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A Boardroom Solution: Social Selling

By Sander Biehn | Dec 10, 2015

When discussing disappointing revenue results in the boardroom, moving the conversation away from current personnel and failings gives everyone a path forward and keeps the discussion positive.  By turning the lens toward what’s new in the world of marketing and sales, a much more fruitful conversation follows.  Social marketing and selling is a perfect example.

Consider this all-too-familiar scenario: Eyeballs around the boardroom table narrow and then fall to the page as the quarterly report is passed around.   Discouraging results foretell an afternoon of long discussions about where the path to growth was lost.  The management team is looking to the board for advice on how to right the ship.

The solutions to these big problems cannot be found on the pages in front of them, though.  In fact, the answers are not likely to be found by any closed discourse or rearrangement of the team the room can conjure.  New ideas are needed. New ideas that only an outside firm can offer, and it is now incumbent on those around the boardroom table to suggest some fixes to the management.

No place is this more telling than when talking about flagging sales results. Lackluster results deflect executive ire onto perceived ineffective marketing and sales. The inevitable conversation about personnel ensues.

One place that advisors are making an impact for the companies they consult with is around social media marketing and selling.  While the importance of social media is a daily headline in The Wall Street Journal, very few companies (and even fewer B2B-focused enterprises) are taking advantage of social media in a meaningful way.  Here are some of the problems a coordinated Marketing and Sales strategy on social can address:

  1. Why are sales of our new products slower than those of our legacy products?

Getting a long-standing sales and marketing team to change focus is extremely difficult. Companies need to take advantage of online content with a more ‘top of funnel’ approach for the new products.  Perhaps aiming efforts at a different market vertical is also needed. Changing an online presence and focus is much easier than demanding sales and marketing teams work a new set of priorities. Additionally, it doesn’t require the team take their eyes off servicing existing clients.

  1. Why don’t we seem to be talking to the right level decision-maker?

Targeting specific job titles with content written expressly for them is one of the key features of a coordinated marketing and sales social selling program.  Instead of trying to hire more sales people with a rolodex, social is often a less expensive and more effective solution to boost sales. Using Marketing content to open doors and provide thought leadership drives engagement and funnel activity for sales.

  1. Why is the sales funnel flagging?

Bolstering the funnel where it needs it most is another way social media can help sales and marketing. Are there too few leads? Creating more top of funnel content can help. Are deals being lost to the competition during the final evaluation? Concentrating online marketing and social conversations later in the buyer’s journey will bring the funnel back to health.

  1. Should we hire more sales people or reorganize current staff to meet our business plan?

 A social selling approach takes this question off the table. Because online selling allows the team to do more with less, implementing social selling can act as a precursor to any potential reorganization. Additionally, analytics derived from social media will point to just how to reorganize, if needed at all.

Being prepared with suggestions to leverage social media can change the tenor of a difficult board meeting.  Offering solutions around social media is just one way of providing value for the companies you advise.