I was watching an episode of Sunday Morning this weekend and they had an article about Japanese Whisky. Although Japanese whisky is not top of mind here, it seems that they have developed a wonderful product and one that is winning awards around the world.
The one thing that stood out to me in the piece was the fact that they are still not satisfied with the product. Unlike the rest of the world that is happy with their century old formulas, the lessons taught by Deming of continuous improvement are being applied to their whisky making.
If you are unfamiliar with Deming’s process of continuous improvement, it is described as; an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or “breakthrough” improvement all at once.
As I watched the show, I began to think about the sales process today and how the development of social media has provided the opportunity to enhance the traditional selling process. While many companies continue to do things the old way (cold calls, emails, drop in visits) and get the same results, enlightened companies are embracing the various types of social media to develop a continuous improvement process for their sales teams.
Contrary to some opinion, social doesn’t replace the sales force. It makes the sales force more effective by providing them with the opportunity to better qualify leads and make contacts more productive.
If you are a CEO and want your company to grow, you have likely already applied continuous improvement to many areas of your business. Take the next step and create a social continuous improvement strategy for your sales and marketing teams that will take your business to a breakthrough year.
By now it is abundantly clear and very well established that buyer behaviour has radically changed. It is equally clear that traditional advertising and lead generation techniques are no longer effective.
So why are organizations so slow to adopt new and frankly much less costly methods?!
Let’s take a closer look at the facts.
1) Trade Shows :: Attendance has dropped somewhat, and the real change is in the results. Lead generation as reported by all of our clients has steadily dropped over the last 5 years to the point that the costs are not consistently being recouped.
2) Cold Calling :: While many of our clients still actively incorporate this activity the results are mostly dismal and ineffective. This is no longer about having a thick skin and skilled objection handling, this is simply getting your prospective customers to answer or reply to phone calls!
While persistance is still the key, the level of calls required now in most industries is far beyond the cost and resources required.
3) Email Marketing :: Out of 107 active clients across North America in 2017 to date, not one reports success with their email marketing campaigns. Many outsourced marketing organizations will vehemently dispute this, but the facts are the facts.
4) Account drop-ins :: While it’s very rare that this meets with success, it does help with follow ups as a prospect is much more likely to answer or return the next call. However the cost is far higher than the return for most of our clients who use this approach.
5) Seminars and or Informational events :: This is the one activity that still has a heartbeat. When combined with other important elements such as industry experts and or innovative new solutions, these can be both cost effective and successful in developing new leads
6) Website marketing :: While still better than not being in place, not a lot of new lead generation is common here either, unless and until, SEO and other more progressive elements are put in place. Still, while this is a good starting point, it is only the start.
I could go on to include a number of other traditional sales methodologies, but it should be clear by now where this is headed. This is not just a question of asking what might be the best potential sales solution for your organization.
This is about admitting that your organization has a problem. No one likes to do this and this the answer to our question. If your organization is still using the same sales techniques as you did in 1994, well…
As the Owner, CEO, President, VP sales, sales manager and or marketing manager the problem is:
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that the answer is also,
You’ve already witnessed what has happened to print media and how social media now dominates in every category of communication.
This is your wake up call.
“Social Sales” is the answer to the very questions you’ve been asking yourself, and the sooner you embrace what it can do for you and your organization, the sooner you will begin to reach the sales goals you are currently setting for 2018!