New Media Breakfast: Using social media for sales (specifically!)

New Media Breakfast

Yes Social Media can be used for marketing etc, but how about as a tool for actually delivering sales? This was the focus of Gordon Mackintyre-Kemp’s presentation at this morning’s New Media Breakfast in Edinburgh.

Gordon (from Intelligise) kicked off with a number of questions on attitudes to social media. The response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic about social media, but the interesting observation is how quickly these attitudes have changed. LinkedIn has come from almost no recognition in Scotland to almost ubiquitous recognition among the Scottish business community in less than 18 months.

The Four Trust Aces of Sales

When is the best time to close a deal? “As early and frequently as possible” – old school pushy sales

Low trust = high objections / No USP or ROI case = price negotiation

Gordon presented a concept of the Trust Aces you need to have to achieve sales:

  • Historical Trust – testimonials – client lists – linked in recommendations – previous dealings – brand reputation
  • Capability Trust – case studies, expert blogs, qualifications, awards. Do you have an ROI calculator you can use in sales meeting?
  • Interpersonal Trust – professionalism, ask thought provoking questions, rapport, attire, humour
  • Social Trust – the new one! Do you look approachable, do you have a personal reputation, do you engage in conversations?  Opportunities to engage and network

Gordon expects LinkedIn to become increasingly dominant as a search engine. He also expects the Social Trust will be the ace that trumps (points for discussion below!)

Where does Social Trust fit into the Decision Process?

1. Blissfully unaware

2. Becoming aware

3. Understanding the problem

4. Looking for solutions (first point that you might want to talk to a salesman)

5. Evaluating vendors

6. Comparing prices

The best point to engage is at “Blissfully unaware” and take them to the “Understanding the problem” stage. Blogging is one of the best ways of doing this. (Gordon recommends teasing, not giving the complete solution, so they have to get in touch (another discussion point for below!).  Nature of knowledge has changed (you need to be the first to share otherwise you won’t get the credit).

Back on topic, chance of conversion is actually much higher the earlier in the process you are. Gordon estimates that having a 90% conversion rate,  if you engage at blissfully unaware, drops to 10% by the time you get to comparing prices.

Integrated Business Development

3 way Venn diagram of:

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Sales
  • Marketing

Exhibitions/Conferences & Events fall into the sales and marketing overlap.

What overlaps in the three? If you can get all of these working before anybody else in your industry then you have a great opportunity, on the other hand you stand a huge threat if you don’t. Still need to be good at all three.

It’s still very rare for anybody to be doing this all well (Gordon observes that you get case studies of someone doing something well, but you don’t see case studies of someone doing it all well)

Our Survey says…

Gordon has recently conducted a survey of 551 UK companies.  The survey has been distributed through social media but significantly through the Drum and the CBI.

  • 63% fully committed to using social media as a marketing tool (doesn’t mean they are doing it). Further 30% looking to commit and only 7% had no plans to use social media
  • 86% increasing budgets on social media this year (0% planning to cut)
  • key commercial benefits looked for were:
    • brand awareness
    • better customer relationships
  • 22% use LinkedIn, 22% use Twitter, 20% are on Facebook (dropping?), 13% blogs (Gordon believes blogs are key), 10% use YouTube (Expecting YouTube and LinkedIn to increase significantly over next six months at the expense of others.  Predicting YouTube to be No.1 in 18 months), Flickr less than 1%
  • Biggest barrier is a lack of time (27%) but can you actually save time by being able to close with fewer meetings? 17% sight lack of strategy. Lack of CEO buy-in 11%
  • Only 50% monitor social media brand mentions.
  • 66% are considering contacting an outside agency, but who they intend to approach is interesting! 25% Social media marketing agency, 9% PR firm with specialist division, 1.2% business development consultant!

Why…by example

Gordon then illustrated reasons for being on different social network by way of examples.

Why Twitter for Sales?

Example: @RichardMcKay – has successfully increased business despite the property downturn and he attributes this almost entirely to social media.

Why Blog?

A great way to generate and showcase creative ideas.  Again used the McKay flooring example of whisky barrel flooring.  Reached over a million people by the time regular PR picked up on the story. Not bad for 500 words!

Another example: Gordon’s own guest blogging on the Drum

Why LinkedIn

Gordon is gaining clients from across the world as a result of having optimised his LinkedIn profile.

Aim for 20+ and at least 10% of your followers having given you a recommendation.

Why Make Your Website Social?

Example – The Ford Story has become Ford’s social hub and outranks all other sites and has driven 60,000 product orders (compared to other sites e.g. the glossy, slick but unsocial Ford focus)

Gordon believes that online community is the killer app that’s coming.  Adapt or be in trouble!

Why YouTube?

The example: Gordon’s channel.  People feel they know you if they’ve watched you for 40 minutes on YouTube.


Find out more about the New Media Breakfast Series.

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