Last Wednesday (8/5/13) I was fortunate to be able to attend the Huthwaite Future Forum which was about the all-important topic of social selling. We were joined by our fantastic panellists:
- John Golden, CEO & President, Huthwaite
- Matt Loop, Head of Sales Solutions, LinkedIn
- Marie Sornin, Social Media Director, Fairfax Media
- Tom Skotidas, Director, Skotidas
- Chris Collacott, Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Deloitte
- Danielle Di-Masi, Business Etiquette & Digital Relationship Expert
What follows is a selection of learnings, quotes and insights from the forum, created especially for our readers of the Carpe Diem Consulting blog. I’ve split this into 2 parts, with part 2 to follow.
Many of the themes brought up during the discussion were about taking back control of the buyer’s journey and interacting with your buyers in an insightful way at the right time. This is the theme of the series of lunchtime roundtable events we’re running at Carpe Diem Consulting: How to get on your buyer’s shortlist. For more details and to enquire about attending, please email me.
Scary “Setting the scene” statistics:
The results of the 2012 Sales Management Association survey of sales managers and sales leaders found:
- 96% use LinkedIn at least once a week
- 80% believe work would be more productive if social media was used properly
- 11% had formalised customer facing social media efforts for sales, compared to 82% for marketing
- Majority thought customers were more astute with using social media than they were
- Few have had social media training
- 67% disagree or strongly disagree that they have had sufficient training
- Social selling remains an ambition - not reality - at most B2B organisations today. (Adam Thorpe).
5 best summaries of social selling:
- It’s still selling - you still need to find the right people to engage with, listen, then contribute something of value. If you’re not a skilled sales person offline, you wont suddenly be amazing in social selling! (John Golden).
- It’s about building a brand, growing demand, and generating leads – all in a trackable way. (Toby Skotidas).
- Social media has changed selling into a cycle, not a funnel. (Marie Sornin).
- It’s about being in a much better position to contact people in the right way, at the right time, so we can contact people in a consultancy way, not in a salesy way. (Matt Loop).
- Think about it this way - if you wouldn’t go up to someone at an event and just start suddenly listing out your products and prices, then why would we act like that online? (Danielle Di-Masi).
5 biggest challenges to overcome:
- Management: In B2B, social selling is a surgeon approach – providing stuff to people that is useful means we need reflection, and being being able to write in this way takes time. The time required to do social selling is at odds with your job spec – which is usually to sell stuff fast. Your manager needs to allow you to develop those skills and reflect. There needs to be an allowance for sales people to develop those skills and training must take place. (Tom Skotidas).
- Mind set: There needs to be an evolution of thinking. Bosses allow people to go to networking events, but if they catch them in a LinkedIn group they are usually in trouble for not being “out there” selling. (John Golden).
- Training: There needs to be a process in place which is on-going consulting or training, so that the learnings actually gets implemented. It’s a habit that needs to be built into the muscle structure of your company. Most companies don’t focus on long term – senior management need to change their thinking. (Tom Skotidas).
- Blurring of Sales and Marketing lines: Marketing needs to go further into the sales process than ever before. And Marketing needs to learn some of the skills previously associated with selling. Marketing and sales have to be comfortable with the blurring of the lines. (John Golden).
- Inauthenticity: If you think of something cool and immediately post it, it is spontaneous but not necessarily authentic. Identify content which is useful to a specific audience - Marketing can help Sales to distribute the content in the right way. It’s still spontaneous, but it’s also authentic and authenticity is more important than spontaneity. (Tom Skotidas).