How the Marriage of Marketing and Sales Can Shape Your Digital Content Strategy

Where did the enterprise’s Social Selling strategy go wrong?

In October of 2015, Andrew Perrin, research analyst for Pew Research published the Social Media Usage report for 2014/2015. Andrew sites that the decade between 2005 and 2015 has seen a 10-fold jump in the use of social networks.

Are we fishing in the right pond, YES! The golden nugget for me in the report was the fact that 65% of all internet users now post and share content online.

Within startups, Chief Sales Officers must answer questions from the CMO on how they are going to increase the relevance of their sales team in the sales process that is content driven and shaping the customer journey for the next decade’s pipeline (which can be a challenge when even the next twelve-month's pipeline is indistinct).

In this article, sales leadership will learn the important key steps that need to be added to their social selling tactics.

Spamming Content via Keyboard “Inside Sales” might be the KIS of Death

Sales leadership at top fortune companies adopted a Social Selling strategy to fortify the sales organizations' position in the customer journey, and silence the CMO’s suggestion that their relevance was weakening.

In LinkedIn’s own “How-to GUIDE to Social Selling” Social Selling promises to:

  • open a window into the buyer’s persona on social sites,

  • open a medium that was sheltered from the traditional noisy inboxes, and

  • create deeper relationships

However; Social Selling is not a strategy, it is better defined as a tactical move by sales leadership to create a more relevant sales practitioner. Many people would agree sales representatives garnered a deeper understanding of the buyer’s persona and established a modern alternative to traditional customer engagement. For the data driven VP of Sales, we would further define this method as Contact Record Enrichment, or Data Hygiene.

Why is Social Selling failing to create a deeper relationship with the buyer?

Spamming enterprise content is the wrong idea

When engaging prospects with content, we need to provide guidance to our sales people on how we share content and what to do with the content.

  • In February of 2015, Adrianne Jefferies published, “You’re Not Going To Read This” on the verge. Adrianne was following Tony Hail, CEO at Charbeat when he dropped the bomb that there was no correlation between shares and reading of a social post.

  • In February of 2016, Digiday noted that the Share on LinkedIn feature has been removed from the Wall Street Journal. “We see a lot of shares but not a lot of action in terms of page views,” writes Denis Wilson in Publishing Executive.

With Content shaping 65% of all activities on the web, the content that is being shared must be both original and relevant to capture the buyer’s attention. Naturally, startups need to be acutely aware of how potential buyers are perceiving their online content.

Major publication companies are deciding to remove the share feature on their sites because of the spamming. They are making efforts to replace the sharing feature with a tool that enables and educates the sales force on sharing content online. Forbes recognized a need to allow their users to share content on social sites like LinkedIn, and they launched a product called Forbes SocialPort to increase the sales representative’s ability to share content. I assume that Denis with the WSJ will have a similar product to Forbes SocialPort.

Most content that is being shared by sales representatives is an amplification of other people’s content that they are not actually reading.

We all know that plagiary plague the content strategy of sales professionals. A strategy to create the right tempo with content on a social site like Linkedin might resemble the below agenda in your next Sales Leadership meeting:

Agenda: Sales Leadership for the content driven customer journey

Topic: Are the questions from leading CMO’s about sales relevance in the sales process noteworthy?

Research: On February 1st, of 2016, Jeffrey Graham ad research director at twitter & Fidji Simo, director of product at Facebook joined forces to publish remarkable findings in Adage under the title, Facebook and Twitter: Users Process Mobile Content Faster.

In the article, we learn that “On average, people consume mobile content on Facebook and Twitter faster than on a desktop (1.7 seconds vs. 2.5 seconds)”. With content consumption at record breaking speeds, what can we do to assist the sales force at startups with proper attribution for the content that they share with prospects on LinkedIn?

Jeffery and Fidji listed some best practices to incorporate into our content share and of the four listed, I think a social seller could easily add the following two best practices on all content they share:

  • Make your products part of the entertaining story you are sharing on Linkedin

  • Incorporate a first hand account on what inside of the article was relevant to you as a professional and why your products are so tightly aligned to the content of the article.

Best of luck.......