Social Selling is a Team Sport

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Credit: © vege – Fotolia.com

Credit: © vege – Fotolia.com

On the surface, social selling seems like an initiative reserved exclusively for the sales team. And while, yes, social selling is typically championed by a Chief Revenue Officer or VP of Sales, it integrates best into a business with organization-wide support.

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:

Content
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.

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…

Leads
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.

Sales Tools: From Social Selling to Lead Management (Infographic)

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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.

KeyReply RevenueMachine

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.

Five components of digital marketing operations (Infographic)

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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.

McKinsey-DMO-Infographic

How to become a top (social) seller (Infographic)

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To decide strategically on social selling is not a question, if it is going to stay in the future, rather than how and why to use it. If your sales people and your brand wants to step out of the circle of those „We are not there yet!“ industries, then the following infographic from LinkedIn might deliver the right inspiration on how to leverage social selling tools in order to amplify your brands messaging and your company’s outreach. If you start today, it will demonstrate your thought leadership and brand advocacy of your employees if you set up the processes right with the aim to build loyalty and generate more leads than your competition.

So, if you want to become a top (social) seller, check out this infographic. Consider the options and make sure you use the advice given from today on.

LinkedIn-8-steps-to-become-a-top-seller-infographic

Overview on Social Selling Tools (Interactive Infographic)

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If you want to get an overview on Social Selling tools, you need to follow the industry very closely as this market has become quite dynamic. Furthermore, the value of each tool (CRM suites, monitoring solutions or engagement technologies) or platform (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) may vary. The question for many marketers is which tool does really give some value add to the business. Most marketers often tell us that they need some kind of an overview on which social selling tool they should use.

Now, the guys at Sales For Life have come up with some interesting approach that showcases all tools for the various sales stages: prospecting, qualifying, researching, nurturing, presenting, closing, and retention. Just click here to get to their interactive infographic.

For those of you who do not understand the value of Social Selling, we advice on some infographic based on a study by PeopleLinx. It shows the best platforms to use and states that 76% of sales reps consider LinkedIn as the most valuable social media network strongly before Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

What we also can see is from our projects is that not many companies offer an appropriate support and training on social selling. 11% of respondents stated their employers offer training on social selling. However, the benefits are striking. When reps get training on social selling, the adoption climbs from 28% to 74%.

Now, if that is not the right argument to start social selling today?!

Social Selling 2015 Infographic

Study: Marketers biggest social media challenges in 2015

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One of the latest reports around social media tells us that measuring ROI (60%) is still the most challenging aspect for marketers when facing all their social media efforts. This is the main message from a report by Simply Measured and TrustRadius.

The findings that are based on some survey data from almost 600 social media practitioners between February and March 2015 also show that other top challenges are tying social activities to business outcomes (50%), developing a social media strategy (48%), and securing enough internal resources (40%).

Social Media Challenges Trustradius 2015

Although the main message is clear, there are some small variances between company sizes when separated int small businesses (1-50 employees), midsize companies (51-1,000 employees), and enterprises (more than 1,000 employees). While smaller companies struggle setting up and developing their own social media strategy, enterprises are trying to secure enough internal resources to master their social media efforts.

The integration of social media into the overall business is also a big way to go obviously. First of all is the alignment of social media goals with the overall business goals not fully connected. But even more challenging is the question whether all the efforts generate some business impact. Many marketers are working intensely with data and analytics to optimize their marketing strategies but the proof seems not yet been given.

Maybe this is all based on the missing tool strategy, which is also one of the major findings of the report (not surprisingly based on study makers). How to manage and measure social media activities, is often not a question of whether companies know the tools but still they are predominantly sourcing the monitoring out for example, and then wonder why data gets not interpreted properly. Also, some are not happy with their tool choice.

Social Media Metrics Trustradius 2015

Spot On!
The findings are not surprising when the targets from all three company sizes is brand awareness. Still, companies should be able to better understand KPIs in the social selling process. It seems that companies and brands still have not yet understood the value of a friend, follower, LIKE, share or a comment. Furthermore, they still do not have the opportunity to link their data findings and their social media engagement back to some CRM database in order to leverage data sets around their customers. Furthermore, the missing social sales strategy combined with a clear lead processing and management is essential, and most companies do not have an answer here. Obviously, a lot of support in the social media set-up is still appreciated.

Not? Then tell us what you think…

How Google works by Eric Schmidt (Slideshare)

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Eric Schmidt shared his view on „How Google Works“ in an interesting Slideshare presentation. In a snapshot, this 54 slides presentation gives you some brought insights into the recent NY Times Best Selling book and makes clear how Google acts in their daily business. The message is clear: Get some clever, creative and smart brains at the nucleus of your business and make them shape a product by having access to various tools and more importantly the freedom to invent the future. Throw away your business suits, wear hoodies and free your brains! Sounds a bit wild to most of you, but hey isn’t that exactly what we always wanted?!

How Google Works from Eric Schmidt

Digital Strategy Toolbox 2014 (Slideshare)

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Julian Cole released his second presentation of the „Digital Strategy Toolkit“. This Digital Strategy Toolbox for 2014 can be viewed on SlideShare and give marketers some new ideas on which tools to use for their next digital strategy set-up. It contains some valuable insights and examples of tools (19 in total). Furthermore, it is looking at cool websites, research stats and some more inspirational material. Maybe you already know a lot of these tactics but still, it is worth to double-check if you are still up-to-date, right?

Digital Strategy Toolbox 2014 from Julian Cole

Report: Best rated CRM software tools 2014

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A recent report from G2 Crowd, based on the reviews of 1,700 CRM professional users, shows that Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics are the leading two customer relationship management (CRM) systems. This is the finding of a report that has checked the 27 highest rated systems by customers.

The report grouped tools together based on two main deliveries a) overall customer satisfaction (average scores by users) and b) market presence (market share, vendor size, and social impact). The report defined the CRM systems as software systems that provide salesforce automation features (account, contact and opportunity management), marketing automation tools (lead and campaign management), customer support options (knowledge management and support case), and a unifying database.

In the CRM „leader“ category finished Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. Both tools showed substantial scale and were rated relatively highly. Salesforce was rated significantly better by 9 out of 10 users: reviewers gave Salesforce 4 or 5 stars. Furthermore, 84% stated they would recommend the product to peers and 88% thought the CRM tool is headed in the right direction.

However, Microsoft Dynamic’s impact on the market in the top tier is predominantly depending to its large market share. Only 60% of Microsoft Dynamics users rated the product 4 or 5 stars. Still, 64% would recommend the tool to their peers and 60% think the CRM system is headed in the right direction.

G2 Crowd Grid CRM Software 2014

Spot On!
Another study by Salesforce.com shows that customers experince CRM systems to boost customer experience. However, data quality and predictive analytics could still do better in performance conversion. Nevertheless, the battle in the CRM tool business is on. Microsoft just bundled their product offering to challenge Salesforce. Although aggressive pricing might change proples‘ minds, Salesforce.com has the benefit there exist hundreds of AppExchange partners, like Marketo, Eloqua, LinkedIn and others. While Microsoft also has its‘ partners, Salesforce.com’s still offers the enterprise app cloud development platform that shows more opportunities.

The Challenge: Measuring ROI on Social Media (Infographic)

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After three years, the guys at MDG Advertising have updated their last infographic on ROI on your social media „The ROI of Social Media: Is Social Media Marketing Effective?“ This new version will be helpful to challenge your business objctives, your metrics and the understanding of how to leevrage your social media reccruiting efforts. The good thing about this infographic is that it shows 45% of social media marketers can build new partnerships through social media. Furthermore, an astonishing 72% of respondents claim that Social Media has helped “closing business.” And, 6% more respondents state they used successfully Social Media to recruit people for their business.

These are their 3 main factors of measuring from MDG Advertising which can be used as a guideline to foster your social media program.

Social Media Understanding
Look beyond the sales numbers and cost structure. Do your brand monitoring first, not for one month but for at least three in a row and on a daily basis. Then, try to figure out how your brand perception and recognition has changed latey (with or without latest social media efforts). Which significant issues have changed your brand perception? Which tools have help identify the changing brand perception?

Business Objectives
Most companies and their leaders start and change their social media program when the trial-and-error mode has proven the fail of the social media strategy. You better start defining your business objectives first, and one thing is for sure. You do not start, just because your competitors are active in social media platforms. Maybe you want to have a look at your brand perception and web conversations first, then you ask what engagement do your customers show in the various channels. Does all this engagement make an impact on sales? And how is your brand perceived along the social web clutter?

Measuring Figures
According to the infographic, CMOs use the following metrics to measure their social marketing efforts. It shows that as in earlier years, quantity comes first, however I would suggest you better go with quality. How says what and when, and how does this affect other consumers of your brand.
68% Site traffic
66% Conversion
63% Number of members
50% Revenue
43% Number of page views

You have good different thoughts about it? How does your company or brand measure the ROI on Social Media? Share them with us, or just have a look at the infographic, and maybe some ideas on the ROI of Social Media will come up then.

MDG Advertising 2014 ROI SOcial Media

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