It’s an amazing time for sales and business development leaders in the financial services industry right now.
The net impact of social network platforms is positive.
Using web tools and social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter to reach and engage your audience is being referred to as Sales 2.0 and Social Selling.
The problem is, most sales and BD professionals have:
a) Relied on yesterday’s tools
b) Not adapted to buyer behaviour
It wasn’t too long ago that I also was making the same mistakes prior to BinaryM.
The rate of adoption in the last 10 years has happened at lightning speed. It took 75 years for the telephone to connect 50 million people, compared to Facebook where it took 3.5 years.
It took LinkedIn about 6 years. LinkedIn launched in May of 2003 and reached 50 million users in 2009.
It took Twitter 4 years. Twitter launched in March of 2006 and reached 50 million users in 2010.
Relying on yesterday’s tools.
If you still rely on buying static lists (which go out of date the minute you buy them), sending cold eDMs, cold calling, sponsor industry events and advertise in trade publications. I’ve got bad news for you. You’re fighting an uphill battle. Once upon a time this was effective, and you probably can guess how the rest of the story goes.
I’m not saying you should stop using the above tools and methods, I’m saying the use of social networks is something that should be considered in your overall sales and business development strategy, because for most organisations, particularly across financial services, social marketing is overlooked.
I also don’t mean posting a comment, liking a few posts, connecting and following a few people on LinkedIn and Twitter randomly. These are just short term tactics which may not support your longer term goals if they’re not congruent with broader sales and marketing objectives.
What I mean is starting first by asking yourself the right questions to help inform your sales and BD strategy, to then help you assemble the right combination of tactics.
Here are ten questions worth noting and ones that you should be discussing with your marketing folk:
- Validating and sizing your audience to understand which social networks are relevant
- How will you reach and grow your addressable audience within the relevant social network (individual profiles or company pages or both?)
- Should you use an organic or paid approach or a combination?
- How do you coordinate and work with marketing to align with broader sales and marketing objectives?
- What technology, if any, should be used?
- How do we measure success using a data driven approach?
- What role and how does content fit into the picture?
- How do you orchestrate a way to ensure communication across individual social profiles are inline with communication and brand guidelines?
- How do you manage the data between the social network and your CRM?
- Who are your internal stakeholders you need onboard?
Adapting to buyer behaviour.
Following a robust sales process and having great soft skills is great, but if you are fishing in an empty pond you will go home hungry every time.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will know that the use of social networks is a common source of information and for peer-to-peer communication, it’s where the majority of the attention is currently.
The modern buyer has never been more informed and everything is just a Google search away. Online is the start of the buying journey:
- We can reach and connect with almost anyone at the click of button
- We have access to more content and insights than ever before about everything and everyone ( your audience is more informed than ever before)
- We are expected to have individual digital profiles (eg. A professional LinkedIn profile)
- We consume a lot more ultra short form content, but we also consume a lot more long form content
- People trust and are influenced by their peers via social networks more than ever
LinkedIn for example has over 100,000+ pieces of organic content posted every week on its platform, 562+m users (and still growing), you can communicate directly via messaging and 40% of users login daily.
LinkedIn also has a very high penetration rate compared to other geographies with almost half the Australian population registered on the network.
Ask the right questions.
I’d like to see sales and business development leaders across the financial services industry adapt to the modern world faster, and not just follow a process without understanding why. If it requires shaking the tree and disrupting your own organisation, so be it, because doing nothing might not be viable. It needs to start with asking some of the right questions first.
First to get this right will win, and win big.
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