On Wednesday 19th of June 2019 I was invited by MG Sales Performance to talk at their MG Connect event in London on Social Selling. I covered the topics of ‘what is social selling?’, debunked some myths and talked about how marketing and sales can work together to create content to enable sales people to easily include social selling as part of their sales process. The blog below is based on a transcription from my talk which you can listen to in full here.
I’m probably the only managing director of a marketing company who says that marketing doesn’t work without sales. I worked in high end IT sales, working with a service provider market for many years. One of the reasons we started GLProUK was, as a sales person I would sit with a new product or a new service is put in front of us and at the end I would say “I don’t get it” or “that was useless, I’ve just wasted my time, why are we doing this?”. The idea that we have, essentially is ‘How do you create content that enable sales?’ as opposed to ‘gets in the way’.
Social selling is utilising social media. To investigate both clients and prospects, and to put yourself in front of potential customers. To make sense of that, it’s not just playing on Facebook every day. It’s not just going on and liking constant posts on Instagram. I personally think that in B2B, LinkedIn is the heavyweight contender. In my background from advertising and IT, I’d be given an extensive list and told, you have to make two hundred and fifty calls that day, and that was very successful. However, out of those two hundred and fifty calls, I’d maybe speak to ten people, and with those ten people you’ve got to do your pitch, hope that they’re in a good mood and you aren’t cut off in traffic to actually get that pitch across. With social selling, you can essentially put that pitch out continuously. As you build your network you can be putting out your message and how your product or your service actually solves a problem for your clients. What I mean by that is, it’s not just selling, it’s social seduction. I love the idea of that by putting out your message constantly in a number of different ways that might speak to one potential customer one day and another on a different day.
There’s no point just saying the same thing over and over, or ‘we’ve got a discount on’. No one cares, if anyone is going to buy they go on Google and they find it, do their research. For example, if you are looking to buy a car, do you do some research first? or do you just go out and buy a car? I go and find out which car is for me and where’s the best place to go make that purchase. What this means is that buyers are more informed than they used to be. I used to have to wait until I got the phone call from the sales person and say “Oh, cool, that’s what I want, that’s what I need”. Whereas now I know what I need as a buyer. I’ve looked at it, I’ve researched it. Social selling is about building a network of potential customers and then putting that message out to them so they can see it in a number of different ways.
I was a very earlier user of this because I loved social media, so when I was looking through my list, making those two hundred and fifty calls a day, I would think “is that name the right name?”. So I would go on LinkedIn to find out. I’m trying to get hold of a C-level person, but the person I need to actually sell this product to is maybe their subordinate or someone underneath them. It’s not just about spending hours and hours on social media wasting your time. Sales people are always busy, too busy to attend that meeting, too busy to do that, too busy to attend the training. Are they too busy to make ten great calls? as opposed to making two hundred and fifty a day for a week? Social selling is about finding your customer. Now if you can work out a profile, and hopefully the sales team were doing that early on in the process and know who we want to get in front of, what their job titles are? where they work? or what location you’re aiming at? If that’s the case, then you have a profile, and you could use social selling by connecting with people within those job titles, it actually becomes more powerful than the data list you have.
Once upon a time, you would have a name to call, great, so you try and call that name. But what if you were cut off in traffic? You call in the morning and they didn’t want to take that call. That’s it. That name is dead to me, not on the list anymore. With social selling I can not only look at that name but others like them, then it gets exponential. It’s also easier, if I’m going to connect with someone on the phone, I’ve got to be super charming, super nice, and catch them at the right time. People will connect with you if you’ve sent them a request on LinkedIn or a similar platform. By doing this, that means it’s then much easier to build out that one contact into ten, twenty, thirty and so on. Now you have built a nice big list of connections fitting your profile, what next?
This brings us to the content side of things. Rather than instantly message these connections saying ‘Hey, buy my stuff’, instead, start producing content and releasing content where they’re going to see it and say ‘Okay, well, this this person knows what they’re talking about’. You want to be offering solutions to their problems. We all know that selling isn’t about the product. You don’t care. You care about your problem. So by releasing content, which is about the problem your trying to resolve as opposed to just trying to hit your sales number, it means you can actually sit in front of your potential customers.
It’s very easy to spend an hour a day, five hours a week, connecting with people. You could sit there and connect with hundreds of people in an hour, not really thinking about it, just click, click, click, click, easy. Or you could connect with ten to twenty great people today. You could walk out of a week with another hundred people that increased your network. Where social selling gets really interesting and where it gets really powerful is the referral side. Previously, after fulfilling a clients need, you may follow up with a call asking for a referral. However, if connected on social media and someone asks ‘Hey, I’m looking for someone to do a talk. A conference?’ Great. Anyone of your connections in your network who have been seeing your content may think ‘Actually, I know someone. I connected with someone a month ago, and they’ve been releasing a whole bunch of content’. It’s easier for someone to refer you, it could be as simple as them tagging you then they move on with their day.
Back to the content side of things. It’s always assumed that the content creation is purely a marketing job. As salespeople we are, or should be, the most articulate about getting our message across. We speak to so many people, we know the narrative. We can say what is needed to be said in a number of different ways. When it comes to content creation, you want to be creating content where you’re saying the same thing to different people in a number of different ways. How do you do that? You don’t have to get yourself a full cameraman and spend thousands on camera equipment, I post countless videos on my social platforms by simply putting my phone on a stand and hitting record. But sales people don’t have the time. So, the trick that I would always suggest, and this is something we do here at GLProUK, is book in a specific content creation afternoon, set aside three or so hours and sit with marketing, sit with sales and work out what the messaging is. What are the key points that you want to talk about over this next quarter and then break the quarter down. You’ve got twelve weeks, which means if you were to talk about twelve different things for a minute, nothing more, then talk about it into a camera, you’ve created twelve pieces of content, meaning you have something you could release every single week throughout the quarter.
As I said, you don’t need a big camera set up, smartphones are incredible. There are apps that you can use to edit your video and make it look great. You don’t have to be Spielberg. You don’t have to had done a whole education in film editing to make a video look nice. But if you walk away with twelve pieces of content then you’ve got a repository where you can release one a week. But could you do more with just that one video? Hand those videos over to marketing, they could take that one minute and write a blog on it, now you’ve got two pieces of content. You could release it as just audio, you’ve got three pieces of content. Now marketing has the collateral they need to post out, and more importantly you as a sales person do as well.
GLProUK, Managing Director