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4 best practices for building a referral network (Infographic) 0

Posted on May 01, 2017 by Garret Norris

Referral Network

Referral network refers to a group of business owners and professionals who try to promote each other to gain more leads and sales. It’s a highly effective strategy for building business because it’s based on trust. Here’s why it works:

  • 92% of people in business trust referrals from people they know
  • 87% of front line sales reps, 82% of sales leaders and 78% of marketers agree that referrals are the best leads you can get
  • 86% of companies with a formalized referral program have increased revenues over the past 2 years (Source: Digital Intelligence Today)

What’s the best way to create one? Here are 4 best practices for building a referral network with an infographic.

  1. CONNECT WITH PEOPLE RELATED TO YOUR INDUSTRY: The first step to building a referral network is to dedicate time to meeting people in and outside your industry. To determine who this should be, ask yourself: What sort of products or services would your customers benefit from the most? Who are the best people to provide those products or services? Who are the best local providers for such products or services? What value can you provide for their customers?
  2. SEGMENT YOUR REFERRAL NETWORK: Evaluate connections and divide them into three segments: 1) Those most likely to need what you offer, 2) Related businesses in the same industry or who have the same Buyer Persona and 3) Totally unrelated businesses but important to your customers.
  3. HAVE A CHECKLIST FOR GIVING REFERRAL: When you give a referral to your one of your customers, base it on the following considerations: 1) RELEVANCE: Make sure a referral you give is relevant to their situation, 2) QUALITY: Refer only those who deliver on what they promise and 3) AUTHENTICITY: Avoid overrating a referral and keep your customer’s need the priority.
  4. MAXIMIZE VALUE OF YOUR REFERRAL NETWORK: Building the referral network is half the work.  You need to learn how to use the network so you and your connections can mutually benefit from the gains of each other. Consider: 1) Collaborating with people in your network on an assignment, 2) Use their products or services and 3) Offer them an incentive to use you on one of their assignment.

If most sales and marketing professional rate a referral network as their most effecting business building asset, why wouldn’t you have one?

Below is the infographic from Business Coaches Sydney on building a referral network for your business.

Do these best practices help you in creating one?

Referral Network

About the Author, Garret Norris: For over 15 years Garret has been one of Australia’s leading Corporate Sales, Management Training and Coaching organisations. Garret has been improving the performances of business Managers, Leaders and Sales Teams. Garret simply gets results!

10 top social selling best practices from 10 experts 0

Posted on May 01, 2016 by Rob Petersen

 

Social Selling best practices

  • 74% of B2B Buyer conduct more than half of their research online (source: Accenture)
  • 72% of salespeople using social media outperform their peers (source: Forbes)
  • 65% of buyer feel that the vendor’s content had an impact on their final purchase decision (source: Macalister Bali and Co.)

Social Selling is the process of researching, connecting, and interacting with prospects and customers on social media networks to provide value by answering questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.

Social Selling best practices are the methods and techniques that consistently show superior results and are used as a benchmark.

Here are 10 top Social Selling best practices from 10 experts.

  1. APPROACH AS MICRO-MARKETING: The biggest mistake people make is being afraid to move out of their comfort zone.  Just because you’ve been selling moderately well for the late 10 years, doesn’t mean that can change.  Trust me, the buyer has changed.  For the first time in human history, a buyer can gather information on nearly anything, without human interaction.  But they need human assistance to finish the purchase. – Jamie Shanks, CEO at Sales for Life
  2. MAKE YOUR BRAND EASY TO FIND THROUGH SOCIAL: When prospects start their purchasing cycle, having an established, highly visible social presence ups your chances of being in the right place at the right time—when they’re ready to buy. That accessibility also goes a long way to ensuring you’ll make their short list when decision time arrives. There are myriad ways to strengthen your social visibility. Don’t neglect the obvious ones, like including links to your social accounts in your email signature, updating your social profiles regularly, and staying engaged in the major prospect forums. – Gerry Moran, Global Head of Social Media, Cognizant Technology Solutions
  3. DO INTELLIGENT RESEARCH TO FIND THE RIGHT PEOPLE: Gone are the days when LinkedIn was ‘only’ a recruiting platform. A right search will lead you to the right person, therefore increasing your return on investment (ROI) considerably. The added advantage of knowing the right person in the circle of influence, will influence the decision-making process of the buyer. There are an average of 5.4 buyers in the B2B sales process. And if the influencers are included, there are an estimate of 10 people influencing the decision making. Connecting with the director and key influencing people in the company will provide you leverage among other sellers. – Mike Derezin, VP Sales Solutions, LinkedIn
  4. START A CONVERSATION BY SHARING VALUABLE EXPERTISE: Don’t only monitor your lists, connections, and groups. Actually share valuable expertise. Top executives know a generic marketing message when they see it, so you need to set yourself apart from the rest. The key to doing this is authenticity. Share your real opinions on specific sales matters. Comment on highly viewed LinkedIn publishing posts. Start a polite conversation with someone on Twitter about their viewpoint. Agree or disagree, but take a stance, and interact with others. – Megan Tonzi, Director of Marketing, AG Saleswork
  5. DEMONSTRATE VALIDITY AND TRUSTWORTHINESS: Social media plays a critical role in gaining credibility; everyone uses it, and if you aren’t using it, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of social data. So stay professional, use tact and remember to let connections happen organically. – Koka Sexton, Head of Social Media, LinkedIn
  6. GET REALLY GOOD AT CREATING RELEVANT CONTENT: Social selling has a strong streak of education to it. And while us buyers do want to control the sales process now, we love information. It’s just got to be relevant information. Send me irrelevant information, and you fall into the background noise. Send relevant information that’s just what I need to know right now and… well, I might just like you so much I’d get on the phone with you. – Pam Neely, Author at Act-On
  7. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOCIAL SELLING AND SOCIAL MEDIA: Revenue creation is the only differentiator between social selling and social media marketing. What is your goal? Is your goal to make a sale? Are you trying to generate interest in your product or service that will lead to an offline conversation? If yes, you are engaging in social selling. On the other hand, if your goal is to simply generate vanity metrics—followers, likes, shares, comments, etc.—with no actionable conversion metrics like SQLs created, accounts created, opportunities created, or revenue generating metrics like appointments, sales demos, conversations, closed deals and revenue, then you are engaging in social media marketing. – Lolly Spindler, Content Marketing Manager at xoombi
  8. MEASURE SOCIAL SELLING PROGRESS FROM LIKES TO LEADS: One of the challenges for social selling is that it does not operate like the traditional sales funnel. Sales leads and nurturing can jump across platforms and networks, and they can increasingly enter the funnel not just at the top, but much further down. Social teams now sit at a crux of sales and marketing that opens a huge and opportunity for them, but also requires those teams to understand the unique metrics and KPIs for sales and marketing, and how they intersect and overlap. – Henry Nofthaft Jr., Founder and CEO, Trapit
  9. KNOW THE NUMBER OF TOUCH POINTS IT TAKES TO CONVERT: Each company should analyze how many touch points they need to be trusted, to get a lead, to get a demo presentation, and to close a sale. At our company, we’ve discovered it takes 22 touch points to get a demo appointment scheduled (combination of digital and traditional prospecting). Of the 22 touch points, 13-15 are through social media. – Gabe Villamizar, Director of Social Selling, HireVue
  10. WORK AT IT CONTINUALLY: Social Selling is hard work performed over significant elapsed time. You must build a formidable, digitally based, personal brand that projects your unique promise of value. Then researching and connecting with executives, decision makers and influencers on ‘social’ takes time and skill. Nurturing social relationships with those executives by sharing content that is of relevance and value takes significant work, time and skill. However the rewards can be outstanding. Good social sellers can achieve over 90% success rate when making an approach to set up that first face to face meeting with a connection they have nurtured.  I see salespeople achieve it every day. – John Smibert, Manager and Facilitator, Strategic Selling Group

Below is an infographic from Sales for Life that details the state of Social Selling in 2016.

Do these social selling best practices help you see how social selling can work for you? And your company? Are you interesting in having a conversation about it?

socialsellinginfographic_2

37 facts on the future of social selling vs. cold calling 0

Posted on December 14, 2014 by Rob Petersen

 

 

 

social selling vs. cold calling

50% of sales go the first salesperson to contact a prospect (source: InsidesSales.com).

Social Selling is the use of social media to interact directly with prospects, answer questions and offer thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy. Social selling is not hard selling. In fact, it’s the opposite.

Cold Calling is the solicitation of business from potential customers who have had no prior contact with the salesperson conducting the call. 

You might say one is yesterday’s way of selling and the other is today’s.

  • Where is it going in the future?
  • Why has it changed?
  • Which means is most likely to get to the prospect first?

Here are 37 facts on the future of social selling vs. cold calling.

SOCIAL SELLING

  1. 98% of sales reps with 5000+ LinkedIn connections achieve quota (source: Sales Benchmark Index)
  2. 89% of customers begin their buying process with a search engine (source: Fleishman-Hillard)
  3. 80% of introductions generate a sale (source: DSWA)
  4. 75% of customers say they use social media as part of the buying process (source: IBM)
  5. 74% of B2B marketing companies use Twitter to distribute content (source: Content Marketing Institute)
  6. 72.6% of salespeople using social media outperformed their sales peers (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  7. 61% of US marketers use social media for lead generation (source: IBM)
  8. 55% of B2B buyers search for information on social media (source: MediaBistro)
  9. 54% who used social media tracked their social media usage back to at least one closed deal. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  10. 50.1% of sales people who report using social media state that they spend less than 10% of their selling time using social media (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  11. 50% of identified sales leads are not ready to buy (source: Gleanster)
  12. 47% larger purchases result from nurtured leads than non-nurtured leads (source: The Annuitas Group)
  13. 42% Follow or Like a friend or brand; 79% are motivated to do this in order to learn more about the brand (source: Fleishman-Hillard)
  14. Over 40% of salespeople say they’ve closed between two and five deals as a result of social media. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  15. Social media users were 23% more successful than their non-social media peers. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  16. Today’s sales process takes 22% longer than 5 years ago (source: SiriusDecisions)
  17. You are almost 5X more likely to schedule a first meeting if you have a personal LinkedIn connection (source: Sales Benchmark Series)
  18. Marketers spend an average of 4-6 hours a week on social media (source: Social Media Examiner)
  19. 2X higher ROI from email marketing than cold calling, networking or trade shows (source: MarketingSherpa)
  20. B2B marketers who use Twitter generate 2X as many leads as those that do not (source: Inside View)

COLD CALLING

  1. 91% of the time, cold calling doesn’t work (source: Harvard Business Review)
  2. 91% of customer say they’d give referrals; only 11% of salespeople ask for referrals (source: Dale Carnegie)
  3. 90% of C-suite executive say they never respond to cold calls or email blasts (source: Harvard Business Review)
  4. 82% of B2B decision makers think sales reps are unprepared (source: SiriusDecisions)
  5. Customers don’t want to deal with salespeople until they are 70% down the path of the buying process (source: HubSpot)
  6. 61% of marketers send leads directly to sales, despite the fact that only 27% of those leads are qualified (source: SalesForcce.com)
  7. 60% more expensive per lead than other methods (source: HubSpot)
  8. 57% of the buying process is done before sales contact (source: Corporate Executive Board)
  9. 8 attempts to reach a prospect today with a cold call vs. 3.68 in 200y (source: TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group)
  10. 8% of salespeople get 80% of sales (source: The Marketing Donut)
  11. 7 people in the average firm of 100-500 people are involved in a buying decision (source: Gartner)
  12. Only 5$ of business lead phone calls lead to a sale (source: DSWA)
  13. Only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment (source: Leap Job)
  14. Only 2% of sales occur at a first meeting (source: The Marketing Donut)
  15. Only 2 attempts are made by the average salesperson do reach a prospect (source: Sirius Decisions)
  16. 1 out of 250 salespeople exceed their targets (source: Harvard Business Review)
  17. Less than 1% of cold calls lead to a sale (source: DSWA)

These facts say we spend more time on search engines and social networks seeking out, researching and connecting with products we’re going to buy and the people who we want do to do business than we do on our phones. As a result, more of us believe we don’t need to speak to a salesperson until we are further along in the buying process.

When that time comes to speak to someone, the person who is most relevant and top of mind is more likely to be the contact that gets the business. And it’s more likely that person is going to be found through an association established on the internet and social media than it is a cold call.

And that’s now. So the trend is only going to move more in that direction for the future.

Do these give you facts for the future on social selling vs. cold calling? Could your business use help doing social selling better?

6 case studies prove Social Selling ROI 0

Posted on July 29, 2014 by Rob Petersen

 

 

Show me the ROI

Social Selling  is the use of social media to interact directly with prospects, to answer questions and offer thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy. It’s about discovering people who may eventually be interested in what you’re selling – then making yourself useful to them.

Last week, we published, 27 surprising facts about salespeople who are Social Selling. It was to give an overview of who’s doing Social Selling, how is being used and what are the results. This week, we’re telling some of the stories.

Case studies range from Fortune 500 companies to start ups. Size doesn’t matter. Steps to success always include:

  • Listening to social media for key topics that indicate an unmet need or pain point
  • Giving out relevant content or advice without worrying about getting something in return
  • Demonstrating the wherewithal to stay connected

Does Social Selling “Show me the money?” Here are 6 case studies that prove Social Selling ROI.

  • AT&T:  Put together a new sales team to re-build business relationships with a Fortune 100 company in Atlanta. They decided to take an entirely new approach that heavily favored building relationships through social media. They had to try something new.  Relationships with a key client had suffered in the past five years, creating strain and sales had dried up. With training from Mark Schaefer and support from our internal team, they began implementing a content strategy aimed at strategic “persons of interest” from the former customer. Inside of 18 months $47 million in brand new business was awarded to AT&T, directly attributable to social media outreach.
  • IBM: Traditional ways of finding B2B customers for hardware and software products – telemarketing and email – were not producing the same results when applied to selling web-based services such as cloud computing and data security. IBM launched a program called “intelligent listening” within social media to learn what conversations about cloud computing were going on, what trends and issues were being discussed, and what the hot-button topics in the field were for users. Sales reps could simply check an RSS feed, find some content that fit the context of any discussion they were seeing, and upload them to social media and also to their new individual rep profile pages within the IBM site. The result was 10 orders the first day, and orders for product during the quarter that were 4X higher than during the same time the year before.
  • INCONTACT: A call center software company, trained half their team to learn and engage with customers through Social Selling using LinkedIn and the marketing automation software, Eloqua. Within a year, the half of the team that was trained saw a  122% increase in revenue for those sales reps using LinkedIn; 157% increase in revenue for those sales reps using LinkedIn & Eloqua. Now the entire company is trained in Social Selling Here is a brief video to explain the story.

  • INDIUM:  Social Media in manufacturing is a rarity. Several of their engineers (17 or so, and 73 blogs.) write blog articles to share their expertise with customers, prospects and people who have questions about the technical applications related to solder. They shifted from traditional white papers to blog articles, supported by extensive measurements. Video is part of the mix too, to develop high value conversations, and this rolls over into trade show attendance. The video highlights key points for success and insights. SEO improved significantly. Leads increased significantly while trade-show costs  decreased 75%.
  • HUBSPOT: Focused social media on solving customers’ problems as a way to earn leads. For example, HubSpot is first to release guidebooks their target market needs to create success. When something changes in online marketing, HubSpot is there with a guide to manage the change. They share the best advice, fast and have earned a reputation as THE educational resource for the market they serve. They give knowledge and advice (content) away free and make sure it’s the very best stuff possible. This (now) famous software start-up exploded onto the scene in 2006. Two years later they hit $2.2 million in sales and $52 million 4 years later.
  • LOGMYCALLS: A call tracking service, practiced  a“150 Blog Posts in 50 Days” effort. “With a company our size, the commitment has to be significant in order to produce 3 unique and useful blog posts a day,” says Inbound Marketing Manager, McKay Allen. “After all, we also produce 2 original marketing webinars each week, monthly case studies, a variety of marketing White Papers, and some humorous and awesome marketing call tracking videos.” The result of this original and relevant content: An 400% increase in leads within 90 days.

Do these case studies prove the ROI of Social Selling to you? Could your organization benefit from Social Selling training?

27 surprising facts about salespeople who are Social Selling 0

Posted on July 20, 2014 by Rob Petersen

 

 

Social Selling

Social Selling is the use of social media to interact directly with prospects, to answer questions and offer thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.

Social selling is not hard selling. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s about discovering people who may eventually be interested in what you’re selling – then making yourself useful to them. For salespeople, especially in B2B industries, its purpose is to establish relevance to prospects rather than interrupt their daily lives with cold calls and sales pitches.

It’s not a buzzword. It’s a real way for generating revenue and results. Here are 27 facts about salespeople who are Social Selling.

  1. IBM saw an Increase of 400% in sales in a Social Selling Pilot Program (source: IBM)
  2. 98% of sales reps with 5000+ LinkedIn connections achieve quota (source: Sales Benchmark Index)
  3. 90% of C-suite executive say they never respond to cold calls or email blasts (source: Harvard Business Review)
  4. 89% of customers begin their buying process with a search engine (source: Fleishman-Hillard)
  5. 86% of IT buyers use social media in their purchase decision process (source: IDG Connect)
  6. 82% of B2B decision makers think sales reps are unprepared (source: SiriusDecisions)
  7. 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  8. 75% of customers say they use social media as part of the buying process (source: IBM)
  9. 75% of the sales people said they have not received formal training from their company on how to use social media (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  10. 74% of B2B marketing companies use Twitter to distribute content (source: Content Marketing Institute)
  11. 72.6% of salespeople using social media outperformed their sales peers (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  12. 61% of US marketers use social media for lead generation (source: IBM)
  13. 57% of the buying process is done before sales contact (source: Corporate Executive Board)
  14. 55% of B2B buyers search for information on social media (source: MediaBistro)
  15. 54% who used social media tracked their social media usage back to at least one closed deal. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  16. 50.1% of sales people who report using social media state that they spend less than 10% of their selling time using social media (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  17. 50%-70% of the buying process happens before salespeople get involved (source: Forrester)
  18. 50% of identified sales leads are not ready to buy (source: Gleanster)
  19. 42% Follow or Like a friend or brand; 79% are motivated to do this in order to learn more about the brand (source: Fleishman-Hillard)
  20. Over 40% said they’ve closed between two and five deals as a result of social media. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  21. Social media users were 23% more successful than their non-social media peers. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  22. Today’s sales process takes 22% longer than 5 years ago (source: SiriusDecisions)
  23. 15% of non social media users missed quota 15% more often than their sales peers using social media (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  24. More than 10% of the respondents said; “Yes, It directly contributes to my closes.” (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  25. You are almost 5X more likely to schedule a first meeting if you have a personal LinkedIn connection (source: Sales Benchmark Series)
  26. Marketers spend an average of 4-6 hours a week on social media (source: Social Media Examiner)
  27. B2B marketers who use Twitter generate 2X as many leads as those that do not (source: Inside View)

If a picture helps explain some of these statistics, below is an infographic from Inside View.

Do these facts about sales people who are Social Selling surprise you? Does your company engage in Social Selling? Do you think your company could be getting better results?

Social Selling Infographic

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