Monday, August 30, 2010

Social Media is not Selling

I’m fairly new to the social media scene and certainly don’t consider myself an expert in the field. So it may be best to regard this as an early observation.

In order to get an understanding of what social media is about I decided to follow some of the more obvious thought leaders in social media including @thinktankmedia and @smcmelb for a local perspective and @mashable for an international perspective. Interestingly most had initially bypassed Linkedin having started in social media from a marketing or blog background.

I recently attended a gathering for @smcmelb and was amused at the reticence of attendees to engage. Most of them were busy using their various smartphones to check the latest stream of witty comments. I was specifically there to meet people as I’m recruiting for some sales roles, so widening the network helps. It was better after the presentation but I’m sure that was an effect of the wine. This probably explains why social media clubs like to gather in a bar!

My observation is, apart from a few, most social media experts get there from two perspectives:
1) Marketing People using a new medium, or
2) Technical experts who understand how to configure the applications.
It reminds me of the time when every person who could run a PC suddenly became a “Desk Top Publishing” expert. Just because you can drive word processor, or blogger, it doesn’t mean you can increase revenue for any company, especially your own. Likewise, having a twitter account or facebook fan page does not make you capable of engaging a market or selling a service.

Whilst social media is great for brand awareness, product and business, and can be a great source for leads, business to business sales for any complex product or service still requires a structured sales process.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Consultative Selling Lessons for Labor and Liberal Parties

I happened across this tweet from @fast_thinking The Public Private NBN Divide. and it reminded me that unless you are aiming to meet the business goal of the client, you will inevitably fall back to trying to sell product features and benefits and this always leads to a price comparison.

Often, the client is left trying to choose between benefits that, in the end, do not make much difference to the goal of the client. In this case, both solutions can handle a simple video conference. If you are not across the relative merits of the technology, it will become obvious that the discussion falls back to price.

This is great for the Liberal and National Party but disastrous for the Labor Party and the Greens.

But if your goal is to improve health in regional Australia then a simple video conference in not going to make the grade.

I think the spin doctors in Canberra can do with some consultative sales training.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why is hiring sales people such a risky and expensive business, when it doesn’t need to be.

I interviewed a candidate for a sales manager role this week. When I asked her to describe an experience of having to sack a sales person for non performance she gave me the following story….

The CEO wanted to establish an operation in Sydney. The organisation provides professional training to engineering staff. The decision was made by the CEO to establish an office, hire 3 trainers, and hired a sales person that had a good resume and interviewed well.

Five months later, after giving the sales person extensive induction training and then additional hands on support they let him go. He was just not performing, and yet during the hiring process, which was rigorous, our candidate seemed perfect for the role.

Total direct cost of this exercise was $750,000. This included the cost of the office lease, the salaries of the three trainers and the salary of the sale person; other additional costs that could have been included are the cost of recruitment or the cost of lost opportunities. This was a very expensive exercise as a result of failing to hire a top performer in just one role.

If you want to know if the sales person can do the job, I can help you from making the same very expensive mistake.

Visit this site to find out more and organise for more information that explains the challenges of hiring.