Preliminary findings from CSO Insights 2013 Sales Performance Optimization study find that only 10.4 percent of the 700+ firms surveyed so far have a formal program in place for leveraging Social Media.
If you are one of them, what are you doing?
If you are one of the other 90 percent, why haven't you?
We did an set of interviews with current customers about how they wanted to communicate with us, be communicated with, and Sociial Media was last on the list.
This may be because we are working with traditional manufacturing firms in the midwest who just don't see Facebook or Twitter as a must have.
Jim, I worked with a company recently that is a B2C health insurance distribution channel. <Side note: Healthcare reform has significantly impacted profitability.> I had expected to see a lot more social media marketing and inbound marketing, especially for a B2C firm, but at the corporate office, there was quite a bit of fear around it, mostly due to regulatory and compliance concerns. As a result, it was highly regulated by corporate and rare. A few agents wandered onto Twitter, and following strict company guidelines, a few more created Facebook pages, but there was little done in terms of content marketing, social media interaction with clients, or lead gen. Before I left, a LinkedIn group was shut-down by IT, over concerns about what was being said in it. I don't think this will apply to that many other industries, but that's one story, at least.
I would be interested in understanding the breakdown of those surveyed - i.e. revenue, industry, title, etc.
As an early stage company, we see social as a means to drive grass roots efforts to capture mind-share of "industry experts" and channel partners. In 2011 we increased our following by 700% - however, could not directly connect revenue to the investment (in people).
Being a start up, we have to ask tough questions - in this case, was the expense to support a formal program worth it, or would we get a greater return elsewhere (sales)?
After one year with a full time social program (2011), and one year redistributing that expense in sales (2012) - I would tell you that we really need both.
Net, we intellectually understand social, and want to be part of the 10.4%, however we'll need to find a different perspective in which to economically justify it (not revenue) before we do.
It you were in a room with 100 smart sales operations manager, what questions would you want to ask?
Nice additions, Tamara! I suppose I might also ask about:
- Which lead gen strategies are working best?
- What have they done to improve selection (sales hires and sales manager promotions)? Are they using straight competencies, psychometrics, panels, behavioral interviewing, simulations, a mix, etc.? And after hiring, are they also leveraging what they've learned from that process to create more effective individual development plans? If so, how?
- Dan Pink, eh? ;-) Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. As you've probably seen from my exercise endeavors on Facebook (lucky you), I think there is a big difference between motivation and commitment. I spend more time these days wondering how to increase commitment, since in my experience, it trumps motivation every time. (I haven't done any studies on this... so have to admit it could have more to do with my personal wiring... but I don't think so. Emotion follows action, not the other way around, so if we're waiting around for people to get motivated first, it could be a long wait. If we can increase commitment in some way, I think it causes people to take action even when personal motivation is low at the moment.)
- And last, for now... one of your favorite topics that you write about so well... what have they done relative to creating account selection crtieria or buyer personas, and how do they translate what they've learned into a more buyer-centric approach, once they identify the right accounts?
Without looking at the previous answers, I would ask:
- how well aligned are your operations to the sales outcome
- do you have a defined process of onboarding
- can your measurements provide early indicators of success or failure
- do you know how to repicate success
- are you using information to get insights vs. just reports
Geoff James, the world's most widely read sales blogger talks about the contoversy around the book The Challenger Sale. What are your thoughts?
Interesting to hear Geoff say that the top rep practices often can't be replicated.
In my analyses, I usually segment top producers into multiple slices to study them. One slice I use includes the top 20% and then the top 20% of that group, or the top 4% percent.
Over the past 15 years, while I haven't done a pure statistical analysis or study on this, I've certainly seen a pattern emerge. The top 4% often succeed based on their makeup, which is not replicable. the force of their personality or things which make them unique. You can codify that and try to hire more like them, but I haven't seen those things replicated. The remaining 16% are often "regular folks" who have figured out what to do to be successful, which can be reproduced by others.
I have a lot of respect for the CEB, the authors, their research, their stats approach, and most of their conclusions. I've seen, experienced and observed "Challenger," insight-selling behavior for years, especially in the consulting and from Partners in the professional services world. My concern with their work is more aorund their efforts to implement Challenger efforts organization-wide.
I also think they went over the edge a bit with the whole "solution selling is dead" thing. Given the massive info now available to prospects and customers, the shift to a buyer-centric market, and how late in the process that buyers are engaging reps/vendors, I don't think questioning, diagnostics, relationships, or solution selling will be dead anytime soon. (I do think buying from your golf buddy is fading, so I don't mean that sort of "relationship selling.")
The one idea I've heard that does make sense to me is staffing a deal review desk with insightful, Challenger personalities, and having them review deals and see, find or orchestrate insights for other reps to use and communicate. But trying to turn other reps into Challengers.... well, let's just say I'm watching to see what happens with that. I remain open to learning I'm wrong, but I don't see that one ending well.
By their own (SEC) admission, the Challenger is not an end to end process, and is therefore a behavioral based sales methodology. If you dont know where the buyer is in your process:
1- Your methodology will be far less impactful for the front line sales rep
2- Coaching is based on seller/Manager perspective
3- It will be tough to reflect this in a CRM (or other technology).
Gerhard - Companies today need to align their sales process to the customer's buying journey. Here is a road map that will help them to get there. We need to 'stop making noise, and start making music'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KV9RtDJnAJE&feature=youtu.be
Great Question Gerhard; here is how we helped align Sales with Marketing at JAMF Software in a recent project. The key is about have clear expectation and direction of the project in our departments. Here is my video response. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwbIqOtZxCs&feature=youtu.be
I like your suggestion to get the sales organization's social strategy in place. Too many sales execs leave social (media) strategy to the Marketing dept. This wastes the opportunity to deliver content through the company's most TRUSTED delivery network - the individual salesperson's social (business) network.
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