Welcome to your sales weekly roundup for January 15-21. This week we’ve got the best of LinkedIn’s redesign, how to survive as a sales leader in the digital age, mind blowing B2B social networking stats and the benefits of a social-first strategy. Enjoy.
LinkedIn Desktop Redesign Puts Conversations and Content At the Centre
“Making it easier than ever to be productive and successful,” reads the tagline. What do you think? Do you like the changes to LinkedIn’s new interface? The interface is definitely more sleek, intuitive and insights-focused, but some functionality, as far as we’re concerned, has been lost—like visibility into one-to-one activity history between prospects, publisher analytics, and there’s still a lack of integration between LinkedIn and Navigator. In any case, here are some of the top highlights of the redesign:
1) Streamlined navigation and improved workflow. Users now have a grid-like bar at the top of their screen that allows streamlined navigation into Home (Your Feed), Messaging, Jobs, Notifications, Me, My Network, and Search. This grid-like bar also provides easier access into other integrations such as Navigator, Learning and other LinkedIn products.
2) Advanced search: There is one now one universal search box to easily find people, jobs, companies, groups and schools. Filter options are located on the right hand side, with the ability to search post reportedly coming soon. LinkedIn also says they’re investing in predictives to bring you the best results for any search query. LinkedIn’s also removed the ability to save searches, but we’ve heard they’re working to bring it back.
3) Better content insights: Users can now see who is reading and engaging with the content they share, including company, job title and location. However, as mentioned above, Publisher analytics have changed: They’ve removed the visual of views over time, as well as in-depth analytics on top industries, job titles location and traffic source. What do you think of the new update? Leave your thoughts on the new LinkedIn interface in the comment box at the end of this post!
Bringing [Sales] Leadership into the Digital Age
Digital transformation specialist, startup advisor and social selling evangelist Jill Rowley reflects on some key points made in the World Economic Forum’s latest report, which is centered around how today’s business leaders are responding to the digital disruption. Some key points of Rowley’s analysis on the report:
1) In today’s world, technical proficiency is a given; to be truly successful, leaders must enact emotional intelligence, “communication, interpersonal, teamwork, critical thinking, decision-making, and creative-problem solving skills.”
– Chief Commercial Officer at Xerox Kevin Warren highlighted this at a keynote address at a top educational leadership conference attended by Rowley.
2) “Many leaders don’t understand that effective sales strategies require an emphasis more on selling through service and insights, rather than through pushy pushy, in-your-face closing skills.”
– This means data-driven insights tailored to each prospect, rather than open-ended and clueless questions.
3) “A study by Russell Reynolds found that of the 300 largest companies in the United States, Europe and Asia, 217 had no digital board members.”
– Understand the role that digital thinking and new tech has on business, and create organizational change and leadership around this.
10 Mind-blowing B2B Social Media Stats and What Those Mean for B2B Companies
CEO at Midas Touch Consultants Radha Giri has picked crucial stats about B2B social media in an attempt to cut through the noise and provide some clarity around them. Our top three you should know about:
1) 80% of all B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn. Giri touts the benefits of having a presence on LinkedIn, LinkedIn Pulse and LinkedIn Groups: building thought leadership, connecting with the relevant audience and driving traffic to your website, to name a few. However, it should be noted this stat is now almost two years old and comes from Oktopost, a social media marketing platform that analyzed over 100,000 posts spread across only LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
2) 94% of B2B buyers conduct some form of online research before purchasing a business product. We couldn’t agree more with this stat, which comes from from Accenture Interactive’s 2014 State of B2B Procurement Study. Giri makes a really good point—which is, why would B2B sales be any different than B2C sales? We research extensively what we’re about to buy online before purchasing it, so why wouldn’t a CEO?
3) By 2020, 80% of the buying process is expected to occur without any direct human-to-human interaction. As AI, machine automation and big data take off, buyers can expect more touch points to be online . Giri highlights that this is both a good and a bad thing. Good for sales because it will most likely lower costs, and will level the playing field for many vendors. Bad for sales, well, because, you really need to put in the extra effort to make yourself stand out from the crowd. The biggest challenge will be to position your salespeople as consultative, rather than transactional sellers—both to ensure they continue winning business and have jobs down the road.
Social Selling — Be a Lighthouse, not a Searchlight
Social engagement today is a lighthouse—lighthouses send out beams of lights, guiding the way and explaining what they are and how they can help. Rather than the searchlight method of World War II, where armies scanned the sky until they came upon an enemy plane and shot it down, the lighthouse analogy is the way organizations should see their efforts today, points out CSO Insights’ B2B sales effectiveness research analyst Barry Trailer. His insights are based on the 2016 CSO Insights Sales Best Practises Study:
1) Having a social media policy in place for client-facing personnel is one of 12 behaviors associated with driving revenue.
2) 71 percent of world class sales organizations are doing this, compared to 13 percent for all others.
3) In addition, world class organizations are two years ahead of the rest of the pack when it comes to social engagement.