Today's guest blog post is by Caitlin Roberson, founder and CEO of Wordisseur, a content marketing consultancy that specializes in sparking conversations online for technology vendors. Follow her on Twitter @CaitlinMarketng.
I just attended the "Sales Strategies in a Social & Mobile World" conference, and if the pulse of the room was any indication of how fast social business is changing, then prepare yourselves for a head-spinning 2012. Check out the conversation on Twitter (#s20c).
Below are the key takeaways from the invigorating day, which include the following:
- 5 key trends of a rapidly changing marketplace
- 4 principles for sales success with social media
- 3 steps to sales transformation
5 Key Sales and Marketing Trends
- Companies are suffering from adaptation apathy. @Gerhard20 (the Sales 2.0 Conference host) said the rate at which business is changing has increased by 10, and most companies lag behind, changing at a rate of only 3x. Keep doing business the way you've always done it, and you'll be out of business in 3 years.
- Email is dying. An average of 200 emails floods your prospect's inbox every day, and as many as 97 percent of them are unwanted. Video is the new high-impact sales medium. Successful companies reach out to prospects through social media, and then they connect face-to-face online. Find great tips to put your best face forward online here.
- Geographic territories will become extinct. @MichaelLodato said geographic territories have become useless in a social world. If your Chicago-based sales rep has a closer social connection to your San Diego-based prospect, it doesn't make sense to assign that lead to your San Diego-based sales rep. Social proximity beats geographic proximity, hands down. Lodato termed the new idea "social proximity prospect management."
- Thought leadership is out; community leadership is in. Marketing owns more of the sales funnel now that buyers self-guide up to 80 percent of their buying cycles online. To earn their place at the revenue table, marketers must join the online conversation, become community leaders, and be numbers driven. Conversations and collaboration must lead to measurable ROI metrics if they have any hope of fueling future success.
- Standardization is dead. @Gerhard20 also said, "We are moving from the industrial world that aimed at standardization to the information world, which aims at customization." We no longer can afford managers who rigidify sales and marketing processes, strangling opportunities left and right. Off-the-shelf solutions stopped working in 2008. Customers expect greater flexibility and customization – for everything. B2B needs to adopt the 1:1 sales strategies of B2C.
4 Principles for Social-Media Success
- The corporate voice = the personal voice. The social business operates in a 1:1 world. @MarkRoberge (VP of sales at HubSpot) says every HubSpot sales rep is required to blog, and IBM's joining the social crusade across multiple channels.
- You learned the rules for online conduct from your mom and grandma. (Credit for this tagline goes to Jon Ferrara, @Nimble's CEO.) If someone RT's you, say thanks. Asked @JeffreyHayzlett, would you interrupt a live conversation between two people you don't know? Personally, I think the answer is maybe. It begs the question, is the cold tweet the new cold call? Attendees weighed in below.
- Content catches customers. The social business rests squarely on four pillars: people, process, technology, and content. Successful companies create killer content for every stage of the buying cycle.
- Quality trumps quantity. @Jon_Ferrara described this phenomenon with the following metaphor: "We're swimming in a social river. Catchable fish only swim by once in a while, so why would you tweet every second?" Proof for the point: Jon only tweets three to four times each day but has 8,000 followers. Check out my quick tips for quality connections during events here.
3 Steps to Sales Transformation
Here is a crib-sheet version of the preconference roundtable:
- Identify the emerging opportunities in a chaotic marketplace.
- Objectively assess your internal capabilities and realign them to match external opportunities. Again, think people, process, technology, and content.
- ROI and metrics: rinse and repeat in real time…all the time.
Your takeaway: Sales transformation will deliver predictable sales performance. Just check out how many leads @PAKRAGames sources through social media:
It all comes down to the value you deliver. @AnnekeSeley's RT said it best:
Thanks to @Sales20Conf – and everyone quoted here – for a fantastic conference.