that went viral and connected with over 2,300 people outside of my network.

Keep your curated content limited to early-funnel conversations (e.g., what is mobility vs. how your company can help solve a mobility problem) to establish your reputation and help you with your common cold calling. 89% of buyers say vendor-provided educational content is acceptable on social networks, says IDG, so using social media to distribute this content to build your reputation is a solid cure to the common cold call.

3. Listen before you prescribe customer advice with content or 1-1 customer interaction. When I began my career in sales selling copiers for Kodak in the 1980’s my mother used to say look 5 times before you contact your customer. Listen to business, contact, industry and category triggers. Use this to tailor your customer pre touches and eventual 1-1 connections. This way you will be more informed, relevant and successful. Set up your social selling and listening command center to get started today!

4. Make smart and efficient pre-touches. I remember my chiropractor touching my back and observing my posture before he started talking about what ailed me. These touches facilitated a more relevant discussion , than if he just jumped right into the assessment with standard questions. Ysing effective social media touches before a 1-1 touch, you will have a greater likelihood to connect with the customer with success – better timing, not intrusive. Here are smart social media pre-touches to get on your prospects radar to turn a cold call into a warm call:

  • Follow your customer on Twitter
  • Retweet, Favorite or Mention your customer in a tweet
  • Place your customer in a public Twitter list like “Retail Thought Leaders”
  • Comment on their blog
  • Contribute to a conversation in a shared LinkedIn Group
  • Like a comment made on a shared contact’s post
  • Pass on links to 3rd-party content via LinkedIn Groups, tweets, daily LinkedIn updates (they likely will see if you share contacts)

5. Ask them a question on Twitter or LinkedIn. It’s OK to ask a relevant question or post a relevant link directly to your contact to make a positive first impression before you have had a phone conversation. For example, send a thoughtful ‘mention or reply’ on Twitter (e.g., @GerryMoran do you see the importance of content growing at your business?) to incite a response. You can similarly connect with a customer via a message sent from a shared LinkedIn group.

6. Link into your contact. After a few pre touches, reach out and get LinkedIn to your contact, using a relevant and contextual invitation. Never send a stock invite directly from LinkedIn and NEVER send it from a mobile device, since you cannot customize your invitation.

7. Use warm referrals to cure the common cold call. Just a cup or warm tea can help cure the common cold, a warm referral can cure the common cold call. When a shared and trusted contact brokers a meeting, you will have an increased chance for success. By increasing the size of your network with past and current coworkers, you can increase the pool from which you can pull to make these warm referrals.

Do you have a personal social selling remedy to the common cold call? If so, then please share it below. Or, reach out to me directly at MarketingThink.com, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+.

There is no quick cure to the common cold call. You need to spend some time working on your social selling health by tuning up your personal brand, increasing your reputation, and establishing your credibility. Byy nurturing your health, you can avoid the common cold call and make more contacts successful warm ones.

PS. What do you do if the health food salesperson knocks on your door with a cold call? Well, you ‘vitamin’ (invite him in). If your common cold call is preventing you from reaching your goals, then take a ‘social selling vitamin’ and start busting your sales-quota!

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran 3 Comments

10 Social Selling Lessons From Gil Gunderson

Duh! I should have used social selling! That quote is close to a Homer Simpson quote, but it is truly inspired by his friend and most unlikely Springfield salesman, Gil Gunderson!

Today’s sales person is being replaced by the self-educating customer using content and input they find on social media networks and via search. Some are becoming as useful as a highway toll collector. Unless, they figure out how to get ahead of the buying journey!

 

Gil Gunderson needs to consider social-selling techniques before he’s going to make quota or written out of the Simpsons’ storyline! Here are ten lessons he would recommend.

10 Social Selling Lessons From Gill Gunderson

  • 82% B2B decision-makers think sales reps are unprepared. Listen for sales triggers, conversation starters and customer connectors with social media to be more prepared and set a better first impression.
  • 50% of identified sales leads are not ready to buy. Make sure you cultivate them with great content with your Twitter feed, LinkedIn updates and Group messages.
  • 49.5% of LinkedIn users have an incomplete profile. Improve your social media profile’s curbside before you try to sell yourself as an expert to your customer.
  • Today’s sales process requires 22% more time than five years ago. Don’t start using social selling on the last day of the quarter to make your sales-quota today!
  • 90% of CEOs do not respond to cold calls or emails. Connect with customers on Twitter, in LinkedIn Groups and on blogs BEFORE you cold-call them; then it won’t be so cold!
  • 75% of customers use social media as part of their buying process. You are not connecting on the customer’s terms if you don’t know how to tweet, ‘LinkIn’ or blog, then learn!
  • 78% of salespeople use social media to outsell their peers. Quit breaking your back and use social to listen for social sales triggers, fine-tune your profile, build your reputation to connect with customers to successfully compete.
  • 89% begin their buying process with a search engine. Make it easier to get found by your customers with social media and content.
  • 57% of the buying process is done online. Use social selling techniques to connect with your customers before they walk in the door.
  • 98% of sales reps with 5000+ LinkedIn connections achieve quota. Start to establish yourself as an expert in your field and increase the size of your network!

Do you have a social selling lesson to share? If so, then please note it below! Or contact me directly at MarketingThink.com or on TwitterLinkedIn or Google+.

I can hear ol’ Gil say to his sales manager as he is trying to avoid receiving the wrath of his sales manager for not attaining quota “C’mon, help ol’ Gil out here.” If Gil only used some social selling techniques, then he’d be on top of the world, or at least Springfield.

 

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