Sales has a new beginning – Demand Generation 2.0

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So here is an interesting story of a security products company that is using social media – no, not in marketing – but in sales.

Sales teams have always been the key connector to the customer base. But in the last few years sales got in trouble for hundreds of reasons that I don’t want to repeat here.

So here is what happened at Company S. After some weeks and months exploring what sales could do better than in the past, the company implemented a new social selling model in its outbound customer acquisition team.

Before:
A team of 25 did primarily cold calling and emailing prospects trying to setup appointments or getting a demo scheduled. The average call out volume was 80 calls a day, the top sales people did close to 100 a day. Typically 10 people where reached and 1 to 2 appointments could be setup. Some of the team mates called for three days to get only one appointment. It looked like a rather typical scenario. Team mates rotated or were replaced within a year as the burnout rate in that business is very high.

The new beginning:
In an initial experiment we started with three people for a “social outreach initiative” 1 hour a day. The task was to identify the prospects social presence and then learn what is on top of their mind by reading what they communicate. In most cases it was everything but the company’s products. Over the course of two weeks the sales team was able to connect and build social relationships. Pretty much the same way as the golf playing superstars build relationships with their clients without pitching a product or promotion.
As a result, the prospects communicated with the sales team and both began to understand each other’s tasks. If a security product was of any interest, it was rather likely to get a presentation or an introduction to a person who the company should present to.

The number of touches within that one hour per day reached the 30 mark and it became quickly obvious that two hours a day would get to 60 touches and four hours to 120. In other words the new outreach initiative would get to the same number of contacts in half the time. The success rate even grew twice as much. Out of the 30 connections 4 agreed to have a conversation about the product. That was more than the 100 calls a day achieved in the past.

Obviously it is important to provide social media tools to the team to alleviate distraction, and get the team straight to the clients profiles, track touches, last connection and more. Those tools also act as an important feedback mechanism to teach the teams to be most effective in their engagement.

In the following weeks the program was expanded to four hours a day social outreach program and 4 hours calling. The program not only was more successful but the burnout rate of the team was reduced through this more diverse work pattern.

6 month later
The company decided to do no more cold calls. Phone calls were only “permitted” after the contact had a social engagement or the prospect was not to find in the social web.

The implementation of the whole program took only a few hours of developing a strategy and a plan and training for the sales team how to use social connections, the do’s and don’ts and best practices to keep the relationships over time.

The team named it “Office Golfing”, based on the thought now we can do from our office what the sales stars do on the greens.

After 9 month: 2 of the 25 people left the team because they couldn’t get acquainted with “the social media thing”. The average daily outreach grew to 200 touches per day and then slowed down to 150 as more and more conversation happened. The 1-2 appointments per day per person grew to 7 per day so far. The team is spending most of the time now with their clients in the social web. Clients appreciate the attention and the social touch of the organization.

Marketing is now shifting gear to provide leads with more and better social credentials (the lead quality discussion will never stop) and involving social media monitoring tools to identify additional conversations relevant to their business.

Sales had an all new beginning.
On Nov 18 we show how it works in a live demo http://bit.ly/SCRM1118

Axel
http://xeesm.com/AxelS

Axel Schultze
CEO of Society3. Our S3 Buzz technology is empowering business teams to create buzz campaigns and increase mentions and reach. S3 Buzz provides specific solutions for event buzz, products and brand buzz, partner buzz and talent acquisition buzz campaigns. We helped creating campaigns with up to 100 Million in reach. Silicon Valley entrepreneur, published author, frequent speaker, and winner of the 2008 SF Entrepreneur award. Former CEO of BlueRoads, Infinigate, Computer2000. XeeMe.com/AxelS

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