A couple of weeks ago, I had a phone conversation with Phil Howarth, Frost & Sullivan’s Managing Director of European operations. Phil is a fantastic leader of leaders, and highly accountable to his team in helping them become modern, digital sellers. Phil’s team has gone above and beyond modern digital selling, and have now hired an agency to superpower their lead generation efforts, using modern, digital sales actions to fuel leads and attain their goals.
We’ve worked with them over the last few years, and there have been incredible learnings. My conversation with Phil was about the prevailing winds of change in Europe; this is my recollection of that phone conversation.
We were talking about the success their European operations team is having with modern, digital selling. They’re being bold compared to their competitors. Phil told me that when his team was reaching out to European business leaders via email, it was falling on deaf ears. European leaders weren’t reading their emails, and in countries like France and Germany, emails aren’t even being sent overnight because of new GDPR rules and regulations – the governing body for email data protection. These new rules have completely changed how companies do top-of-funnel marketing. If a specific company or contact is not already in your CRM, you need an opt-in system, which makes it much more difficult to acquire contacts.
Phil was telling me about one of their sellers, who that very day had won a deal because they learned on LinkedIn that one of their customers or advocates at that organization had a job change. The seller reached out and congratulated them, and that kick started a conversation that led to a deal.
When Phil was telling me this story, he said five words that I’ll remember forever:
“LinkedIn is our new CRM”
Email is not going away. The phone isn’t going away. Your existing database isn’t going away. But with LinkedIn, you’ve got an additive solution for tools that have diminishing returns on investment, like email campaigns and phone conversations. This doesn’t mean they’re going to be abandoned, but they are having diminishing returns.
When he said “LinkedIn is our new CRM,” Phil meant that they don’t have bounce back rates – they have much higher reach and response rates and conversion of conversation; they cut straight to the chase and get straight to the conversation with the executive by tapping their administrative assistants.
With LinkedIn, you have direct access to leaders around the world, and it continues to grow. The UK and the Benelux region, among others, have always been successful at using tools like LinkedIn. In Nordic, Southern, and Eastern Europe, more and more people are also using this platform, thus your database continues to grow.
European leaders: How are you addressing these prevailing tailwinds that are there for you? There are already companies who are booking meetings, driving business, and creating sales pipeline by taking advantage of LinkedIn. Do you understand the strategies that teams like this are using? They’re not just using LinkedIn – they’re using specific, modern, digital sales plays that are powered by LinkedIn.