In a recent training engagement with experienced B2B originators, I looked up their profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to familiarize myself with the students. How many do you think were active social media participants or even had an updated LinkedIn profile? None. Zip. Zero. I was shocked.
When I asked why this was the case, many participants responded they didn’t feel it was necessary. Their strategy was to pound the phones and hope for the best or in my opinion, wish for low-hanging fruit. For these originators, it didn’t matter that they were living in a digital age. It was as if the Internet had not existed. From their viewpoint, the customer’s journey was the same as it had always been.
In my view, the digital world has changed everything in marketing and selling. In the new sales environment, customers undertake a lengthy period of due diligence before they reach out to a salesperson. Prospects evaluate their options and even comparison shop before they will even speak with a salesperson. During this timeframe, prospects are analyzing the company’s brand and discussing options with their friends before an originator even knows it. What does this mean for sales organizations?
According to Google’s Zero Moment of Truth Study (ZMOT), the average consumer pulls information from 10.4 sources before making a purchasing decision. Some of the most influential sources are post-purchase comments from friends and peers. (No surprise. Who doesn’t check out the reviews for a restaurant before making a reservation on Open Table). Why would it be a surprise that a prospect would look at originators in the same way?
Who wins in this new world of selling of analysis before contact? Trusted advisors.
Being a trusted advisor is all about being knowledgeable and a content provider to potential prospects to assist in the evaluation process.
Today, social media interaction is essential for any salesperson who is serious about the profession. Social media provides originators with countless opportunities to connect with prospects and customers and engage in meaningful dialogue. As Larry Weber states in his great book The Digital Marketer, “when we blog, tweet, host webinars, publish white papers, produce videos and podcasts, we generate living assets that can draw prospects to us.” Weber is certainly right and origination will never be the same as a result.
What I see is that top producers get this. The other originators are missing the boat by not taking advantage of the opportunity to have discussions through multiple channels with potential prospects.
How would you rate your ZMOT?