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The generation game. Why an evolving workplace must embrace multiple perspectives.
“We’re about to move in to a place that may be new to some of you. We’re about to move in to a place called social selling. All about using social media for B2B sales success.”
The room at this point often goes one way. As we enter the DO stage of our Plan. Grow. Do. sales training methodology, having addressed the importance of a blended approach to sales to include modern, tradition, digital and physical methods and approaches, the time finally arrives to address the elephant in the room – using social media for sales.
The more traditional businesses we work with can tend to drift away into a mode of seemingly silent despair or back to the proverbial safety of what we’ve always done mentality. Folded arms, a sight lean back and the risk of disengagement. It is this very attitude to the importance of social media in the modern sales tool kit that is stopping business from moving forwards and allowing competition to overtake the more traditional business; more nimble, more responsive, more personal.
…how things have always been done.
We are leaving to chance the most radical shake-up in our sales environment since the advent of the mobile phone! In our sales training webinar, The 5 Anchors of Modern Selling, we suggest that how your buyer likes to buy has fundamentally changed. Your buyer is looking at suppliers and providers that they can connect with. 92% of your customers are likely to actively engage with you if you personally are perceived as a thought leader in your industry. 92%! And how do you do this? Well, a big part of sharing that message is by utilising social media.
But I don’t want to be, or need to be an industry thought leader, I’m just a sales person! A valid point, so let’s consider that your position on social media could be that of a trusted and known provider of a defined solution for an agreed group of people. Sound fair? Good – so we can assume that over 60% of your customers are likely to engage with you – still much better than less than half of those willing to simply connect (not engage) with you if you use social media to simply shout about your products or share corporate posts with no context.
We run the risk in business that by sitting within our comfort zone that we will miss the tremendous opportunity that is at our door. If we assume the pandemic of 2020 has simply paused our environments and pretty soon we will be back to how we all enjoyed it up to February 2020 we are in for a bit of a shock. We believe the pandemic has simply accelerated what was happening anyway ad the digital evolution has simply been brought forward by perhaps 18 months to 2 years.
If we wait to see everything go back to how things were we risk been left alone in a traditional and difficult space whilst our buyers and future competitors have adapted and migrated some of their activities to a social media space.
If you are standing by what you’ve always done you will end up getting less than you’ve always got. You and your business must embrace social media as a valid sales tool and a valid sales channel for your future sales and marketing activity.
Remember to sell how your buyer like to buy
Over 90% of a buying decision starts online and it is safe to assume that a larger portion of this includes social media. Don’t worry about the platforms at the moment – platforms can come and go. What will not come and go is the concept of social media and the principles of social selling. Your customer expects you to show up on the spaces and platforms on which they are active.
If we try to force that buyer to navigate a path to which they feel uncomfortable we risk creating unnecessary friction in the sales process and the chances of the prospect becoming disengaged are heightened.
Don’t ignore potentially more than half of your market place
In our article that talks about the changing times for the sales profession, we highlight the risk that you as sellers and business leaders and professionals face by ignoring the changing buyer dynamics and expectations. We have referenced in this article about the changing buyer expectations and the assumption that you are active on social media. Let’s take a look further and see how you may be ignoring over half of your marketplace!
How many B2B buyers are millennials?
Over 65% of B2B buyers are millennials. This is only going to change as the workforce evolves and more millennials enter the workforce. Why is this important? Well, usage and adoption of social media channels within this demographic are around 90% or more.
The simple graphic below shows how you may be alienating or blocking off a very powerful communication channel – around half of your buyers may be on social media for business and if you aren’t talking to them on there, it is most likely that your competitors are doing so and given social selling benefits include reduced contact time, deeper relationships, and increased number of leads, you may be doing some long term damage to your sales results.
To try and adapt the business process for social media culture without first adjusting your perception of social platforms and their modern application to the sales process you risk becoming frustrated and offer (at best) only limited time and resource to really grasping the opportunities there are in front of you.
So what is stopping you using social media for B2B sales success?
What you can do to start addressing the gap in social media skills, understanding and impact.
Learn! You must adjust to the changing environment and adopt new ideas that can only enhance your sales efforts. By adopting a new you approach you can then become adept at understanding and applying these methods to your own sales process. Then, once you see the application you can adapt elements of social media and social selling techniques to your business and sales culture.
Adjust, adopt, adept, adapt. Social media planning cycle for business adoption.
Our Social Media Made Easy session is a perfect place to start to help engrain the early steps of a social media policy in to your B2B business. This is perfect for sales teams and organisations who are still navigating their way into the new sales environment. You should also check out our sales training webinar all about the modern customer journey and how you can effectively talk to your customer before they’re ready to buy.