In the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin’s character Blake, famously delivers a macho and expletive-riddled motivational speech to an under-performing sales team, distilling for many sales people the essence of sales.
Of course, this essence was “ABC”, or “Always Be Closing”, a fundamental behaviour trait required in all sales people in order to get prospects across the line. Essentially a successful sales person is simply the one who is able to get the most new business signed from a selection of leads.
Within the speech Blake describes another common principle in sales and marketing; the “AIDA” model of “Attention, Interest, Decision and Action”. This model simplifies the steps that prospects and consumers take during the sales cycle. Combining the two for Blake, is the key to becoming a successful salesperson.
Then and now
Of course, since that movie, things have moved on. Leads are certainly not passed onto sales teams on pink cards anymore. Today, it’s all about CRM. As I have discussed in previous blogs, the advent of social media has changed things massively too.
Social media is now one of the most important inbound marketing channels for any business, B2B or B2C. Prospects use social media networks, as well as online communities, for inspiration, ideas on strategy and best practices.
Being “active” on social media is not going to cut it any longer. Social selling doesn’t start with you closing, but it does start with you influencing.
Before you think about your ABCs or AIDAs, start generating content
“Content is King”, OK? I don’t need to tell you that. What you may not appreciate however is the importance of that content, and the actual impact of it on business outcomes. In fact, salespeople who use social selling help enterprises on average gain an impressive 16% increase in year-one revenue, according to the Aberdeen Group.
Social selling starts with content.
I meet a lot of enterprises regularly, and I am still alarmed when they tell me that a content strategy wouldn’t work for their business because they don’t have enough to talk about.
I don’t agree with this, as there’s always something to talk about. Your first hurdle to overcome is the volume of content you’re producing. Is it too much, too little? Is it varied enough? After this, you need to start thinking about that content a little more strategically.
Always Add Value
This brings me onto the point of this blog; the new ABC of sales and marketing. Drum roll…your new ABC is… “AAV”, or “Always Add Value”.
What do I mean exactly by this? Think of content as a commodity. This content is valuable to you, but even more importantly, to your prospects. It has got to always add value to them. If it’s not adding value, then what’s the point of creating it? This is a simple, but often overlooked aspect of content marketing. Bland sales messages are out. Opinion and sharing is in.
How you can add value, easily
You have a great new product? Fantastic, then why not add value to your prospects by running a free webinar demonstrating its benefits? You’ve signed a great new customer…brilliant…how about creating a Case Study on them, and how you delivered on their expectations? How about getting them involved in the creation of that case study? You’ve got some amazing insights on a marketing or sales topic? Great, how about creating a whitepaper on it?
Simply put your prospects are far savvier today, and marketing channels, especially online and on social media networks, are so crowded that you need to be adding value to every single thing you do, to attract those vital prospects.
Merely announcing how great you are as a business or how great your product is on social media isn’t really adding much value to me as a prospect.
My final acronym is something I often talk about; it’s “AD”, or “Always Distribute”. Invest in a killer social media amplification platform (I know a good one – our own socialondemand!) that allows your marketing team to share targeted, relevant and timely content to your sales teams, employees, sales partners and other brand advocates.
After all, once you’ve gone through all of this effort to get a good content strategy in place, you want to make the most of it, don’t you?