Monday, November 14, 2016

Artful Dodgers

Open secret: B2B prospects are dodging salespeople.

It now takes 18 or more dials to connect with a B2B prospect over the phone, according to TOPO. Call-back rates are below 1%. And only 24% of sales' emails are ever opened.

The reason: reps put their own agenda above that of prospects, so prospects turn to peers for advice.

It's why 1 million B2B reps will lose their jobs to self-service e-com by 2020.

Two professors, Laurence Minsky and Keith Quesenberry, urge B2B reps to try "social selling."

"With social selling, salespeople use social media platforms to research, prospect, and network by sharing educational content and answering questions," they say in Harvard Business Review.

"As a result, they’re able to build relationships until prospects are ready to buy.

Social selling makes sense, because three of four B2B buyers rely on it to reach buying decisions.

A survey by Hubspot shows 72% of B2B reps who use social media outperform their peers, and more than half have closed deals as a direct result of social selling.

Reps can be sell effectively with social media by spending no more than 10% of their time with it, the professors say; but they need to be trained.

Marketers can provide that training, but often they don't want to.

The solution? Wrest social media from marketers and hand it to sales.

By providing a self-guided portal where reps can find marketers' content and share it with prospects on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, B2B companies can win over artful dodgers, the professors say.

"After all, social media is too important to be left to marketing."

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