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Why the Role of Social Media in Modern Selling is Not What You Think It Is
June 28, 2018 Sales Chat Show
Sales Chat Show

Why the Role of Social Media in Modern Selling is Not What You Think It Is

June 28, 2018

Sales Chat Show

Social media is useful in sales. But exactly how useful? The real benefit is not what you might expect.
Social media is useful in sales. But exactly how useful? The real benefit is not what you might expect.

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1:0:10Hello and welcome. You are listening to an episode of the sales show to stream or download a host of further free episodes that will power your sales success. Please visit sales chat We really hope that you enjoy and benefit from this episode.

Speaker 2:0:35So hello folks and welcome to yet another episode of the sales chat show sales chat show Dotcom and driving your sales success. I'm here with my sales chat show posse as usual. Mr Graham Jones, Mr Phil Jackson and Einstein and Hazel Dane. We are today talking about what is the place of social media and modern selling and Graham has some interesting research to share and as you might expect for Mr Jones, he's about to tell you that the role of social major modern selling is not what most people think. Most people I come into contact with in the world of business think that social media is about getting awareness of your products and services and getting your sales points out there. So people go, wow, that's interesting. I must buy that seemed much more as a transactional kind of thing, but the research that I've looked at shows that actually is completely different to that and the people are missing a couple of really important tricks that social media can be used for the actually they're not using to sell and they could do this much better if only they took notion of this study.

Speaker 2:1:51Take us, take us through the research. The research is done in about three or four years ago and it was looking at the world's top 100 brands and the world's top 100 brands isn't decided. You don't put your hand up and go, I'm one of the world's top 100 brands. It's done by Forbes magazine who do have a process and decide, you know, that's the world's top 100 brands and the reason that this study was done with the world's top 100 brands was twofold. Firstly, they're all very public, so they're all going to have websites and social media activity and all of that, and their finances are public as well. They're all publicly quoted companies. So what this study was trying to do, we'll see was there a relationship between the profits of these business and the amount of social media activity they did. In other words, how much was social media driving that extra sales potential for the businesses and it divided people up into four categories, so looked at the amount of online activity they were doing, how much social media they had, how many channels they had.

Speaker 2:2:53Were they on facebook, twitter, linkedin, pinterest, everything. Did they have more than one twitter account? So on. So how many channels do they have and how frequently did they update those channels? How often were they blogging, how often are they updating facebook and all of that, and so you had this kind of two components to the study and they found that there were four categories of people, so they were the wallflowers. The people who had just a few channels, they may have had a blog, a website, and a twitter account, just a small number of channels and they did an update them very often. Every now and then they did an update, so they were more flowers. They sat there on the Internet and look pretty. They didn't do very much. Then you have the people called selective. These were the brands who had a couple of channels, so they may have had a blog and a facebook page, but they were very, very active, you know, blogging at least once, twice, sometimes three times a day, updating their facebook page 10, 20 times a day.

Speaker 2:3:51So these were very active people but only in a selective area so they choose a particular social media channel island and focus on it. So one, one good example of those friends was gap in the study, so they've got a great blog and a great website and so on, but almost all of their social activity was on facebook and they ignored many other social channels at the time of the study. I'm guessing is that because they found out which of those channels their ideal customers are using? I don't know what their motivation was. Work. It may well have been that. It may well have been the best what they started with and they were just got a team who were doing it before they investigated. I suppose that is a thought for people, you know, if your customers are using one particular channel more than another, that will be an obvious thing to thing to do so that there's a, an internet marketing guru who says that if you want to get run over, you've got to stand in the middle of the lane.

Speaker 2:4:46It's no good. As he says, standing on the sidewalk and trying to get the traffic to come over to you. You've got to go. So if your traffic is on facebook, don't go tweeting. You go, go onto facebook. So it may be that they chose facebook because of that. It may just be a historical accident, I don't know, but they were the, the selective people. They've chosen their channels, they've only got a couple of them and they updated them frequently. Then you've got the people who called butterflies in this study and these people had loads and loads and loads of channels, so they, some of them had like 20 or 30 twitter streams and dozens of different pages on facebook and loads of blogs and yeah, they were everywhere, everywhere on the Internet, on every social channel. You found an account for them. The problem was they'd got so many accounts they couldn't cope with updating them all, so they kind of flitted from one, oh my goodness, we've not done any tweeting this week.

Speaker 2:5:38We'd better do some tweeting. And of course they. Once they were doing that, they'd forgotten them. Done any facebook. So this week they did loads of tweets and next week they realized they'd not been on facebook for awhile, so. So they flitted from one thing to another, so they will call butterflies. They were just flitting around all over the place because it was too difficult to manage and then you'd go. The people called Mavens, which is a Yiddish word, meaning experts, and these were big brands, often many technical brands, but starbucks was one of these brands who had got dozens and dozens if not hundreds of different social media channels, but they will all updated significantly huge amounts of updates. So what that meant was that those mavens had invested money, people time, resources, everything into social media, and when they looked at the profitability of these companies, what it showed was that the revenues of all these companies have gone up over the year, apart from the wallflowers or the wallflowers had reduced revenues.

Speaker 2:6:38So the selectives, the butterflies and the mavens all increased their revenue. So that part of the argument was the social media was driving increased revenue, more sales. But of course you've got to take into account in the fact that the May event is that people who were getting the biggest amount of activity must have invested billions collectively in extra staff and extra time and effort to do that. So you might have increased your revenue. Your profits could be completely hit because you costs have gone up. So when you look at the profits of these brands, the only people who actually increased their profits were these mavens that people who had invested more money in social media so they aren't getting a return on invest. Absolutely. Whereas everybody else was losing profits. So even though the butterflies and the it increased revenue, that profits had gone down and you were saying earlier, we're talking about this session before we came on air that you have, uh, your view that the results from the survey, I'm not pointing to something.

Speaker 2:7:43So what it tells what the survey, the people who publish a survey say it is that this shows that the more you invest in social media, the more you'll sell and the more profits you, you'll make as a result. But that's a superficial analysis of it because if you've got to look at the companies who were involved. So when you look at those companies, you'd got companies who were highly innovative, who were, had got a culture and their business of openness, of empowering their staff, of allowing their staff a lot more freedom. Those people were the mavens. And when you look at the wallflowers flowers, those were very controlling businesses, very hierarchical businesses that the mavens had much flatus management structures. Whereas the, the structures of the people in the place that lost money, the, these wallflowers, they had very, very strict hierarchical, often very old traditional businesses are pharmaceutical companies in there who were very, very strict about what could be done. Uh, they were big franchise operators who dictated to franchisees precisely what they must do and they must not move for it. So this fairy controlling, essentially, it's kind of like a more autonomous enabled culture, seems

Speaker 3:9:01to be

Speaker 2:9:03part of the mix from your chronic, from your points, you said what? What that means is that when you've got that kind of culture that empowers people or allows them more freedom, they're actually more capable of dealing with social media and more inclined to do it. Whereas those controlling people, the people who work for controlling the sales director won't go on social media because they haven't been given permission to do so. Which has any benefits you're getting from social media and not there because of the culture? Not because of the social media,

Speaker 3:9:32so if I'm a sales director to listening to this, I suppose the sales directors listening to this will be all over those different four levels or categories that you've been talking about is the. You just give me one specific action that I could take as a sale straight if I was a wallflower unwanted to move to either the next level or indeed go straight to the desired maven destination. I'm just interested in what's the one thing more flannel should do. What's the one thing selective should do? The one thing, butterflies should do the one thing. Mavens. Shit too.

Speaker 2:10:16To move through those kinds of categories. Easy to maintain it in the case. What would. What would your one idea, but I think if you're in that worst position, that warfare position, I think getting to the Mavens, possession is not going to be easy for sales director because it depends on the whole business as a whole. So one of the things that sales director needs to do is talk to everybody else in the business, people in operations, it manufacturing and everything else in the business. To start getting people to think of the different ways of operating the business so they can move forward, but as a sales team, what they can certainly do is start talking to the sales staff about the opportunities for blogging for all those kinds of things and to put in process even if they have to follow the kind of the rules of the business and have a bit of an editorial process so there's review of this, but to start getting people used to being able to do these things even in a limited way, we'll start moving them in that direction.

Speaker 2:11:14Whereas at the moment a lot of those businesses going, well we don't do it because we can't because there is the. Obviously the nervousness is if I allow people to do this, will they say something they shouldn't. So I kind of. I kind of understand that concern, but it might be chumps worth taking because unless you're employing, unless you recruitments bad, you do need to trust their capability intelligence. If your people, I think in my opinion, should do so. If your staff are going to be saying the wrong thing, then you've got the wrong staff. That's clear. Now you as a sales director may not necessarily be responsible entirely on your own for the employment of your staff, because may be some kind of panel. There may be other sectors involved, so that may worry you what they might say in public, but if you know one of your salespeople, I mean, I did this recently with a firmer lawyers.

Speaker 2:12:05They'd go to a senior lawyer who couldn't progress because the number of partnerships with just wasn't going to expand. They were worried about losing him and I said, well, what's he interested in? They said, well, all he ever talks about is facebook. And I said, well, why didn't you make him your company's social media manager? And so they, they haven't got one. And they said, well, what benefit will give space? They've now got active facebook pages and this lawyer is responsible for running the. There'll be a salesperson in your team who loves social media. Personally. You could use them as your editor to get all the other people so that it all goes through a process so that you, as a sales director of at least put in place a process of benefiting from social media, but maintaining the strict controls you might have.

Speaker 4:12:49It's not a number of clients who just have a very simple social media do's and don'ts page, policy rate as a one page, you know, don't, don't comment on politics, don't comment on religion. Things that, things that could be, you know, very personal to people. Keep it, you know, don't mention clients names without the client's permission. So they just, most of it's just like a simple one page thing. You can mention politics if you're selling to political parties. You mentioned religion if you're selling to religious, but it was just trying to give them some guidance of things too, you know, um, and you know, how to behave professionally. And then I think if you give people a sensible

Speaker 2:13:35guideline, they'll probably follow it. That's right. They do because they want to keep their jobs. Whereas at the other end, the mavens didn't have to issue these guidelines because everybody was already bought into it. I remember watching a TV program several years ago about a famous airline had a TV program. I'm following it. I can't mention who they are for obvious reasons because that would be far too easy. And so, um, but they, I remember watching a program about their recruitment and they were interviewing various people who wanted to be cabin crew. And then at the end the, all these people had been interviewed and the three people, the HR people on the panel just turn to each other and said, is he orange? And it was kind of, they didn't have to say whether they pass the, the psychometric tests or you know, any of the interior was, did that person fit the, the orange color of easyjet?

Speaker 2:14:32Did they feel that they were one of us? And when you've got staff who are like that actually they don't need the rules because they know what the rules are. They, it's kind of embedded with them already. It's a cultural pretty. So, so the, the mavens are, have got that right, and then what you're gotta do is sure that those people are, that they're writing or using social media in such a way that it's more directed and focused because if you give them the opportunity to be free, they will be free and they can be writing about anything and to, and then of course you diminish the value of your social media because it's too wide and there's lack of focus. So the other end, to answer Phil's point, you've got to focus those people and that may be providing them with themes to write about with ideas, with, you know, this is where we're heading with our unsold suppose sales at the moment, the selectives, it's about sales directors of our, making sure you're choosing the right channels and providing the proper focus on those.

Speaker 2:15:31I suppose just being sure, I guess that the channel has been selected isn't just due to lack of inflammation, which is some personal prejudice. Obviously somebody is into twitter for whatever reason that might now become a company. Um, and I, I hear this guy here this conversation quite frequently where someone will say something the largest, don't get twitter, and then they'll dismiss twitter, whether it's not, whether you get twitter sort of your customers because your customers are into twitter, you need to be into twitter. And so you know, there's no, there's just no two ways about it. There's a lot of opinion stated about social media often by people who don't understand it particularly well or never looked at the data and what's going on. Going back a few years, of course there was a view that linkedin was for business and facebook was for personal longest since been disapproved get because facebook requires business in order to earn the $40 million last year.

Speaker 2:16:31It wouldn't have a business is paying for it. So there's a huge amount of business going on on facebook. But I have seen a few people reacting quite strongly on Linkedin to people behaving appropriately. Like using it as a dating site. Someone actually took a screenshot of someone who'd made a rather flirtatious comment on linkedin about someone's profile photos. So the lady concern took a screenshot and posted it, so I think people have to obviously be sensible. Then you've got to be sensible. But if you, if you've, you know, as a business, if you've employed the right people, all those kind of things in place, then it's not going to be too much of a problem. But I think the other thing about this, the maintenance is that the empowerment to allow people to be more flexible with their time and saw means that actually they are using social media for another advantage which is missed in sales as well.

Speaker 2:17:21And that's the other point of this study. They using that in order to research the market place to research sales to find out what's going on, to look at the data so they can go, well there are more people buying this then this and using. Whereas the people who are down at the wallflower end because the culture says don't use social media. What happens is that they don't use social media and therefore they don't benefit from the research capability of it. To all the points you made, kind of at the top of the show was around eight being social media guy outbound to attract people to sell your talking here, the Mavens, this is a two way street isn't flow between themselves, which is the social part. It's not so. It's not just saying, here's our products, here's I services would you like to buy?

Speaker 2:18:11It's questioning the marketplaces, looking at what's going on. It's analyzing data and if you've got an empowered workforce, they won't feel guilty about spending their time on facebook. Finding out that information. Whereas the people working for those controlling businesses or not go onto facebook in the office because they will be deemed to be the wrong thing to do. Yes, and in fact, what you find in those businesses, very interesting. There isn't a study that looks at the amount of time people spend in the toilet and then those empowered business, they spend less time than in the controlling businesses and the controlling businesses have staff spending more time in the toilet and the reason they do it that it's because they're going onto facebook to do personal stuff because they don't want to be seen using facebook at their desk and just the joy of breaking the rules I guess.

Speaker 2:19:04Yeah, quite. Yeah, so there you are. You're, you're restricted. So we own. I'm not, I'm not. I can do what I like. I can go to the toilet and go onto facebook or wonder whether you're almost allowing more people into your salesforce in a certain way. You know, by people may not be in a quote unquote sales position, but they might be quoting. I started blogging or whatever on some technical aspect which will be useful to the customer. So you've got, and I'm sure their employee engagement effects must be fantastic to the organization where people are taking the time and trouble to sport activity out on social media. I think that means you've got an engaged employee, you see, you see that with big companies like IBM who've got really engaged technical people who are busy writing blogs and tweeting and doing all kinds of social media associated, but they're not selling they.

Speaker 2:19:56They're not the people selling their, the technical people, but the people who are selling within the organization are dependent upon those people being seen as experts because you've got engaged people who've got the freedom. In fact, several years ago for a classification of staff within IBM and IBM employs 300,000 people, so it wasn't all of them. It was a certain group of staff. They changed their employment contracts to insert a clause and that clause says you must blog. So there's a clause in that contract requiring them to blog and people at the time thought this is bonkers, but it wasn't bonkers because what it was was saying to these people, you know, we trust. You just write about what you know. You're the experts. Just share your knowledge. And that means that they've empowered those people, but they've empowered them officially. And the result of that is that there's lots of social media activity and you can't move for the expertise that IBM has got on the Internet and that helps the salespeople when they're bringing, you know, they can share articles that are done by, um, you know, expert stuff

Speaker 4:20:58and I think in the two to fill is occupying the sort of perspective and from a sales, from a sales director piece of research on the shared out to speaking to a conference, an eye for an it clients yesterday. And I shared a little bit of data, a little bit of research, and the question was, what percentage of senior buyers use social media as pounds of the decision making process are working on the assumption here, all the hunch that because there are seen here by a in a senior position, they are likely to be or no, maybe not always, but likely to be older. So I'm guessing late forties, early fifties, most senior management will be very different in some companies. I understand that it's general, that's just, I think, important and an important point. Uh, the research by IPC showed 84 percent of senior buyers use social media as ponds that buying decision and if the, if they are of that age group, if my hunch is correct, they are not people who grew up with social media.

Speaker 4:21:56We're 50 slash 52. I was introduced to social media whereas millennials quotes quotes, I've grown up immersed in social media. So that figure is, I don't really going. It costs you increase. I don't know anything else do. Yeah, absolutely. Probably up to something like 100 percent annexed in the next five years. So you do need to have a good social media presence because that is how people are researching you and finding out about you and looking and seeing what people are saying about you. So you know, I think there's an important important important point for all sales managers, a company owners if you're listening in.

Speaker 2:22:33So I wouldn't say social media is compulsory, but what I would say is that you've got to have a plan as to how you're going to use social media if you're gonna use it. And if you are going to attack that 84 percent and I look forward to reaching that age group where I'm one of those 84 percent, but if, if, if you are going to try and target those people, there are 16 percent are not using it, so you're in, you might be in that 16 percent, so don't think this is the complete solution, but empowerment of your staff and that culture will enable your staff to work out it. Should they be aiming at the 84 or the 16 and workout

Speaker 4:23:09today. Fantastic. Any closing thoughts, gentlemen? No, I think that's all very clear. Fantastic. Mr Jones,

Speaker 2:23:18uh, just, um, think about your company culture.

Speaker 4:23:22Yeah. Recruit really good people. Um, then give them the freedom and the autonomy to do a really good just for you. And then I think you'll find you get great results or results and you might have a little bump in the road from time to time. There's probably a price worth paying for the upward benefits. So that's been Simon Hazel, Dean, Jess, and and the 23 year Graham Jones from the sales gesture, which clearly had a hard life. I suppose it must be 23, 24 something that I'm so short, that's what the entity stands for. And so there are a lot more episodes in the sales chapter and you can find them all that sales chat So thank you very much for listening in. We just like to wish you good luck and good selling.

Speaker 1:24:20You have been listening to an episode of the sales chat show to stream or download a host of further free episodes that will power your sales success. Please visit sales chat Thank you very much for listening to this episode and from everyone here at the sales chat show, we'd like to wish you good luck and good selling.

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