Social selling is a team sport
The sales team impacts all departments of an organization, including client success, product and IT. But arguably the place where sales – and social selling – has the greatest influence is on the marketing team. And vice versa.
According to Sirius Decisions, 58% of marketing and sales teams say they are seriously misaligned. Some of the repercussions of a sales-marketing duo with no alignment? Lost leads, bad content and blind decision-making.
Sales and marketing teams need to get on the same page to ensure efforts aren’t going to waste (and feelings aren’t getting hurt). To be successful, sales and marketing must focus on 3 key aspects of a strong social selling initiative:
A crucial aspect of social selling is the sales professional’s ability to provide valuable content – articles, white papers, videos, podcasts and more – to prospects in their network. Misaligned marketing departments can spend time and resources creating content for sales, but it is useless if the content doesn’t meet the needs of the prospect or if sales can’t even find it.
How do you fix it? By understanding the buyer’s journey, sales and marketing can together determine what types of content fit best for prospects at different levels of the funnel. Then, marketing can curate a database of content that is easily accessible and relevant for salespeople to use throughout their process.
Implementing a well-run social selling program provides the sales organization a predictive, guided approach to everyday sales. In an environment where nearly 60% of the B2B buying process is done by the prospect before they ever speak to sales, reps need guidance on how, when, and where to connect on social networks. Marketing and sales need to understand and agree on their buyer persona so marketing can provide the resources that will guide sales to success.
How do you fix it? For social selling to become part of a sales professional’s everyday process, it must be easy for them to identify the best way to engage with prospects online. Marketing and sales must collaborate to identify the ways in which their buyers navigate the buying process. This enables marketing to develop relevant campaigns and channels for sales to leverage in their social selling practices, resulting in the most important aspect of all…
Too often, misaligned sales and marketing teams hurt themselves and end up doing more work when they let good leads slip through the cracks. Whether it’s marketing campaigns missing the mark on the right buyer, or sales failing to follow up on solid marketing leads, it’s a lose-lose situation.
How do you fix it? First and foremost, clearly define what each team will commit to accomplishing in order to support each other. As the saying goes: Build the social selling process, and the leads will come. When marketing provides sales the resources and tools to become problem-solving thought leaders in their networks, everyone wins.
„Never leave Social media to marketing alone. Marketing spreads the brand and product messages. Sales plants conversations, seeds solutions and harvests on needs.“ (Martin Meyer-Gossner on Social Selling)
This is a guest blog post by PeopleLinx CEO Kevin O’Nell. PeopleLinx helps B2B enterprise sales teams activate socialselling with individualized guidance.
They blog from the first row at catwalks. They share cool design gadgets on Instagram. They strike a pose with a selfie in front of 5-star hotels on Pinterest. And, they record „Let’s plays“ for Youtube while testing the latest computer games. The one thing they have in common? They are online influencers. A digital species that challenges and changes the marketing world of models, testimonials and the publishing industry.
According to an annual Nielsen study, it is a common knowledge that people trust most in recommendations of people they know. In the past, marketers put models or celebrities in this „recommendation seat“. It was meant to address two benefits: Brands intended to grasp some of the consumers’ attention by trying to hitch-hike on the wave of VIP awareness and public relevance. And, they used the reach of magazines and the trust those public voices had for the people.
It seems to me that the tables are turning now, and marketers have to rethink their brand extension strategy.
1. Models – the personalization dilemma
When using models, brands couldn’t tell exactly which audience they were addressing. It was a marketers’ and model agent’s best guess which model fits which brand. However, a model does not have a transparent target-group. They are just faces without any open address books or lead list.
Social influencers are their own agents. Their content markets their personality, their personality defines their content, their reach expresses their quality. They have got fans, followers, and friends that everybody (not only when following them) can see. A clear defined and dynamic target-group that is commited to them and engages with them on a regular basis. What they say gets read. What they state is trusted. In fact, their consumer opinion becomes one of the most trusted sources that people believe in – more than traditional ads of any kind.
Just imagine the influence on purchase intent, when an influencer is posting online to a large audience of friends and fans. Social influencers are perceived of their active and growing audiences as „more real“ than models, somehow even as „friends“.
But also the traditional model business is affected by the upcoming influencer trend: Previously interchangeable and relatively anonymous faces are now increasingly becoming personal brands thanks to their personalized Instagram and Snapchat channels and/or (mostly fashion- and beauty related) blogposts. Consequently, numerous models with significant reach are also acting as influencers to their audiences.
2. Testimonials – the authenticity dilemma
Testimonials need to match brand authenticity and follow the brand message in order to become valuable for marketers. Serious investment in dollars does not allow a testimonial’s mistake. Contracts are long-term and include testimonial involvement not only in all brand campaigns but also in personal PR and marketing engagement during the contracting period.
Money counts for testimonials – as much as monetary rewards do for online influencers. This is definitely true for the fashion and beauty industry, states the „Fashion & Beauty Monitor“ report in partnership with Econsultancy named „The Rise of Influencers„. However, three out of five surveyed influencers believe that the „relevance of brand in relation to own area of expertise „is essential when collaborating with marketers. Influencers are very well aware of their personality as brand that has to be secured and consequently, they do not sell everything just because they are asked to. Of course, this in return means a certain loss of control for marketers when working with powerful influencers. Just to state an example, years ago, I offered MINI a cool opportunity to collaborate with me. I fear the idea never reached the BMW four-cylinder tower – perhaps for fear of losing brand control?
Think about it: How authentic can testimonials be that are selected by brands as of their popularity in sports, fashion and lifestyle? Testimonials sell their media value. On the contrary, engagement with influencers can only work when brands do not act too commercial with them and meet their personal authenticity. Social influencers are personal brands; authentic brands that companies can collaborate with.
3. Publishers – the relevance dilemma
When content from influencers gets more attention (and is trusted more) than content from advertising, relevance becomes a critical tipping point. For years, marketers and PR experts were convinced that „serious“ traditional publishers are more relevant to readers than bloggers or any other form of social media active people. Thus, they invested serious dollars in brand building activities with the publishing industry. Today, these very media houses are approaching influencers to increase their declining media value.
A recent study by Collective Bias shows that content from influencers is viewed for more than 2 minutes (which is 7 times longer than the digital display ad average with a view time of just 19.2 seconds). Plus the relevance of someone’s personal opinion -whether rating, recommendation or review- has become of high value for consumers. Now if content from an influencer is relevant and perceived as being „authentic“ , publishing is facing serious competition in the future.
However, relevance needs to meet relevance both ways. Just putting brand messages into the mouth of online influencers won’t accelerate a brand’s value. In order to become relevant to an influencer and his or her audience, a brand needs to be „love-brand“ in a social influencer’s mind. If not, the influencer will be perceived (and probably also act) like a traditional publishing product without a media-kit.
Solving the dilemma – budget and advertising strategy
The world of testimonials, models and publishing is changing with the rise of influencers.
More and more companies and brands start working with social influencers. I personally doubt that they will completely replace models, testimonials and publishing houses, but the future will tell. However, the world of recommendations will be redefined by a new species.
According to a recent #BrandofMe study, brands invested 1 Bio. USD in 2015 in influencer programs on Instagram only. Influencers earn between 500 and 10.000 USD per Instagram photo or Youtube video – obviously depending on their media reach. Which means that some influencers get paid as much as some publishers for their ad space. A lot of budget that moves away from traditional brand building worlds.
The question is what values more to brands in terms of business impact: tradition or progression. But that question can only be answered when brands understand the power that online influencers can have on and in the sharing economy.
Mobile has become more and more important for sales in the last years. The 2015 Criteo eCommerce Industry Outlook states that mobile’s share of global online sales went up from 23% in the first half of 2014 to 30% in the second half, and will get up to 40% by the end of 2015.
A recent report by Flurry shows that personalization apps (including Android lock-screens to Emoji keyboards) are becoming the fastest growing apps in the mobile industry (332% increase in 2015). News and magazine apps are also growing fast (135% growth) as of a general shift in media consumption from television and PCs to smartphones. Obviously, productivity apps are booming as many people are using their mobile devices as their „primary computing device and their sole device to access email and other productivity apps“.
Now, if you think about a better app experience for your users, you may want to know how your mobile users come to your app, what they want to read and find there, and how they will convert. According to an Targeting Mantra infographic more than every second person (52%) find their apps via friends, family, and colleagues.
Although you might think your company website is one of the promotion places to drive awareness for your app, it becomes clear that just one in four (24%) will find your app there. Furthermore, also search engines are not the secret sauce. Only 27% of consumers will discover apps there.
However, end-to-end customer journey and conversion is still a challenge. While e-commerce apps achieve a 77% install-to-registration rate, the install-to-first-purchase rate is very low (2,1%). The main reason for uninstalling apps is „changes and hangs“ (71%). Still, A/B testing can resolve the loss and make people come back once or twice even if the app was uninstalled (79%).
Although consumers tend to not be interested in your notifications via email too much, notifications are still the engagement drivers and also the main reason why people download your app.
Gambling is a competitive industry just like any other and as with other industries advertising campaigns can be the key to a site’s success. There are many different incentives used by those in this sector to entice in new players and make themselves stand out.
One of the most prolific deals that gambling sites extend to their public is a bonus, whether it’s totally free or comes with a deposit. These work particularly well as it is seen by many as an equivalent to free money to use however they please and works as an excellent incentive.
Another way that sites can get players in the door is by creating a theme that’s on trend. This could be anything from a movie to a character and online casino sites that will be opened in 2016 or those that already exist are using this to its full advantage. This tactic taps into an existing fan base and combines recreational gaming with a concept that players already know they enjoy. Branded slot games are a growing trend because of this, as players see a movie that they enjoy reincarnated and can’t wait to take it for a spin. This also helps the site seem more personable and friendly, especially if they use a mascot.
Being social with players gives another boost to the ranks of a casino. As we all know social media is an excellent way for brands to reach out and be seen by a wider audience. The use of incentives by online casinos also helps when using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as they can boost posts that offer the best deals.
Television advertisement is a medium that never grows old and many gambling sites now rely on creating an eye-catching advert. This can be a little trickier than advertising online however as there are governing bodies that must review these adverts.
The need to drive traffic to a site is felt by every business on the internet and these are just a few ways that gambling sites manage this flow. They still rely on basic advertising principles but they are tailored to the market.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become on of the most discussed topics in the digital landscape these days. Based on sensors, mechanisms, processes, the cloud and big data sets, companies as well as people try try to rethink how we can better use the Internet for our homes, our cities and the daily business.
We have collected the three most impressive pieces of content that came up lately to give you an overview of the potential and the challenges involved when using IoT.
1. IoT and legislation
A recent post by Cyberlex is discussing in details the approach of the European Union with their „Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation“ (AIOTI) and Digital Agenda for Europe on IoT against the American Federal Trade Commission with their Staff Report on the Internet of Things in order to deriver some logic for a Canadian IoT approach.
While the European guideline makes clear that the future regulations will lie on security, privacy, consumer protection, functioning competition and choice. The American discusses the issues of privacy, security and is trying to give guidance whether legislation is required to regulate the Internet of Things.
2. IoT and Social Media
Over at WT Vox a post is discussing the opportunities and the challenges that the combination of the IoT with social media generates. Although we might be seeing the power of commerce data to understand the mindset of the next customer, there might be more business impact on the image, machine and health data for our future lives when it comes to the value of IoT. However, they make clear that the all deciding question on the future of IoT will be how everybody is handling their „digital persona“ over the next years and whether we open up or step back from giving out personal data to people and companies we have got no idea what, how and why they derive data via smart health, smart home technology or smart city.
Gartner sees a more and more connected world and predicts there will more than 6.4 billion connected devices by the end of 2016. Cisco goes even further and forecasts that by 2020 even 37 billion connected devices will be in the world. McKinsey even estimates that IoT is expected to have an economic impact of $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion per year by 2025 (representing up to 11% of the world’s economy).
3. IoT and Investments
The infographic that delivers data by Venture Scanner that we came across via the guys at Appcessories gives some good impression of how much investment goes into the IoT development and in which industry sector most most investments and innovations are produced.
In all of those posts it becomes clear that there is a demand for companies to enable and ensure processes that make people aware of how they use data and technology to understand the consumers development and movement. Furthermore, it is wanted to see a continuous progress in monitoring and improving peoples‘ privacy and security. And finally, the question is whether companies and regulation units need to give clearer guidance and legal advice on compliance and data collecting and processing laws in order not to loose the trust of customers and consumers.
One of the questions, consultants get asked day in and day out is: „What are the latest tools we could use to boost our lead generation and accelerate lead management?“ Being in the sales environment for almost twenty years, I have seen a lot of tools coming and going: From Excel to Goldmine, from Plaxo to SugarCRM, and from ACT! to LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
As for all marketing technology, the business impact and the value for the sales results always depends upon various factors like people, process and prospects. However, some tools have proven to become more successful than others lately – depending on where in your pipeline they might come up and drive your sales people to some unknown height.
The team at KeyReply have come up with some interesting infographic that highlights some of the latest cool tools and where they perform best in the sales pipeline.
maybe this already helps you to save you from your next RFP. In case you need some more information on the definition of the funnel stages, check out the original post from KeyReply here. And if you need some help in understanding the value of some of those tools for your social selling strategy, feel free to get in touch.
With their annual study called „Mobile Elite“ (2013 and 2014 versions here) CNBC has been focussing in the last two years on how executives use their mobiles for business, and when and how it helps them doing their business more effectively. A survey that is tracking senior business executive’s use of mobile devices across Europe, Asia and the US.
Now, they have come up with their latest update „Mobile Elite 2015“ that more or less global executives have become mobile in terms of reaching a mobile device saturation point. Already more than 9 out of 10 business executives access the mobile web to get the latest business content and news updates via their tablets or smartphones (of which they have in average 6 (!) devices at home). Compared to last year, the access to „news feeds“ has shown the highest growth for smartphones (45% to 60%). Their main time of reading the news is in the morning of weekdays (87%), predominantly with interest in financial news and stock prices (71%). Six in ten business leaders say they access the news via mobiles in the morning.
However, when we think that the weekend is a „news off time“ for business execs, we might prove wrong. More than over six in ten business decision makers check their news and business content over the weekend. It is their time to deep-dive into content as time allows them to. Like last year’s results it becomes clear that as of the mobile options most of the top management does not differentiate between weekday and weekend any longer. Mobiles keeps them in the business all days. Furthermore, the second screen phenomenon can also be seen at business executives. TV might still be their main source of content delivery in the morning (51%), but three out of four (75%) watch TV at the same time as using their mobile device (6% more than in 2014), or maybe on their mobile devices.
„With mobile saturation at an all-time high, we’re now seeing business executives shifting their attentions towards a more connected lifestyle. With a slowdown in hardware innovation in 2015, the survey suggests that global executives are unlocking the potential of their technology to be more connected, more of the time. We could be witnessing the start of the next mobile renaissance.“
Mike Jeanes, Director of Research, EMEA, CNBC
Even more interesting to see is that the Internet-of-Things (IoT) has found their way into the business executives homes. Just about four in ten business leaders operate apps at home via their mobiles. This means that top decision makers become „early drivers“ of technology by the use of mobile devices and wearables. More than every second respondent (54%) claimed to like the idea of hands free technology. This means they do not want to end their mobile journey with smart homes and smart security systems. Still, when it comes to cyber security business leaders are now „extremely concerned“. More than three out of four (82%) value mobile data privacy and security a „concern“, while admitting (41%) it is the most important technological influencer for 2016, followed by cloud technology (35%) and mobile e-commerce (34%).
The study shows that the C-Suite might be fully mobile but also understands and respects the responsibilities it needs to create a sustainable future.
Would you agree?
Sorry millennials! Us, the Baby Boomers, we have suspected this for quite a while. While you might be reading this post on your smartphone, you are probably somewhere in a park, in a bar or a coffee shop, chatting up some of your fellows. Ever considered to stop reading this during the conversation, or better before you started talking?
In a recent study by Flashgap (which findings come close to a study from 2014), it becomes clear how obsessed millennilas are with social media and how much it is affecting their social lives. The study states that 87% of millennials admitted that they are distracted by their smartphones when they are going out.
Now, this might be some predjudice from males but females seem to be slightly more addicted. 76% of females replied they do check social media platforms 10 and more times when they are out of home. Their male counterparts are less active with just 54% answering accordingly.
Now, the question is why the millennials are so engaged in their social media lives? The answer ist hat more than half of all millennials (54%) fear to miss out on the latest news, when they are not checking social networks regularly.
The funny thing is that many millennials (74%) do post when drunk, but in the end regret it afterwards. Whether it is the drunk selfies, any kind of revelations of love to exes friends or any other sort of revealing messages that go along streams and messages. 71% of millennials regretted posting a picture on a social network after more than 3 drinks.
So, why is Flashgap promoting this study? They have got a new app that might become the answer to saving millennials from social media nightmares. Flashgap is a time-delayed photo-sharing app. With over 150,000 users, Flashgap could really become a solution. And guess what?! The app was inspired by the bachelor party film, ‘The Hangover’. Surprised?
According to some infographic from McKinsey&Company successful digital marketing can boost their marketing effectiveness by 15-25% if they use the following five components of marketing operations. So, if your company wants to beat the competition, you better follow the advice to implement these five important components.
Here is just some remarks from our consulting business to why those topics might be of relevance to your digital strategy…
1. Customer Insights
Many companies still have not yet implemented a real web analytics or a social media monitoring tool in order to understand the inner and outer impact of consumer demands and reactions.
2. Customer Experience
Market research and product marketing often pretends to know what needs to be build, produced or offered. However, reality shows that often consumer expectations and company opportunities lack the match. Often companies lack the alignment with sales and marketing.
3. KPIs and Measurement
Understanding what makes consumers, companies and decision makers purchase a product or service is aiming for predictive analysis and forecasting when focusing on ROI. Still, KPIs need to be realistic and often lacks the knowledge of what technology is capable of.
4. Marketing Technology Infrastructure
The real bottleneck of digital marketing these days. As of the big marketing technology landscape and a grown intern technology infrastructure, technology decisions are very often a shot in the dark.
5. Process & Governance
Generating real benefit from technology is depending on the right people who get the appropriate training und understanding for the tools‘ capabilities. And as people are often not used to those modern tools and how to use them, they want a (brand) governance (and compliance frameworks) which keeps them in their seats.
Mobile is on the rise but web is still king? Well, it is one of these findings that makes you wonder on first reading. Although websites still reach bigger audiences, web users spend most of their time in mobile apps according to comScore.
Monitoring the time between June 2014 and 2015, comScore finds in some research that the audience for mobile websites is around 250% bigger than mobile apps. Furthermore, it is growing twice as fast as apps. As a reason for this development comScore sees the closed garden phenomenon a challenge for apps. Web versions are much more fluid in terms of linking between content, social and search.
comScore also found that FB and Google own eight of the 10 most-visited mobile apps with Facebook winning the „competition“ (almost 126 million unique visitors) with nearly one in two users who installed the app saying using it most frequently.
It is not surprising that Facebook’s app as of it’s reach is not the fastest growing app any more compared to Google’s audio-video sharing platform Youtube (9 to 18% growth) with 99 million users. However, after seperating their Messenger app from their main Facebook platform, the Messenger was grew double the size compared to last year.
Where people between the age of 18 and 34 spend most of their time is on Facebook (nearly 26 hours a month), Instagram (7 hours), Snapchat and Tumblr (6 hours) and Twitter (3,5 hours).
ComScore said mobile phones now account for 62% of all time spent online. Within that total, the research firm said 44% of time is spent on smartphone apps, up from 33% two years earlier. Mobile users spend more than 70% of their time in smartphone apps, dwarfing time spent on tablet apps and mobile websites.
The comScore mobile report gives a good indication of where the evolution of apps and their usage might lead in the future. It shows that „messaging is a very hot sector for apps“ but is still early stages in the US. Looking at the time people spend with certain categories, the leading areas of interest were social networking (29%), radio (15%), games (11%), multimedia and instant messaging (6%), and music (4%).
As the research was monitoring the US audience, the two apps that were not owned by Facebook and Google under the top 10 were the music apps from Pandora and Apple Music. Furthermore, new service apps like Uber and Lyft have become more and more popular, comScore finds.