Really great video with Adam Gray of Digital Leadership Associates here which sums up very nicely some of the conversations I have been having over the past few weeks: "Where does this fit into our current strategy?" OR, "My team aren't skilled enough to do this" OR, "We just don't have time."
'Social' is not outside of your team's skills or capabilities. If they are trusted to go to a C Level meeting, then they are more than capable to engage with these same people online. The problem stems from them not having invested the time to think about what the person at the other end really values. If you aren't being very targeted (& relevant) with your content and online activities, then it all comes down to luck. No salesperson wants anything to be attributed to luck, because then they wouldn't have a job. So, much in the same way having a small list of target accounts is an excellent way of staying focused with your outbound efforts, engaging with these same prospects online should merely be an extension of this laser-focused approach.
Use the below approach below to see how you can get more out of your online activities:
- Understand: take the time to truly understand what they need (at an individual, team and organisational level), not what you want to give.
- Engage: engage with them at their level, on a subject matter which is of mutual interest/benefit and where you can provide some unique insight.
- Educate: crucially, and linked to the above, the role of a sales person is to educate their target audience and be the most visible, reliable and engaging person. C-Level execs won't engage with some numpty who just retweets TechCrunch articles. Show what you know! This sentiment is summed up nicely by Daniel Priestley here, "if you share powerful ideas, people will come to you to implement them, and you can have a valuable service offering that does that."
As Adam states in the video below, the reality of a strong social presence is that it gets you through the door in the first place and not just on a one-off chance. It's this consistent brand which you cultivate which makes you the 'go-to' expert time and time again.
As such, you can be the world's foremost expert in IT solutions for professional services, banking etc., however, if someone else is demonstrating their knowledge better than you, they will (appear to) be better placed to solve a potential client's pain points than you. In software sales, you are providing a solution to someone's problem, not a piece of technology. Think about how each and every day YOU can build your brand as a problem solver within your niche (accountancy, legal services, banking etc.) and what is important.
The old line which we hear tramped out every single day, "I don't have time to do this," no longer sticks. You do have time, you're just spending it in the wrong way sending cold emails and running mass cold-calling campaigns.