Social Media Tools in B2B Selling

Some quotes from Facts vs Fiction – Social Media Tools in B2B Selling posted on btbtraining.com on April 6th, 2009:

“[…] how effective are these new technologies in producing additional sales? and are they now, as has been claimed in some quarters already replacing established sales methodology and processes?

Well according to a new study by ES Research Group, Inc. (ESR), one of the leading research and advisory firms on sales effectiveness, social media tools such as Jigsaw, LinkedIn,Twitter, Plaxo, Facebook, Hoovers and OneSource may be useful for other purposes, but most of them aren’t helping sales teams close many B2B deals today. […]

Based on a survey of nearly 400 sales professionals in the U.S., the report found that only LinkedIn (86%) and Hoovers/OneSource combined (61%) were used by more than half of respondents in their selling efforts. Facebook (50%), Plaxo (48%), Twitter (31%), and Jigsaw (26%) trailed in use. […]

Of respondents actually using the tools for sales, Hoovers and OneSource were the only tools helping more than half (54%) of them win B2B sales sometimes or often. LinkedIn was next at 42% and Jigsaw followed at 35%. Worst were Facebook (15%), Plaxo (13%) and Twitter (13%).

“The results demonstrate that with all the hype and buzz, most social network tools aren’t helping sales teams sell more yet,” Said Dave Stein, CEO and founder, ES Research Group. “For example, Twitter has not come into its own as a salesperson’s tool. It is presently a marketing tool that can potentially benefit the sales organization by contributing to the generation and nurturing of new sales leads. For now, the use of sales methodologies integrated with CRM systems and other sales enablement tools are proving far more successful in driving sales.”

Other key findings include the following:

  • LinkedIn is clearly the favorite among B2B salespeople surveyed.
  • The established for-pay information services (Hoover’s and OneSource) came in second.
  • Free/low-cost information sharing services such as Jigsaw will rise in popularity over time.
  • Twitter is an anomaly. It will have a high degree of uptake, but in a very narrow market. Marketing will find the tool much more valuable than sales for the foreseeable future. Presently it is not a valuable mainstream medium for B2B salespeople.
  • For the time being, Facebook is best reserved for the personal and family sides of one’s life.

The ESR survey of sales representatives in a broad set of industries examined the prospecting process, the selling process, and the storage and retrieval of customer and prospect information.

No one doubts, the evolving role that social media technologies will play in the B2B selling environment, however the evidence clearly demonstrates that their present significance is no where near what some would have us believe. This is a topic of conversation that we will no doubt re-visit as the months and years go by. For now though, I applaud Dave and the ES research group for seeking out the facts of the matter, and for giving me the reassurance to continue to deliver the best advice for my customers and their sales people. […]”

 

Social Media Tools Not Ready for Prime Time in B2B Sales

April 07, 2009

“ES Research Group survey finds sales methodologies, CRM still most effective
According to a recent study by ES Research Group, Inc. (ESR), a research and advisory firm on sales effectiveness, social media tools such as Jigsaw, LinkedIn, Twitter, Plaxo, Facebook, Hoovers and OneSource are not helping sales teams close many B2B deals today. In fact, based upon ESR’s research, sales methodologies used in conjunction with CRM systems are far more effective in this regard.

The study, developed in cooperation with The TAS Group, surveyed nearly 400 sales professionals in the U.S. ESR’s “The New Social Media: Do They Enable B2B Selling?” report found that only LinkedIn (86 percent) and Hoovers/OneSource combined (61 percent) were used by more than half of respondents in their selling efforts. Facebook (50 percent), Plaxo (48 percent), Twitter (31 percent), and Jigsaw (26 percent) trailed in use. Note: Hoovers and OneSource are separate companies but were combined for survey purposes because of their similar services.

Of respondents actually using the tools for sales, Hoovers and OneSource were the only tools helping more than half (54 percent) of them win B2B sales sometimes or often. LinkedIn was next at 42 percent and Jigsaw followed at 35 percent. Worst were Facebook (15 percent), Plaxo (13 percent) and Twitter (13 percent).

“The results demonstrate that with all the hype and buzz, most social network tools aren’t helping sales teams sell more yet,” says Dave Stein, CEO and founder, ES Research Group. “For example, Twitter has not come into its own as a salesperson’s tool. It is presently a marketing tool that can potentially benefit the sales organization by contributing to the generation and nurturing of new sales leads. For now, the use of sales methodologies integrated with CRM systems and other sales enablement tools are proving far more successful in driving sales.”

Other key findings include the following:

• LinkedIn is clearly the favorite among B2B salespeople surveyed.

• The established for-pay information services (Hoover’s and OneSource) came in second.

• Free/low-cost information sharing services such as Jigsaw will rise in popularity over time.

• Twitter is an anomaly. It will have a high degree of uptake, but in a very narrow market. Marketing will find the tool much more valuable than sales for the foreseeable future. Presently it is not a valuable mainstream medium for B2B salespeople.

• For the time being, Facebook is best reserved for the personal and family sides of one’s life.
The ESR survey of sales representatives in a broad set of industries examined the prospecting process, the selling process, and the storage and retrieval of customer and prospect information.

“The New Social Media: Do They Enable B2B Selling?” contains ESR’s insights into each of the tools surveyed.
Free highlights of the survey can be found at The TAS Group. The full report is available for a fee at ESR Research.”

Source: Sales & Marketing Management

Web 2.0 tools and Sales 2.0 tools

Via his comment on this blog Nigel Edelshain shed some light on the origin of the term ‘Sales 2.0’:

“The definition of Sales 2.0 is still being nailed down.

It all started 3 years ago with a personal story of my frustration with being in sales. The definition I put out there was a “new way of selling” to show my frustration with how we sell today (the lack of science, repeatability and what I call “investability”). Some more pragmatic folk have helped make a more actionable definition around using Web 2.0 tools but the discussion continues.

Even though the discussion continues on the exact definition of Sales 2.0 there is real ROI NOW in some of the Sales 2.0 tools and techniques out there. And this ROI is continuing to build.

I believe this is just early days in something that can have a significant impact on sales effectiveness.”

So, what are the Web 2.0 tools and Sales 2.0 tools one has to check out?
In his blog post Don’t Become A Sales Dinosaur: Interview with Jill Konrath Chad Levitt from New Sales Economy.com got some answers from Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies and the Selling to Big Companies blog:

Jill Konrath: “Blogging, combined with my e-newsletter which has 20,000+ subscribers, has been my biggest way of establishing thought leadership in my market space. My goal is to become ubiquitous. Right now, my blog is syndicated by a number of other sites. I’ve also done a ton of webinars in the past few years. These are typically sponsored by an organization that’s selling to the same people I’m trying to reach, so it’s a real win-win to have my expertise marketed to their database.

“I’m also experimenting with several other social media vehicles right now. I have a Facebook page. I set up a Ning community for women sales experts. I have two LinkedIn groups too. I’m learning what it takes to lead a “Tribe”. I’m using Twitter as a way to deliver snippets of information and to share resources.

I’ve done a number of podcasts – but for other people to post on their website. I want to do my own, but there’s only so much time in the day. I’m also gearing up to do lots more videos so I can have a bigger presence on YouTube. I even did a Internet TV program a few weeks ago. […]”

Jill Konrath: “I started blogging 4 years ago. Since it’s only one of my many thought leadership initiatives, it’s difficult to determine which of my corporate clients have come through that door.

What I can tell you is that anybody who looks at my blog is convinced that I know my stuff! They can read my articles, listen to podcasts, sign up for some of my free webinars. It’s a great way to test my expertise before hiring me.”

Jill Konrath: “Sales 2.0 technologies make me drool – literally. From the moment I saw Jigsaw five years ago, I was hooked. The sheer amount of information that’s available today is amazing. Savvy sellers can leverage Sales 2.0 to get themselves in front of the right people at the right time with the right message – ultimately shortening their sales cycles, creating demand and differentiating themselves from competitors.

Here’s what sellers can do to get started.

  • For finding names, researching individuals, making connections, I love LinkedIn, Jigsaw, ZoomInfo, Netprospex, & Hoovers. I recently discovered Xobni too and was really impressed.
  • To leverage business intelligence, my favorites today are InsideView – which alerts you to user-selected trigger events; Genius – which allows you to know if a prospect opened your email, read it, forwarded to others and more.
  • To increase sales productivity, sellers can also use GoToMeeting or Webex to initiate conversations, demonstrate services, review proposals and more.”

[…]
Jill Konrath: “Be smart about sales. Each contact you have with a prospective client should be treated as the most important meeting in the world. That’s why it’s imperative to do your homework in researching the company and the individuals. It’s the price of admission.

But, you also need to leverage the information you learn in terms of creating customer-focused messaging, insightful questions, provocative statements, and spot-on presentations. Plan your meetings in advance, then review what you’ve created from the customer’s perspective. If it’s not relevant or tied to an urgent priority, you’re wasting everyone’s time. Plus, you’re killing your credibility. […]”

Sr. Field Marketing Manager – Sales Enablement, Global Online Display

Title: Sr. Field Marketing Manager – Sales Enablement, Global Online Display

Start Date: ASAP
Location: Seattle, WA
Date Posted: 3/14/2009

Description
As a member of the newly formed Global Online Display Advertising group, the Sr. Field Marketing Manager will be part of building a world class marketing organization from the ground up. We are seeking a seasoned marketing professional who can develop the functional departments needed to launch our online display advertising business to the digital advertising world. The Sr. Field Marketing Manager will oversee a team of individual contributors and report into to the Director of Business Management and Yield for Global Online Display Advertising.

This role will require a solid background in media sales, experience in sales enablement and building out best practices relating to sales effectiveness, as well as the ability to influence and work collaboratively across sales, operations and product development teams.

Specific functions are as follows:

Go-to-market — a core responsibility of the Trade Marketing team will be to deploy ad products to the sales team via scalable and efficient communication channels. Go-to-market involves the preparation of highly effective sales tools, ensuring a seamless sales process, communicating to offices throughout the world, education of product information to the entire organization, and the development of case studies to influence future sales.

Field Marketing — develop an effective event presence at major advertising industry and category events. The presence must deliver measurable results in terms of leads, brand awareness, client touch points, etc.

Training — development of an on-going training program to educate new sales staff on navigating the organization, positioning the offering to the marketplace, selling skills and product information. These programs must deliver top-notch sales staff and constantly address the ever changing challenges of the digital advertising industry.

Research — to achieve thought leadership, the research function of Trade Marketing should assemble research tools in order to win business from the advertising community. This involves competitive intelligence, advertising effectiveness studies, synthesizing of syndicated research, and membership to research organizations.

Public Relations — Trade Marketing will be responsible for positioning our online advertising business to the trade publications to drive positive buzz and interest amongst the advertising community. This may include the placement of ad buys, response to inquiries from the media, press releases during notable events, and act as the liaison to Amazon Corporate on external communication efforts.

Brand Management — creation of a new brand to achieve recognition in the marketplace. This involves the development of the brand, collateral standardization, messaging, and brand principles.

Qualifications
Our ideal candidate will have:

  • Deep knowledge of the advertising community
  • Financial and budget management skills
  • An ability to manage and negotiate with vendors
  • An understanding of online media fundamentals (how media is bought and sold, pricing models, optimization and targeting)
  • Channel marketing and event management experience
  • An ability to drive performance metrics which can deliver a positive ROI
  • Solid presentation skills to win stakeholder approval
  • 7-10 years marketing, relationship marketing or online marketing preferably in a recognized consumer or technology organization/brand
  • MBA or equivalent experience