Buying habits have changed. Social networks have forever disrupted the way people buy:
- IDC research in 2014 discovered that 84% of C-level and VP decision makers use social in the buying process.
- 50% of buyers avoid sales professionals with incomplete LinkedIn profiles.
The good news is forward-thinking B2B Technology Sales Teams know how to capitalize on trends. To take full advantage of a trend, you need to do things the right way.
Doing things the right way, this is what drives me as I am wholly committed to helping sales teams weave and integrate social selling within their business development efforts to grow net new business. I want you to get results. I am passionate about doing this the right way.
WHAT I HAVE LEARNED
First things first, it is buying into one word… TRANSFORMATION. Transformation according to BusinessDictionary.com is “a process of profound and radical change that orients an organization in a new direction and takes it to an entirely different level of effectiveness. Unlike ‘turnaround’ (which implies incremental progress on the same plane) transformation implies a basic change of character and little or no resemblance with the past configuration or structure.”
The second thing I have learned, transformation occurs when the culture created inside the company is that of accepting the fact change is required in order to grow and flourish. You can’t take an old dog and teach it new tricks overnight. Neither can you take a sales force which has been doing things one way for years and have them change in 30 days. It is a cultural shift requiring time and leadership. It won’t happen overnight, but if you do it correctly, the results will be long-lasting.
The third thing I have learned, the transformation of a sales team requires management support. Any successful initiative requires management support. When management engages in the training and embraces social networking the initiative succeeds.
ALL ABOUT THE LEADERSHIP
True leaders like Gary Harouff of AIS in Las Vegas have embraced the continuous transformation mindset. Led by Dave Clark, V.P. of Sales; they are driving the next gen sales mindset within their company.
“We are keeping our foot on the gas pedal of change”
Gary Harouff, President of AIS
Gary and Dave realize trying to sell digital solutions with analog sales tactics just doesn’t work inside the modern business world? They have embraced the fact Google and LinkedIn have forever changed the sales process as buyers do online research before, during, and after meeting with their sales team. They understand how their company and their sales team positions themselves online can make or break their success.
AIS blends the best of traditional sales skills with the tools of today to synchronize with today’s buyer.
Amping up their Social Sales Transformation began with the repositioning of AISonline. Their partnership with ProspectBuilder was step one as the team at AIS realized and accepted the fact buying habits have changed. Technology facilitated the change as their clients and prospects demanded answers quickly. They became fully aware value advice, education advice and insights must be provided online.
“For vendor companies, this transformation may be difficult and will take time; however, new competencies will amplify the value that buyers seek from social networks. This will create an echo effect, making social networks even more valuable to buyers.”
AIS ANSWERED THE 64 MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION
What are you doing to insure your sales reps have great websites and good online marketing?
Acknowledging their sales reps websites are their LinkedIn profiles, AIS management is now taking their sales team on the social sales transformation journey. Through the proactive marketing of their sales teams online and how they use relevant, educational content to draw in prospects and yes, their clients in wanting to know more. They are realizing the social proof, social visibility and yes the credibility of their sales team is mission critical online as they represent their company.
PHASE ONE – ENGAGE TO EDUCATE THE SALES TEAM
Transforming the sales culture takes more than rah-rah events or the use of outdated management tactics. It takes reinvigorating old tenured sales dogs, changing mindset, learning new skill sets with new levels of business acumen.
In a phased in approach which started with a live launch, the Social Sales Academy is coming alongside their sales team to coach them in how to integrate LinkedIn into the sales process. The AIS sales reps are encouraged to make a big deal about leveraging their profile to create their unique differentiation.
The concepts around social selling are rolled out over three key phases
The transformation then kicks into two more phases.
PHASE TWO – FILL THE RELATIONSHIP FUNNEL
As their LinkedIn profiles and online presence develops, the sales team will learn how to digitally and intelligently prospect incorporating the use of LinkedIn as a sales tactic. They will learn how to proactively prospect integrating the use of their current network (referrals). Through the art of the invite and social detective work, the sales team will learn strategies to get decision makers and influencers to connect with them as this is step one in building the relationship funnel.
PHASE THREE – INTEGRATE DAILY HABITS
With a professional profile and fundamental sales skills in place, the AIS sales team will learn to develop daily and weekly habits to maximize the integration of social inside the sales process. It is about learning how to effectively prospect inside a digital business world, to a digitally savvy buyer leveraging digital sales skills to drive more conversations. As conversations are the kick starter to the sales process thus enhancing the sales funnel.
The use of social media will not go away. It is already deeply woven into the fabric of our society. Social will be a part of selling skills going forward. Social selling requires regular interaction on platforms such as LinkedIn. Any successful initiative requires management support. This is why as the AIS management team engages in the training riding alongside their sales team and embraces social networking as the initiative will succeed in helping them grow their sales revenue and net new business.