When the calendar turns towards December, the thoughts of sales and marketing professionals turn to… more business.
The new year, and a new start, is just around the corner, but before you can wrap 2014 in a big, red holiday bow, there are current deals that must be signed, accounts in negotiation that must be closed – all of this with the increased pressure of a compressed work schedule.
And while some sales and marketing pros may feel the stress, others may be indifferent, and still others will rise to the occasion as the top performers they’ve been throughout the year.
One thing remains certain: your end-of-year behavior will likely determine whether you find cool toys or a lump of coal in your stocking during this holiday season.
Because Santa Claus has an affinity for list-making (and for Social Selling – he’s an avid LinkedIn user), old St. Nick made another list to guide sales and marketing professionals through both the month of December and the sometimes confusing waters of Social Selling.
He’s calling out the worthy, and not-so-worthy, practitioners of Social Selling.
I plied an elf with a lot of Egg Nog for this sneak peek at Santa’s Social Selling Naughty/Nice List for Sales/Marketing Professionals:
Nearly two decades ago, my father shared the prescient words that have defined my professional career: the most important business skill is the ability to build integrity-based relationships. While sales and marketing professionals universally agree that building relationships is essential to Social Selling success, many fail to completely examine the true meaning of relationship building: integrity-based.
The future of Social Selling is data. In 2015, the collected metrics and data on Social Selling will become incontrovertible. Companies that leverage the power of data to sharpen their sales processes and marry outcomes to their prospect’s buying journey will far outpace those organizations that do not embrace data. The most successful sales organizations will incorporate a seamless alignment between internal sales and marketing teams and regularly employ tools like predictive modeling, data mining, and multi variable linear regression analysis.
Social Selling Training
Can your company afford to wait any longer? According to the Aberdeen Group, Social Sellers outperform their non-Social Selling peers by 20 percent. What is a 20 percent uplift in revenue worth to you? Want more – according to an oft-quoted statistic from Jim Keenan, a whopping 78 percent of sales people using social media outsell their peers who aren’t using social. The clock is ticking. Get trained.
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator
Once sales and marketing professionals have completed Social Selling Training and are confident with their ability to use LinkedIn, it’s time to move to Navigator. Packed with advanced lead generation and team relationship-building features, Sales Navigator has the potential to become the premier software for Social Selling. What sales and marketing pros really want to know is, “Will it make my job easier?” The simple answer is, “Yes, if you use it as a springboard for building online relationships.”
Much like the present you never expected, Twitter chats are a place to build community, crowdsource ideas, and easily communicate one-on-one with potential buyers and prospects in an informal, relaxed setting. Find a chat about a topic where you can demonstrate your expertise, or better yet, start your own. Resist the temptation to hard sell, lest you land on Santa’s Naughty List. The secret gift of Twitter chats isn't the content -- which is valuable and informative -- but rather the relationships, both online and offline, that emanate from these forums. Santa is partial to S4LSocial, the definitive Social Selling Twitter Chat.
Fake Social Selling Consultants (Pretenders, Not Contenders)
There isn’t enough coal in the mines to fill the stockings of these sham Social Sellers, who only serve to confuse well-intentioned senior sales and marketing executives looking to institute a company-wide culture change. If you don’t know who these ersatz experts are – because much like shapeshifters they are sometimes difficult to identify -- read this guide. Forewarned is forearmed.
Connect and Close Mentality
Sales and marketing professionals realize that they can use social media to connect with buyers and prospects more quickly and easily using social media than with traditional selling methods (cold calls, emails, smoke signals, etc.). Avoid this mistake: spamming your new social connections, or immediately “leg humping” them with an old-school, hard-sell sales message when the new connection is made. The “Connect and Close” mentality is an offense worthy of a reindeer stomping.
Metrics must have substance and should actually yield useful data that benchmark a specific result or action. Otherwise, your yardstick is nothing more than fool’s gold. Vanity metrics don’t help you tell the true story of your success. What sales and marketing professional isn’t obsessed with numbers? In an industry preoccupied with numbers, it seems that Likes, Followers, and Fans are overrated when compared to the one metric that truly matters: engagement.
A Fool with a Tool
The holiday season is the time for gift giving – and receiving. And Santa likes to provide more shiny new objects than we can ever use. Just like with vanity metrics, however, don’t think that one tool, or revolutionary app, or platform, or add-on will solve your team’s Social Selling ills. Ask one simple question: What problem does the tool solve for me beyond the obvious that you save me time? A tool cannot cause a shift in behavior. Unless automation is your sole objective, ditch the tool, and the fool.
Like me, Santa is a data geek. He sees the numbers: the ROI of Social Selling is proven, and it’s 5X. On average – for every $1 a company invests into a sales professional for Social Selling training, that sales rep will make the company $5 within 180 days. If you help your sales team understand how to become more effective, your team will, in turn, make you more money. Despite irrefutable data that glows as bright as Rudolph’s red nose, senior sales and marketing leadership continues to embrace the status quo. Stop the pain. Avoid the substantial Grinch-like costs of doing NOTHING.
If your holiday presents did not include a free gift certificate for Social Selling training, click the green button below to schedule a call with me. Because Santa and I would like to chat with you about how we can improve your team’s performance in 2015.