There is clearly a major shift to “Social Selling” ( yeah we know that):
at the expense of telemarketing and cold calling
This is specially true in the US where people basically don’t answer the phone anymore. ( Nicely highlighted by @ from Hearsay Social)
1- Phone is intrusive, specially for the Millemials. Younger generations rely on text as a primary means of communication and their normal process is to use text or social to schedule a phone appointment.
2- Telemarketers have overused it. They are the only one still calling on land lines and iff they reach a smartphone, there is a high chance they will be blacklisted and blocked in a click. Here is a 2013 stat: “8 attempts to reach a prospect today with a cold call vs. 3.68 in 2007 “(source: TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group).
However when people talk about “social selling”, what they mean by that is replicating the same selling process using social network.
The process they advocate is still:
- one to one
- disruptive. whether it is thru a “cold text message, tweet, linkedin introduction”, or “almost cold introduction” i.e ” you just had a new baby, are you interested in a College savings plan”.
It is better ….but is still missing the point of Social NETWORK.
The point I want to make is that: In Social Selling, Social is the important word but Network is THE critical word, albeit missing.(Tweet) @ecairn
So how do you do “Social Network Selling”:
#1 You (the sales rep) define the target as a group of connected people who share needs and know each other. Think like you will join an association, mingle with a Chamber of Commerce, target Private Schools or Alumni Group. The key is to move from the idea of selling to a LIST of people to selling to a NETWORK of people.
#2 You become expert about the ecosystem that you target and you provide value to the ecosystem. MrX needs something that MrY can help with. Mrs A& Ms B are both organizers of an event that you can sponsor. The goal is to be the go-to person for this subgroup.
#3 You grow your network within this natural network one connection at a time.
#4 From time to time, you sell.
The goal for a Sales Rep is to own this territory and the territory should be as small as needed so that it can be owned and as big as offering opportunity for a profitable business.
For example, there is no way that as a single sales person one can own the wealth management market in New York. But you can own the market of affluent people in NY who invest in art or wineries or who perform specific type of charity investment, or Columbia’s alumni or Entrepreneurs with German origin, or Sports Celebrities or Affluent working in a specific location in Manhattan.
Keep in mind that everyone suffers over-information and is hungry for relevance and value.
The process above: strategy, targeting and focus is the only way you can achieve relevance and value and really build a network in social and sell.
I am amazed by the number of companies coming up with solutions that enable Sales people or Relationship managers “automate social”.
– Some propose to schedule content, or even better to automate the retweet of corporate content.
– Some propose options to delegate the social identity of the sales rep to the marketing department … who will probably use an intern or an offshore team to manage it
– Some propose access to content libraries that the sales rep can use when they have nothing to say.
The arguments behind these value propositions is that “Social Media” takes too much time, that it need to scale and that Sales people should not divest their precious time in social platforms.
Other arguments (in the Financial sector as an example) are regulations (FINRA, SEC) and consultants and vendors frighten relationship managers of the consequences of tweeting the wrong post.
But frankly, these are just excuses not to do the job and yes selling is a tough job. The reality is that:
1- There is no better use of a Sales Rep time than listening and engaging with prospects or clients.
3- These is zero risk in building relations with prospective clients in social, as long as sales rep are cautious to take the “next step (actual selling) one on one offline. It’s not different than in real life. At the moment of truth you need to say “we should meet” and take the next steps private. (btw whether the industry is regulated or not, that is how it should be done).
Let’s tackle the risks of automation, scheduling and “pre-digested content”
Let’s face it. 99% of automation is Spam. And people don’t like Spam. So why would you spam prospects and clients?
In addition, most automation violate the T&C of Social Platforms. Twitter (as an example) is very clear: “generally most automation is detrimental to the user experience and frequently results in blocks and suspensions.”
Also using automation, there is a major risk of posting something irrelevant or out of context.
If you’ve been in sales for some times you know how difficult it is to even transfer a prospect to another sales rep.
Context and history of the relation are very difficult to transfer. Yet many Sales Rep are OK transferring prospects to “automated scripts”, this is crazy.
People buy from REAL people
Scheduling sounds interesting. It usually provides the option to send the same content several times, at different intervals.
But customers are smart. If they have been using social media for some time, they will be quick as spotting the same tweet from a sales rep at different time of the day. They may also have sophisticated listening capabilities.
When they realize it, the indirect message that customer receives is that they are not worth your time and that you will not be there for them when they need you. Not the best way to start a relation.
Best case they will unfriend/unfollow you. Worse, they will share their findings with other potential clients
This is a killer for reputation and trust.
People buy from people who are there when they need them.
This one is more subtle. It plays on people fear of the blank page ;-). People should post regularly, so when they have nothing really exciting to say, they should go get company canned messages and post. Right?
That’s actually a very wrong advise.There are evidence that people don’t engage with Corporate Accounts so why the hell would a real person build a presence in social that mimics a corporation?
It is even worse when someone looks at Company level. What do you think a client/prospect will believe when he/she sees 10’s of sales rep/relationship managers from the same company spreading the same PR-engineered article without a personal note? …
People don’t buy from boring people.
The net is that automating social is a very wrong way to do it. Even worse for companies who are competing with robots (like wealth management / financial advisors…) where the only way to differentiate is the depth of the relation, the strength of the relations and the deep understanding of the client.
So what should sales rep do? Actually, the same thing they have always been good at.
Be themselves, engage in conversations, build their network, bring value to the community they are targeting, solve problems, be fun and entertaining, listen to prospects and clients and above all BE RELEVANT.
Fake it ’til you make it ? Not this time.
Is possible many of you have stumbled into many social media marketing tools that offer to track influencers, audit your brand, do competitive research and share content among other things. Perhaps you have heard of Sysomos, Radian6, Klout and traakr.
Our key differentiation is we group people with common interests that talk and share content around an specific topic. We call them tribes. And we calculate influence within these specific ‘topic’ tribes. Because hey, one mommy blogger can influence million moms in America, but can you tell which blogger is influencing who, where and what content in more appealing to a group of listeners? Also, influence is dynamic. And when you put all mommy bloggers together you can compare apples to apples, and be confident you’re listening to the mommy rock stars at that point in time.
We have helped many American and international corporations with over 30 different use cases, enhancing monitoring their social media strategies. More typical uses involve:
* Downloading influencer lists by vertical
eCairn holds to date close to half a million influencers across 900 different tribes. Search a specific term within the tribes and download only what matters to you.
For instance, search for mommy bloggers and other tribes who mention “changing diapers”. Explore conversations and identity people who can contribute growing your brand’s awareness -link building .
* Content research
With eCairn you can search for specific keywords across tens of million conversations daily, and discover hot topics among a community. Is a process of discovering, adapting, learning new trends (keywords) and building your themes, and discover again.
We offer a combination of automated reports and manually annotate conversations for sentiment analysis.
* Spy your competition
Analyzing your competitor’s social accounts is also part of what you can do with eCairn. Add your competitors social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram) and learn about their SM strategy:
– Discover if they are offering deals, promoting hashtags, events, generating brand awareness
– Setup a theme to follow-up on competitor mentions and social mentions
– Listen to what matters on you mobile devices, subscribe to customized RSS feeds and integrate with Feedly or Zapier
– Study their SEO tactics, trace links and inbound marketing efforts
This feature can be configured to automatically post on your own social media account, email forward, or exporting data to a your Google docs. Simply configure a keywords of your interest. It can be brands, product names, twitter mentions (i.e. @ecairn, #ecairn), competitors. And the digest can be check on your laptop or mobile devices.