Why Influence Marketing on your #Socialselling Journey? – An Introduction.

chiefmarketer

Do you know your Sphere of Influence?

How to Engage Earlier in Sales Cycle and Side Swipe the Competition

How the World has Changed

10 Years ago when I bought a car, I would spend weekends visiting car showrooms, sitting in front of salespeople, who told me the features and functions of the latest model. There would be a short discussion about price and a deal was struck. For me, this was all very painful and time consuming.

Now when I buy I car, I turn to my colleagues for advice, check out the various chat rooms and do all my research online. Then using the various websites I can configure the car, right down to the trim; online.

During a purchase of a car a few years ago I lost all trust with the company as it was obvious I knew more than their call centre agents. Like a lot of buyers I love the freedom the internet gives me to check out the different options online, all in my own time.

If it wasn’t the fact I usually want a test drive a car and seem to perversely like the ritual of shaking a salesman hand, I could buy the car online.

Anyway what has this got to do with what you sell and why will this make you money?

Enterprise Selling – A Considered Purchase

For me, a car is a considered purchase. I can assure that your buyers have have also been through a similar change process to the above. Regardless if your deal value is $100K or $100 Million.

Agree that there will be some input will be needed from most suppliers but research shows this has reduced from 80% to 20% of the data a customer needs to make a decision.

I’m a LinkedIn Ninja Stop Bothering Me!

We have implemented LinkedIn for Social Selling why do I need anything else?

If you have implemented #Socialselling you know that 67% of the buyer’s decision making process is done digitally.
You will therefore be making good use of LinkedIn which is a Gold Mine of contacts you can get warm introductions. You will also be using Social Media Listening where you are tracking competitor connections and #hashtag discussions.

But who are those hidden people in organisations that people turn to when the business needs to make a decision? Who do those influencers turn to? Who are the Opinion formers and Thought Leaders out there?

If you work for a large corporation like I do, we have some great people in PR whose job it is to work with the top influencers like the press and Gartner etc. But what about the influence the “Big 6” and auditors have?  Are your customers taking advice from Accenture? PWC? KPMG? Do you know if they are positive to you, would it be good to know this as part of a big Account strategy?

Below is some research from Forrester which shows when people decide to buy something, they turn round to their mates in an organisation and ask them for their opinion.

 

Forrester Research that shows where people turn when researching a considered purchase.

Forrester Research that shows where people turn when researching a considered purchase.

 

As you can see the platforms that Social Sellers and many companies that have a content posting strategy are low down on your prospects list of priority.
Finally, that content you have wonderfully crafted and spent time and money creating to support the new breed of Social enables Sales People?  Does the message resonate with your audience? Many large corporations can get caught up in their own internal jargon or “speak”. For example, in my research in work within CX people didn’t talk about SFA (Sales Force Automation) but they did talk about Customer Journeys, Customer Experience and Big Data. Sorry but you can end up with the wrong Content.

This blog is purely an introduction into Influence Marketing, further blogs will take you through my findings, a Case Study and I will share with you why this is a key pillar to your Social Selling strategy.

In next week’s Blog I will cover how you can create leads and use Influencer Marketing in your sales pursuits.

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3 thoughts on “Why Influence Marketing on your #Socialselling Journey? – An Introduction.

  1. Tim – thanks for covering this important trend. To support your case, we’re seeing escalating adoption of business professionals using peer review sites to evaluate software. For TrustRadius specifically, we’ve found that 42% of the people using our site (reading reviews, and running comparisons derived from reviews) have not yet contacted a vendor (and 90% of them report being in active purchasing cycles).

    Just like your car example, business buyers making considered purchases are finding authentic social sources they can trust – primarily through search – harvesting insights and making new connections, so they can approach vendors informed, ask tougher questions, waste less time, and be more confident in their decisions.

    Vinay Bhagat
    CEO, TrustRadius
    http://www.trustradius.com
    @vinaybhagat

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  2. We are in world of networks. People in the same discipline/position/expertise mingle with each other thru linkedin/twitter/blogs. Leveraging these networks of like minded people, companies must do 2 things: 1) mingle with the influencers, that’s the role of PR or more extensively marketing as they need to pull them for content co-creation, product reviews, brainstorming etc…2) ‘listen to’ and ‘map’ prospects to the sales people: this is about finding path in the network between individual sales rep and prospects + providing on ongoing flow of insights from the prospect to the sales rep (i.e: if company is selling db optimization services, insight can be a conversation from a prospect about db performance or a new connection establish between a prospect and an existing client which can be leveraged for influence purpose.
    Bottom line, beyond content which is the buzz of the day, companies have to understand the network of people that underlies their target market.

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