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Social Selling: Technology is NOT the strategy.

February 10, 2015

Secrets of social selling? Get them here and find out why a great social selling strategy + super-targeted prospects generates real results.

What is he reading? He curates content from sources including: Eloqua, SmartBrief Newsletter, Marketo, Hubspot, Act-On Software.
Look for Matt on Marketing for his take on industry news.

Social Selling: 
It's relationship selling. Foster relationships and develop them before they are ready to buy.
Listen for buying signals. This is not new. Before there was social media and the internet. Good sales people listen to those signals everywhere, there are more sources than ever before, but the inherit properties have not changed. Social media has leveled the playing field by allowing any size business to gain these insights and buying signals if they spend the time.

Steve asked if we should disband the term social selling.
Matt says that the book, Challenge of Sale - that teachable moment. This is one of the most important books written in the past five years.This is the current generation's version of How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. This is a lot of the same information, but in a newer package for the newer generation. Seasoned sales professionals will recognize it as such.

"Just make more phone calls...." How do you sway those traditionalists and infuse social selling into your organization. They are typically in management.

Listen at 08:00 to hear the A/B test case study - you'll love this!
Took a cold call sales team. Allowed them to do that for half the time.
The other half social prospecting.
Following same processes - needs assessment or discovery call with the prospect.
50% more opportunities came from the social prospecting work than from cold calling.
Lists were the SAME.
Instead of just calling the same people at the same company, we did it with CONTEXT - something value to talk about, something the prospect initiated, some mention, some buying signal to initiate a real conversation.
Understand how to get that wedge and get a a conversation going so that you can learn and confirm what their needs are and get them to the point where they want to learn more from you.
Social Selling accelerates the path to the right conversations.

Compile is an aggregator. Find a tool like this to help you make use of the data out there.
If you're selling the hole and not the drill, the hole is the outcome, but starts with the need, if you understand what those indicators are, you'll find those triggers all over the web.

Steve Gershik: B2B marketing seems to be stuck right now - technologies and processes that have to be stitched together. They seem to be impediments to us. How do we make sense of this technology soup?

Matt Heinz: Technology is NOT the strategy. 
That's BACKWARDS: Know the strategy and what you are working toward, and then you'll know the Technology TOOLS you'll need.

Answer 2 questions for your strategy:
1. What does success look like? What are we working toward? is it sales or revenue number and work that pipeline back
2. Who are we selling to? Who is our customer. How do they buy? What is their buyer's journey.

If you don't know those two answers, then it's hard to make a decision as to what technology you need.

ASSUME there is no technology - start from scratch and focus on the customer.
What do you want to say to the customer, and what does the customer want to hear, and how do you enable that conversation? Then we can find the technology we need.

STRATEGY comes first - the pace and range of technology is only going to increase. Have that single piece of paper with the strategy to be able to assess the technologies according to how well it fits with our business strategy.

Many technology providers are precipitating this challenge, because they are fronting the conversation with their solution assuming that their prospects have already done the value translation they needed in the first place.

Think about how we buy, we don't start with the solution, the solution is the bridge between the need and the outcome; but for buyers the solution is the END of the process.

First, we have a need, we exhibit some pain, it forces us to evaluate making a change. But before we get to the solution, we envision the outcome. The solution is the END part of the process for buyers. Sellers often put the solution first. We ignore or pass right by the need to create the context, to do a needs assessment and validation for why something is needed and get right to the demo and features - we end up confusing buyers and have them make technology decisions before a need or strategy is in place.

SG: Isn't a potential thorn in the rose of content marketing this idea that you have companies that are driving this content, putting out great content, beneficial content, aren't they gently nudging people into thinking they need to have these technology conversations a bit too early. Companies are proactively sliding down that slippery slope. They are looking at their content strategy as a means of forwarding their content statements. It's another channel for collateral. Some of the best value added education content are coming from technology vendors: Marketo, Hubspot, SalesFusion - Fantastic stuff. Their job isn't to sell something today, their job is to facilitate trust and credibility and impressions with prospects.

Leads are no longer the primary measure of marketing success. Somehow we have to get better at measuring attention as the primary measure of marketing success.
You can track whitepaper downloads, and you can also garner regular readers of your content so that they are paying more attention to what you do. This will facilitate greater interest and velocity toward a sale.

Some blogs are purely value added, some are purely a mouthpiece for the company. They think of them as an extension of their press releases. Then they wonder why no one's reading it, why they aren't getting subscribers. They wonder why they don't get a lot of retweets. People aren't going to retweet your product news.
But if you take a stand, provide value added information, that attracts people to you.
You'll have plenty opportunity to get them to a demo.
Top of funnel requires that you open up the kimono and provide more value than that.
This is why I think The Challenger Sale is more of a marketing textbook as much as it is fundamental reading for sales people. Marketing now owns the first 75% of the buying process.Your content is part of that, part of getting their attention and educating them.

Just because you want a deal to close, doesn't mean it's going to close. You still have to condition the sale.

We can't ask our prospects to sleep with us on the first date, we have to warm them up a bit. We have to be smart enough to get their attention, earning their attention and earning the right to  have more attention so we can have that qualifying conversation.