As the end of Q4 looms for many organisations, there are sales leaders and reps around the world feeling the pressure to accelerate pipeline and close deals. Quite often reps are advised (and directed) to get on the road, knock on doors and hit the phones - activities which yield good results – if you were selling 15 years ago.
Before the internet corporate employees had to travel to an office, only had a phone to communicate and visitors were a welcomed distraction to an often-repetitive day.
But times have changed. Advances in technology have meant that we:
- Can work from anywhere, at any time from any device.
- Communicate via multiple channels and media including email, social media, video, texting and the phone!
- Turn to our trusted networks to sift through the content noise and help us decipher what is and isn’t relevant.
Build A Pipeline Of Relationships Vs A Pipeline Of Revenue
There is no doubt that sitting in front of a customer is the most valuable relationship building exercise you can do. However, as sales reps inherit more accounts to manage, larger territories and operate in increasingly complex environments, they need a smarter way to scale their ability to nurture relationships. After all, there are only so many calls and meetings you can have in one day!
There’s a lot of evidence to support Social Selling adoption within business. For example, 73% of salespeople using digital selling techniques as part of their sales process outperformed their sales peers and exceed quote 23% more often (Source: Aberdeen Group).
Digital natives joining the sales function are easily adapting. According to LinkedIn, 30% of millennial sales reps think sales intelligence solutions are extremely critical, compared to 22% of Gen X and only 7% of Baby Boomers. However, there are generations of sales reps that are reluctant to change their behaviour.
Here are the most common Social Selling objections you’re likely to come across, and some suggestions on how to respond, if you’re championing behaviour change within your sales organisation.
I don't have enough time for this
I understand that this may seem like “yet another tool” but don’t think of it as replacing what you already do. In just a few minutes a day, Social Selling will make it a lot easier for you to identify prospects, deepen existing relationships and stay front-of-mind with prospects not quite ready to buy. This isn’t about spending a lot of time on LinkedIn. It’s about spending a little amount of time on the right activities.
My customers don’t use social media
Your direct customers might not use social media today but those that influence your buyers are on social media. 73% of millennial workers, who use social media, influence purchase decisions for their companies and given that millennials are expected to make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025 (Deloitte) – they will soon become your target buyer.
Why should I use my personal LinkedIn account for this?
At the end of the day, your LinkedIn account belongs to you and always will. However, positioning your profile differently online will be beneficial not only to your role and your career. Actively managing your brand online helps you become a trusted adviser around your topic of expertise. Done correctly, your profile will speak to customer issues and accelerate the buyer journey.
For Sales Navigator users: LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a separate product to your LinkedIn account. Whilst it feeds in data from your LinkedIn account (e.g. connections), it operates in isolation with its own App and inbox.
My line manager doesn’t do it so why should I?
I get that. However, it’s important to recognise that your line manager is there to support the team and not there to build relationships with customers in the same way that you do. They will have a slightly different role within Social Selling – to enable, coach and give you the space to adapt your techniques. I’m working with Sales Leaders here to help them understand their role in this process.
No-one is interested in what I have to say
You may think that, but you will be surprised. By reading, researching and sharing articles that you find interesting with your LinkedIn network, you will start to attract a following. Your network will begin to recognise you as someone who can save them time – they don’t need to research the internet for useful articles. If you manage this correctly, they will follow you because they know when you share something, it’s worth reading! We’ll help you find and share content consistently.
I don’t know how to do it
You’re not alone. According to Sales Guy Consulting, over half of sales reps (53%) want help in understanding Social Selling better. Don’t worry - we’ll show you how. You just need to be ready to commit to trying the techniques we’ll teach you for at least 1 month. You’ll start to notice changes, even in that short amount of time.
Social media is marketing’s job, right?
Not anymore. Sure, marketing manages the company social media channels but social now runs across our business from sales (for relationship building) through to HR (for attracting talent) and our experts (for creating relevant content).
I’m meeting my targets already, why should I bother?
That’s great to hear. But the market is ever changing. Disruptive competitors are entering the market using these cost-effective Social Selling techniques. We should never relax. In addition to that, the buying circle has increased. On average, 6.4 people are now involved in B2B purchasing decisions. Unless we’re identifying those buyers early on and influencing them, our sales cycles will extend and our ability to articulate our value will be difficult.
I’m not targeted on this
I understand that this doesn’t tie directly tie into your KPIs and targets. However, evidence has shown that sales reps who use social media as part of their sales techniques outsell 78% of their peers (Forbes) and are 51% more likely to hit their sales quotas (LinkedIn). It will support your targets.