My Blog is Dead …. Long Live my Blog! #SocialSelling

blog-pic-b2cPublished my first blog on the 25th February 2014, following that I’ve publish 65 posts.

My objective was to get read, never thought I would get some many followers, retweets and meet so many interesting people. Back then I didn’t really understand what community meant, I do now.

But the time has come to move on. Wednesday 5th August, will be the day I cut new blog and a new adventure.

I’m hoping you will stick with me.

SP_the_aft_lounge_03socialsaleslounge.com Will be the same me, writing about Social Selling and as I’ve always written. No fluffy, meaningless slogans, but real solutions you can implement to over achieve your number, quicker.

In addition, I’m going to invite the people that influence me to guest blog.  (If you are interested in guest blogging then please contact me tim_hughes1@hotmail.com )

There is a new Twitter handle @SocialSalesLnge to support this community, and you can still find me at @Timothy_Hughes

My partner in this new adventure @Mbrit will make his own contributions as well has support the venture from a technical nature.

Do hope we can count on your support.

 

Tim Hughes is a Social Selling Innovator and Pioneer his blog has become a reference point for Sales People throughout the world to get hints and tips to get into Social Selling; Newbies and Influencers alike. Tim’s 27 years as a quota carrying salesperson, means he cuts the fluff and speaks in a no nonsense style. The blog is not about slogans but about how you can use Social to allow you to over achieve your quota, quicker.

Tim Hughes is a Speaker and Blogger on Social Selling and be can be contacted @Timothy_Hughes or Tim_Hughes1@hotmail.com or contact me at LinkedIn

 

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22% of B2B Sales People will be Replaced by Search Engines by 2020 #SocialSelling

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 11.24.11Taxi for the B2B Salesperson?

In Forrester’s US B2B eCommerce Forecast: 2015 to 2020 they quote that “74% of B2B buyers research, at least one-half of their work purchases online. In addition, 30% of today’s B2B buyers complete at least half of their work purchases online. With that percentage nearly doubling to 56% by 2017, B2B sellers will see a significant volume of offline business move online in the next few years.”

IMG_0495Taking those facts further, at the recent Forrester’s Sales Enablement Forum , a study by Andy Hoar, Principal Analyst at Forrester, revealed that he expected 22% of B2B Sales jobs go by 2020.  With Enterprise purchases taking place online this means the traditional B2B sales person is being replaced by Search Engines, YouTube, websites etc.  The Diagram top left is Forester’s view on how what will replace the B2B Sales person.

IMG_0806Are Things Really that Bad?

Recently talking to a friend of mine who works for an “Enterprise” Cloud technology company, they relayed this story.  An inbound sales call, that went like this;

Caller: “We want to buy your product, can you tell me how much it is please?”

Salesperson: “Er, OK, but how can this be, don’t you want a demo?”

Caller: “No, we have done our research for a new product online and we watched your demos on Youtube.  We have decided yours is the best, so we just need to check it meets our budget and then we would like to go ahead.”

This means that 90% of the research has taken place on-line.

This conversation, (let’s assume it’s an exception) seems to back up the Forrester research, but could Forrester be understating things?  In my experience in talking and working with companies we (in sales) have reached a tipping point.

What Does that Mean for us B2B Sales People?

Not sure if my friend had realised but she had gone from being a (in my opinion a highly respected) B2B Salesperson to an Order Taker.  Nothing wrong in being an order taker, but when most of us started out on the road into sales, it wasn’t where we want to be.  So Where do we go from here?

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 16.48.59“Move up, Move down or Get Out”

I was once given some advice when it comes to significant moves in the market; “Move up, Move down or get out”.  You can apply that to this situation. The “Boston Square” on the left from Forrester shows how Salespeople and Sales organisations need to organise themselves as the market shifts to be completely buyer centric.  

With people getting more used to, and more comfortable with, buying (high value) B2B products over the web.  With technical details, pricing, and product demos all available over the web, I can see a continuation of the commoditisation of the buying process.

Sales people need to raise their game and while not be Thought Leaders they need to be a “beacon” in their given niche and or industry.

If you are in sales, here is some good news, or at least a solution.

What Does a B2B SalesPerson Need to do So They Don’t Become Irrelevant?

Let’s look at that Data from Forrester in more detail (Just remember this is US data, as I write for a global audience, you can question this is the same in your geography, but in the UK where I live, where the US leads, the UK will follow).  See panel below.  It’s all doom and gloom apart from one area.Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 17.13.10

Let me repeat what Forrester say ….

“”Consultants,” who have extensive knowledge about the buyer’s company to help the buyer understand what her company needs to purchase. Job gain: 10%, to 550,000 from 500,000.

Companies need to undertake a major transformation of their sales force.  One tactic of that will be to undertake a Strategic Social Selling program (starting, obviously, at the top management) and employee advocacy program across your organisation.

The Harvard Business Review puts it more eloquently  Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 17.28.38

More Details of the Forrester Report

Forrester says the biggest impact will be on sales reps at wholesalers and distributors, but less so in such industries as high-tech manufacturers and providers of healthcare technology.

Forrester indicates that trend toward more self-service online research and ordering is only likely to increase as more companies that sell to businesses and government agencies get more into e-commerce.  In many cases for B2B buyers, Hoar says, e-commerce “has taken away the need to talk to someone to explain things.”

Reduce your Cost per Sales Transaction from $24.48 to $1.50 …

Another trend contributing to the shift to self-service e-commerce is the increased efficiency online order brings to sellers—for example,  through lower employee costs and overall operating expenses, Forrester says. “A company we interviewed estimates that it reduced its cost per order from $24.48 per transaction via a salesperson-driven paper-based ordering system to $1.50 per transaction via a customer self-serve e-commerce,” the report says.

Forrester also notes, that B2B buyers will continue to purchase through sales reps in certain situations, such as for complex products and systems procured across large enterprises. Yet even in these situations, communications between buyer and reps are going more digital, Hoar says. “They’re increasingly conducting those negotiations with salespeople by way of digital means such as email, [live] chat, and collaborative software as opposed to via a traditional phone call,” the report says.  For example, I’m aware of a company that purchased a $350,000 product via Skype, no face to face meetings took place.

Further reading:

Tom Pisello: The ROI Guy: Death of a Salesman?   Tom has an excellent blog, if you don’t follow it already.

Harvard Business Review: B2B Salespeople Can Survive If They Reimagine Their Roles

Why Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang wants you to follow him on Twitter http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/blog/techflash/2015/04/lenovo-ceo-yuanqing-yang-twitter.html?ana=twt via @TriangleBIZJrnl

Really keen to get your comments, agree or disagree, help shape the debate.  What are your own experiences in your customers and prospects?  Please leave any suggestions or comments below.

Tim Hughes is a Social Selling Innovator and Pioneer his blog has become a reference point for Sales People throughout the world to get hints and tips to get into Social Selling; Newbies and Influencers alike. Tim’s 27 years as a quota carrying salesperson, means he cuts the fluff and speaks in a no nonsense style. The blog is not about slogans but about how you can use Social to allow you to over achieve your quota, quicker.

Tim Hughes is a Speaker and Blogger on Social Selling and be can be contacted @Timothy_Hughes or Tim_Hughes1@hotmail.com or contact me at LinkedIn

 

Using Foursquare, Swarm, Instagram and WordSwag to get C-Level Meetings #SocialSelling

social-selling-one-more-thing-to-doIn my discussions with Paul @snapdragon_paul which became the post Using Twitter to get C-Level Appointments a Case Study there was more material for just one post, so created two blog posts.

This highly successful blog, has created significant discussion, debate and traffic.  It really “blew the notion out of the water”, that there is no ROI in Social Selling.  Well worth a read, if you haven’t already.

In this blog I will go through some of the ways Paul is using other forms of Social Media to get C-Level meeting.  (In the previous week to this blog, he made 12 appointments!)

4SquareUsing Foursquare and Swarm for Prospect Engagement

When I did some training on cold calling the advice was to move the discussion away from a decision on a meeting, yes or no, to an option.  The advice was also to pose a question such as; “Can we get together to discuss this?  I’m in the area next Tuesday or Thursday, which is better?”  Thus moving the emphasis from yes or no to the meeting, making the dilemma over Tuesday or Thursday.

Foursquare and Swarm let’s you “check-in” to locations, it uses the geo-location functionality of your phone to do this.  Thus you can see where you prospect currently is.  Paul has used this in a number of situations where he has been able to say “I’m in the area, or just down the road’ why don’t we have a quick 30 minute get together?.

IFTTNote: Swarm is not linked to Klout, (this blog isn’t about the the pros and cons of Klout), he is therefore using If This then That (IFTT) to take any Swarm update and post it to LinkedIn.  While this is “good” for his Klout score, it also “double dips” the information so he is also getting traction / engagement on LinkedIn as well as Swarm.  He gave me an example, where he got a meeting with a Marketing Director where he had posted on Swarm but the post was picked up on LinkedIn..  As many Big Brands are now “listening” to Social Media, the fact that somebody is checking in with them means (based on your well crafted message) they may want to engage as much as you do.

Paul is also using Foursquare and Swarm to contact somebody to help him “piggy back” off that person to get to the true target.

InstagramInstagram Usage by C-Level People

He and I are not seeing Instagram being used by C-Level people, but if you find them on there, it is often a good way to listen to somebody or get an understanding of their wants and needs.  For example, they are posting photos of their dog, cats, coffee etc.  More on this in a bit.

Riffle GoogleChrome Plug-In

Riffle by CrowdRiff teaches you about a prospects Social community.  It’s a good way to learn about your prospects to enable you to “break the ice” it also gives you the top 5 people they interact with, which enables you to build out your network.

IMG_0389WordSwag

WordSwag is an App the Paul and I use that allows your to create quotes against a pictorial background.  This type of personalised Micro content is getting Paul a 90% response rate.  An example WordSwag is to the left.  Paul has got inspiration for a WordSwag that he sent over Twitter, based on a contacts interests and posts on Instagram.  For example, Paul tells me how he researched a senior influencer, nobody had been able to track the person down on email or the phone.  He researched them on LinkedIn and Instagram, sent over a Wordswag and he has them presenting at one of his events.  Boom

 

If during your journey you come up with other ideas, I would love to hear from you. Please leave any suggestions or comments below.

Tim Hughes is a Social Selling Innovator and Pioneer, his blog has become a reference point for Sales People throughout the world to get hints and tips on Social Selling; Newbies and Influencers alike. Tim’s 27 years as a quota carrying salesperson, means he cuts the fluff and speaks in a no nonsense style. The blog is not about slogans but about how you can use Social to allow you to over achieve your quota, quicker.

Tim Hughes is a Speaker and Blogger on Social Selling and be can be contacted @Timothy_Hughes or Tim_Hughes1@hotmail.com

 

Google Hangout: #SocialSelling in B2B with @Timothy_Hughes and Jarco Penning @DESalesCoach

CCPgTkGVIAADQkAHow to leverage Social Selling in B2B environments.

Me being interviewed by Jarco Penning (Dutch SocialSelling trainer & sales coach).  In this Google Hangout we share practical Tips & Tricks for professionals who want to make their numbers by using social media.

Link is here https://youtu.be/hJA5TLC8Hk8

If during your journey you come up with other ideas that can help Social Sellers out there, I would love to hear from you. Please leave any suggestions or comments below.

Tim Hughes is a Social Selling Innovator and Pioneer his blog has become a reference point for Sales People throughout the world to get hints and tips to get into Social Selling; Newbies and Influencers alike. Tim’s 27 years as a quota carrying salesperson, means he cuts the fluff and speaks in a no nonsense style. The blog is not about slogans but about how you can use Social to allow you to over achieve your quota, quicker.

Tim Hughes is a Speaker and Blogger on Social Selling and be can be contacted @Timothy_Hughes or Tim_Hughes1@hotmail.com

10 Ways You Can Start #Socialselling That Don’t Take a Lot of Time

The number one objection I get from Sales People about Social Selling is “Tim, with all the other pressures I have, I just don’t have time for this.”

While I can give many arguments about changing your priorities, new ways of working, etc etc. Here are some ways you can short cut the time you spend on Social Media. Of course, don’t expect the same results, but it might get you into a Social Selling habit.

harry-potter-hd-wallpapers-free-download-4-what-do-you-think-of-this-deleted-scenes-listA member of my family, who is not a big reader, once asked me, what books should I read to get me into the reading habit. My advice was to start with magazines, start in small chunks then to move onto a Harry Potter or Dan Brown book. George Orwell, (as one person suggested) might not be the best place for her to start.

This blog is about how a new starter can start the Social Selling journey. If you are a purest or a long time Social Seller stop reading now this isn’t for you. In addition, thsi won’t get you thousands of followers but let’s get in to the habit first.

First things first. There are many Social Networks but unless you have a particular reason to get into YouTube, Pinterest then as a B2B sales person I would focus on LinkedIn and Twitter.

How often should I post? At least once a day. You can post the same content on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.  Here are the ten things you can do to Hustle your Social Selling

20110816earlymorningtweets1. When you get into work in the morning and you get your laptop / Mac out, post something to Twitter and LinkedIn. There must be something you read in the paper on the train on the way in or came in on email overnight.

2. Use automation. If you have read my post “Why don’t we just automate Social Media, we can then go back to doing our day jobs”  you’ll know I’m not a big fan of automation but Buffer and Hootsuite can be used to help you “batch” up a bunch of tweets in advance.  When you get in the office in the morning, why not batch some Tweets or LinkedIn posts?

Team3. Work as a Team. In all of the presentations I’ve seen on Social Selling, Social Media is positioned as a solo effort. Rather than searching for content, why not retweet others?  Form a team with work colleagues and agree to retweet each other or like posts on LinkedIn.  Don’t expect an explosion of followers, but you will start building a presence and (hopefully) start getting into the habit.

Marketing-4-1-1-Rules4. Your Marketing department should be providing you with content. Agree, in many cases this can look very “corporate”, but using tools discussed in 2. You can batch this up and schedule a number posts.  Check out the 4.1.1 Rule.

5. Reuse content. Why not use meeting notes to create Points of View (POV) LinkedIn / Blog posts. “These are the top 5 issues we see in Accounting systems in Media today” for example.

6. Take corporate videos, events, areas that interest you and write a LinkedIn post. 5 lines of introduction and context and then post the video / link to the event. Not the most elegant way of working but it gets you started.

7. What is your passion? Ask anybody about their passion and their eyes light up and immediately they become positively animated. Why start blogging about serious subjects, why not start with your passion? Sailing, Photography, etc

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 11.45.048. Download a content curation tool like Flipboard or Klout and find content, there must be time waiting in reception at a customer or on the train where you could find something relevant to Tweet?

 

9. Create a list on Twitter of Influencers or subscribe to one of my lists and as mentioned in 3. retweet that content.

Big_Four_29038u_original10. Stop being a corporate suit and be human. OK, so it’s a terrible clique but why not post a photo of your lunch / dog walk / airport lounge you are sitting in? In her book “Social Executive Dionne Lew says ….. “Why not take a photo and post it, show your human side.”

Finally I often get asked how much time should I spend on Social Media?  In my view, the world has changed and this requires us to change with it.  On that basis, 30 mins a day would be a good target. Yes this is a lot of time, but what worked 20 years ago might not work now.  Many Sales people I talk to work out what old ways they need to drop and find time for the working practices of the 21st century.

If during your journey you come up with other ideas that can help Social Sellers out there, I would love to hear from you. Please leave any suggestions or comments below.

Tim Hughes is a Social Selling Innovator and Pioneer his blog has become a reference point for Sales People throughout the world to get hints and tips to get into Social Selling; Newbies and Influencers alike. Tim’s 27 years as a quota carrying salesperson, means he cuts the fluff and speaks in a no nonsense style. The blog is not about slogans but about how you can use Social to allow you to over achieve your quota, quicker.

Tim Hughes is a Speaker and Blogger on Social Selling and be can be contacted @Timothy_Hughes or Tim_Hughes1@hotmail.com

Me being interviewed on #SocialHangout about #Socialselling

Was recently interviewed on Social Selling by the guys from the weekly #SocialHangout webcast.  Their 9th (and first non US) guest, you can access the interview video here or a Soundcloud version here

Twitter – The Power of 3 Technique #SocialMedia #SocialSelling

the-power-of-3I’ve been on Twitter since April 2009 and in that time I’ve been able to create a community an with an amazing bunch of followers.

This is one of many articles about how I use Twitter, my intention is to help you and maybe help you, get more, from what is a great modern medium.

 

Twitter 4The Power of 3

I’ve written many times about the power of Twitter for engagement, the expansion of ideas, debate and learning from meeting strangers and making friends alike.

Twitter should be a two way dialogue. Tweet something and people will make a comment or better still, start a conversation.

During my Twitter travels I often come across somebodies Twitter profile. It is always interesting to read a person’s Advatar and see their last few Tweets.

Automated tweetsBut People Let Themselves Down

Too often when I look at a person’s profile, last few Tweets are full of automated messages, Corporate “let’s throw something at the wall and hope it sticks” Tweets or conversations where I don’t understand the context.  I’m sure that is meaningful to them, but not meaningful to me.

Your Twitter Profile reflects You

Sorry but I treat a person’s profile, like I treat mine. It is an extension of myself.  When I visit your profile, I get a feel for the type of person you are.

retweet-viralSorry But I Never say Thank You, I Retweet (RT)

Many people say Thank You on Twitter and there is nothing wrong in doing that.  I never do, or rarely do, sorry but after hitting 30,000 followers something had to give. I try and answer all conversations and comment personally and that takes a lot of time.
My way of saying Thank You is to Retweet somebody. For me, that is the biggest (flattering) thing you can do on Twitter.

Thank you tweetSo What is the Power of 3?

Whenever I sit down and work through the interactions on my Twitter accounts, I will always try and finishing by leaving 3 Tweets / 3 Pieces of Content at the top of my Twitter stream.  It does not matter how many conversations I’ve had, if you come and look at my profile, there should be content.  A reflection of me.  Better still, content you will feel to interact or even Re-tweet.

Turning round what i said above. If anybody visits my Twitter profile, it should have something interesting for that viewer. No conversations and any follower will know I don’t do “Corporate Boring stuff” and no boring automated Tweets asking you to like my Facebook page.  Stuff you it will hopefully want to interact with or even RT.

Men are silhouetted against a video screen with a Twitter logo as he poses with a Samsung S4 smartphone in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of ZenicaRemember Your Twitter Profile Reflects Me and You

Twitter is the ultimate in democracy, tomorrow everybody can unfollow me. By following me everyday people “vote for me”.  When people, prospective followers and myself visit your Twitter profile, what is it do you want to be famous for?

The Power of 3, may take some organisation and a little effort, but the benefits in terms of growing your own platform and community, should pay off.

Hope you enjoyed, would welcome your comments on the Blog below.

 

Tim Hughes is a leading person in Social Media, based in the UK. He has been described as a Social Selling innovator and Blogs on Social Selling and how Social Media will impact companies now and in the future.

Tim can be contacted at @timothy_hughes and @OracleTim