Posts Tagged ‘ Sales Meetings ’

Who leads the charge in Social Media? Marketing, PR, Sales, Customer Service?

Who leads the charge in Social Media? Marketing, PR, Sales, Customer Service?

Customer Service, Sales & Marketing; Who leads?

Social Media is a ‘new’ way to sell.  Selling is, after all, about relationships. People do business with people that they “like” and merely having a website, literature, advertising,etc. isn’t going to generate revenue.
What Social Media is doing is creating a new paradigm.  I know that that sounds cliché. But I believe that it’s creating a new “type” of business.  Traditional marketing adapted, very successfully in the 1980’s thru 1990’s, to creating websites after they had experience in graphics, advert buys, copywriting and literature development. It was a natural evolution.

However, Social Media has created an environment where front line sales and front line customer service people are directly affected.  Frankly, the people who tend to “get it” are the folks in the sales and CRM areas: It makes sense to them. It’s about one-on-one relationships. It’s what they already do.

I’ve spoken to a great deal of sales people who have expressed concerns about their “marketing” departments not “getting it”  Not that that “disconnect” is a new phenomenon, but now they are seeing how it can directly affect their income…. and they want more control so they can make more money, have better relationships and  sell more.

I read an article over twenty years ago that said “Small companies spend years trying to become big companies and big companies are constantly trying to figure out ways to become as responsive, nimble, and aggressive as small companies.”  The reality is that the people who are the best salespeople don’t always make the best managers and the best managers are not generally the best salespeople (Yes, there are always exceptions.)

As companies get bigger they create marketing, customer service and sales departments. Marketing management consults sales management and, in good faith, creates tools for the field.  Sometimes they get it right. Sometimes they don’t.  Sometimes sales management doesn’t always “get what the sales people need. In the new Social Media paradigm, marketing will work more closely with sales and customer service.  Marketing will create the tools and sales and customer service will USE them with and insight role for marketing.  Note, I said “insight” and not “oversight”. That loss of control could take some getting used to, but THAT is what is going to drive ROI.

So, I suspect we are going to see a “blending” of sales PR, CRM and marketing functions.  I also think we are going to see new leaders sprout up within this new paradigm. Their backgrounds could be in marketing, customer service and/or sales.  Social Media converges these traditionally separated business units and skill sets.

I have spoken to a number of traditional marketing people who have approached me to ask a variety of questions about social media.  More often than not I find that there is a certain level of discomfort: “I don’t know these products” “I don’t know these services in that level of detail”  In fact, I sat in on a marketing webinar recently and listened to the moderator say “We’re getting a lot of comments about how people are uncomfortable talking about budgets and ROI. If you’re not comfortable talking about budgets you should take a sales class, we can’t help you with that”  The marketing folks that “get” selling and understand that something has to be sold in this new paradigm will be successful.

Certainly delivering “analytics” is valuable but when it comes down to the brass tacks someone has to sell something and there has to be a demonstrated ROI for social media. You can’t just come in, build it, create graphics and say “Here’s how you measure it”.  You have to “DO IT” and/or

…. you have to train.  Unlike traditional marketing that would create a website and great landing pages, now marketing has to either become much more intimate with the products or services, they have to know how to “sell,” or they need to know how to “train” people how to use the new sales tools… and it is my belief that THAT is what Social Media tools are: Sales Tools.  Marketing need not learn the product or service nuances, they need to teach the right people how to use them…

man’s got to know his limitations Lieutenant Briggs

As a result of Social Media I think we will see marketing, sales, and customer service arrive in the space together, each bringing a “piece” of what they are good at to create something new. I think the tool has finally arrived that can make everyone more responsive, nimble, and aggressive. Now the trick is to get the tools in the right hands and the right leadership in place.


Successful implementation of Social Media tools gets everyone working together in the engagement


As always, your comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.  If you would like to discuss this in more detail feel free to contact us at our website: Rapid Production Marketing

Image 1 from: Battalion Wars n-Europe

Image 2 from: Battalion Wars Gamespy

Battalion Wars is an integrated battle strategy game… You might be surprised what your kids are learning from “gaming”


UPDATE: March 7, 2011

Here’s a link to several articles on the same subject:

Social Media’s Little Image Problem (or how to work for fame and glory)

A Day in the Life of Your Friendly Community Manager

The Hectic Schedule of a Social Media Manager




Using Social Media Tools: LinkedIn as a Selling Tool

We’ve covered quite a bit of topics about how to set up Social Media accounts, demographics and details of how they work.

The question that seems to be arising now is “How do I use the tools?”

How to use LinkedIn for selling

Anyone who has been in sales for any amount of time has heard at some point the importance of developing “Rapport” with customers.  Selling, after all, is a process. There are various selling “systems” out there but all of them start with the first step: Rapport

Rapport is one of the most important features or characteristics of subconscious communication. It is commonality of perspective: being “in sync” with, or being “on the same wavelength” as the person with whom you are talking.

There are a number of techniques that are supposed to be beneficial in building rapport such as: matching your body language (i.e., posturegesture, etc.); maintaining eye contact; and matching breathing rhythm. Some of these techniques are explored in neuro-linguistic programming.

The first time a salesperson has a meeting with a new “prospect” they are looking for things that they might have in common with the person.  This could be a hobby, an interest, or even a discussion about something in the office.  The main idea of building rapport is to demonstrate that you are “human” and not just interested in taking someone’s money. It’s about developing a level of trust.

Often times this step in the selling process is one of the most difficult and can be very time-consuming.  LinkedIn offers a solution.  By inviting a new “prospect” to connect with you on LinkedIn you can accomplish several steps in rapport building all at the same time. IF your profile is complete.

With a complete LinkedIn Profile your new contact can find out more about you, your hobbies, your interests, the books you’ve read, the recommendations you have received, and potentially know some people whom you are already connected to whom they trust.

Sandler Sales Systems Submarine: Rapport is the 1st Step


It’s actually pretty simple.

However, that’s why it’s of critical importance to complete your LinkedIn profile.  If you can’t communicate your experience, your background, or don’t have any recommendations, then you’re not going to be able to use this social media tool effectively.

Here’s what you should complete:

  1. Summary – Complete your summary.  It’s really what it sounds like.  Tell everyone your background and skill sets so they know your strengths.
  2. Profile Picture – A picture is worth thousand words.  It’s also helpful if you are meeting someone for the first time.  Now they know what you look like and you’re not saying “I have a blue jacket and wear glasses” Here’s a LINK to an older article about profile pictures LinkedIn that I think you’ll find useful.
  3. Experience – Merely putting down the company name and a your job title isn’t going to cut it.  If  you want to build rapport, you’ll need to add details about your experience.  If you have been in sales for any amount of time you will dread meeting someone for the first time and their expectations and yours about the nature of the conversation are 180 degrees apart.  What you do, what your experience is, is NOT what they are looking for to begin with.
  4. References – At some point in a sales career you will be asked for references.  References and recommendations are sometimes seen as a stall tactic. More often than not, it’s because the salesperson hasn’t developed enough rapport or trust with a prospect.  LinkedIn provides you with a ready-made way to provide references before the meeting.  That’s just one reason why you should be asking your most trusted connections, those whom you have had professional experiences with, for a recommendation.

Essentially, by using LinkedIn as a sales tool you “shorten the cycle.”  That first meeting, whether it be on the phone or in-person, tends to move forward with much more ease as both parties are already familiar with each other, have some rapport built, and can get down to the business at hand quicker. This makes everyone much more efficient in the use of their time.

There are several other items on your LinkedIn profile you want to look at as well, but these were covered in an earlier posting entitled “Social Media 101 For Mfg, part 1: LinkedIn” You may want to take a quick peek at the article if you haven’t already.

As always, your comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.  If you would like to discuss this in more detail feel free to contact us at our website: Rapid Production Marketing


Conducting Distributor Sales Meetings

Many times manufacturers set up sales meetings to introduce new products or new contacts for their company but do not set any goals or objectives for the sales meeting and the desired outcomes. If you want to stand out from the rest of the presenters then you should have an action plan in place.

Just like building a house, or making a part, you need to start with a blueprint.

Before we get into some nuts and bolts let’s take a look at the sales funnel process:

The Sales Funnel

The Sales Funnel

All sales meetings should be based upon an understanding of the sales funnel model:

  • Awareness: Train the sales force how to identify best prospects with 3-5 key prospect identifiers.
  • Interest: Train the sales force how to highlight 3- 5 primary features/benefits of your products to stimulate interest at the end-user level
  • Desire: Set follow-up meetings with vendor representatives and end-users.
  • Action: Sell the products!

Vendors fail to realize that distributor sales people may see several presentations in the course of a sales meeting day and hear multiple presentations. In the process of learning about the items you’ve got to remember that the salespeople will only retain 20% of what you talked about 1 week later and only 5% after one month.

If you can accomplish nothing else, the best method is to pick out several key points to highlight. Enough information for the field sales force to go out and “get themselves into trouble” Remember, at the outset you are merely trying to create awareness of the product or service. Keep it simple. You can go into detail but you want to control the information that will be retained and repeated to the end-users.

The goal of the sales meeting is NOT to close an order the next day, although that does happen, but to teach the sales people at your distributor “how to fish” and “how to find fish”

The following is some basic information your might want to use as a template and you can use/modify to suit your needs. These will be the basis of the sales meeting. We would like this information completed as much in advance of the sales meeting so that we can begin to identify prospects for your products.

Individual sales meetings with any vendor/manufacturer should be limited to 1 – 1 ½ hours. In an effort to insure that you cover all of the important issues it’s a good idea to set up a standard agenda format. A sample agenda follows. Obviously, if there is already a working relationship it’s not always necessary to go through every item. Although, if new salespeople have been hired and you’ve never gone over some of these items don’t be surprised if they don’t know.

NEVER ASSUME that what you have said is retained unless you’ve said it a million times

Sample Sales Meeting Agenda
1. Introduction and Background Bio /Experience
2. Review of Discounts
3. Review Policies and Procedures
a. Test Tool Policy/Guaranteed Trial Orders
b. Order Entry
c. Shipping/FOB Points
d. Returns/ Restock
e. Sample Tools/Trunk Stock
4. Review of key contacts inside, outside and engineering
5. Product Identifiers
6. Product Features/Benefits
7. Wrap-up Questions
8. Setting future field work schedules with the sales force

Prospect Identifiers
Identify 3-5 target prospect ‘identifiers’. This could be a type of machine, a type of material, an operation, etc. This should be followed by a questions that outside salespeople should ask about this item that they have now recognized.

An example is as follows:
Identifier 1: Cross hole burrs
Question: How to you debur those burrs? By hand? In a deburring machine? A deburring tool in the machine?

Identifier 1: ______________________________________________________
Question 1: ______________________________________________________

Identifier 2: ______________________________________________________
Question 2: ______________________________________________________

Identifier 3: ______________________________________________________
Question 3: ______________________________________________________

Identifier 4: ______________________________________________________
Question 4: ______________________________________________________

Identifier 5: ______________________________________________________
Question 5: ______________________________________________________

Key Features/Benefits
Identify 3-5 key features and benefits of your product or service. Many Manufacturers/vendors have a broad product offering and many products within that offering. However, you sell several products which have made you a market leader in certain segments. The GOAL is to talk about these key products and their advantages over the competition. Limit any detailed or in-depth exploration of technical features at the outset. Understand, that you can go over them in the course of the meeting The goal of these is to enable the sales force to stimulate enough interest to set up an appointment with you and their end-user. During those meetings our sales force will gain more in-depth product knowledge.

It’s also a good idea to layout your agenda in the form of a “cheat sheet” and tell the sales force at the outset of the meeting what you intend to cover. The agenda and lists are very useful to pass out at the outset so that the sales force can take notes. This is important. I’ve sat in sales meetings that start off fantastic. The sales force is very very impressed… but at some point in the meeting you start to see sales people’s eyes close, yawning, stretching, and then the presenter says “Ok, now we’ll begin to cover the next product” and you can almost hear everyone’s brain screaming “OH MY GOD, this is going to go on FOREVER!” Don’t let that happen to you.

You might also include in your list room for the salespeople to make some “Prospect notes” As you are talking the sales people may think of some of their customers who might be interested RIGHT NOW in something you say. It’s a good idea to review this with them at the end of the meeting and find out “Who has a list of people that we should talk to right now? Should we schedule some work times?”

Product 1: ______________________________________________________
F/B 1: __________________________________________________________
Prospects: ______________________________________________________

Product 2: ______________________________________________________
F/B 2: __________________________________________________________
Prospects: ______________________________________________________

Product 3: ______________________________________________________
F/B 3: __________________________________________________________
Prospects: ______________________________________________________

Product 4: ______________________________________________________
F/B 4: __________________________________________________________
Prospects: ______________________________________________________

Product 5: ______________________________________________________
F/B 5: __________________________________________________________
Prospects: ______________________________________________________