A Cure for Failing Sales Teams
Sander Biehn is founder and CEO of Thought Horizon, LLC. After a successful career in sales at AT&T, he founded his company in 2013 helping organizations to build, manage and succeed using social selling.
Recently, Inc Magazine identified the top culprits that topple success for any business to business (B2B) sales team. In this post, I am going to prescribe some help and comfort to many of the symptoms outlined in Inc Magazine. Social media may not be a cure-all for Sales, but it does offer some relief for many common problems we see today.
1) Not Using Social Media Effectively
Ok, so this is an easy one to start with. If there was ever a reason to start a social selling program at your company, this is it. According to Inc, by simply educating your sales teams on how to use social media, you will have a better chance of succeeding.
2) Psycho Dialing and Voice Mails
We’ve all heard it before, sales is a function of creating opportunities. And opportunities boil down to prospecting and calling. However, when we call our customers too regularly, they get tired of us. On the other hand, the danger of not communicating is also high. What if they forget we exist? The question remains; how do you strike the right balance? Social media to the rescue. It is a passive communications channel that doesn’t interfere with the daily routine of our customers. In fact, they expect from their social network content posted on social that educates. If you can become that consistent and reliable source, you will win their hearts and keep your face in front of them.
3) Sending the ‘Just Checking In” Email
This is a variation on the theme of number 2. I worked for almost 20 years trying to create the perfect “Just Checking In” email and here is what I have found. It doesn’t exist. You might as well just send any old email. If the client is willing and ready to talk they will respond. The pressure is off! But be sure to use the “Checking In” email sparingly or you run the risk of alienating your prospect. Stay in touch using social media and content sharing and you may avoid needing to ‘check-in’ altogether. Your customer may even (Gasp!) call you!
4) Lack of Pre-Sale Work
The other day I was in a meeting when a real professional walked in. He was a new vendor and greeted everyone in the room by name even though he had never met any of them. The effect on the audience was palpable. Doing your homework is the difference between good and great. No better place to find out where your customer went to school, who they know in common and what they look like than by leveraging social listening.
5) Bashing the Competition
I ended with this one because it is symptomatic of what starts to happen after any of the other symptoms of failure have already taken root. To avoid it, your sales team needs positive things to say about your company. If they have the right messages about your strategic advantages, then there is no reason to ever go on the defensive. Having a content marketing plan isn’t enough. They also need a way to share those messages on their personal social media. Well-armed, you can avoid having your sales teams go ‘negative’ on the competition in front of prospects.