Global 500 insights

Things go well in Europe.

The fastest growing business in the world: Baden Wuertembergische Landesbank. The bank in Stuttgart in southern Germany jumped from position 128 straight to no.1 in the Global 500. And right after an Arabian and a Chinese company Spanish Construction company ACS is the No.4 in the world and the fastest growing construction business world wide!!! International Airline Group in the UK, a newcomer to the global 500, is the fastest growing Airline business in the world and No.7 in the Global 500 growth leaders. OMV Austria is one of the fastest growing gas station businesses and No.19 in the Global 500 growth list! On the global 500 list of most profitable companies, Dutch Shell made it to No.4 and to No.1 in the Global 500 biggest Companies!!! VW boost profits to staggering $21 Billion and makes it the most profitable automobile manufacturer in the world and No. 13 in the most profitable businesses of all.

Both, the biggest and the fastest growing business in the world are from Europe. Congratulations Europe.

Now – not all is that well. Over 50% of the “exits” – meaning companies that were kicked out of the top 500 – were European companies. One reason is that Chinese companies move fast into the top 500 and only 7% of the newcomer are from Europe. In other words European businesses need to prepare themselves better than ever to keep up with global competition.

The DSEU will keep providing global and European business updates from a Pan European perspective. Flexing the European strength is one of the many tasks we see ahead of us.

What the 1% successful sales people do differently

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Sales is undergoing the most massive changes since many decades. Compare it to the change from Hawkers tray to selling in tie and suit. Or the transition from horse drawn carriages to taxis. Yet 90% of the experienced sales people will deny that change.

Here is a process we introduced about 2 years ago with good success after lots of learning:

Social Selling as a process one can learn

1) Identify the companies you are going after.
2) Then look up the company in LinkedIn and find employees that may be relevant or influential to what you want to do.
3) Consider other business networks depending on the country (Xing in central Europe, RenRen in China…) .
4) Find other presences of the people you want to build relationships with in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, FourSquare…
5) Follow them on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest (do not even try to connect at this point).
6) Visit their profiles as they may track visitors, try to join groups they are active in.
7) Think as if they may be a potential friend for sharing some hobbies.
8) IMPORTANT focus entirely on the personal side or whatever challenges they expose. Know what is on top of their mind.
9) Once you know them, start being helpful. Completely forget that you want to do business, forget about the pressure to sell and so forth. Keep in mind nobody want to be sold. RT their content, like their posts, but be honest and not linking stuff you don’t like or have no clue what they are talking about. Make helpful comments or make meaningful introductions.
10) After two weeks see if you have a relationship :) You will have a dialog with more then 50% of the contacts if you DO NOT sell AT ALL (compared to a 1% success rate on cold calling).

11) From here on everything else is a piece of cake: You know everything about the person, and they know everything about you if you are open and if they are interested. You even know if they are in the market – way before your competition goes through the old pattern of “Budget, project, authority blah blah blah”. Most importantly: The prospect will initiate the business conversation with YOU instead of you selling to THEM (which is the beginning of the end in 82% of sales engagements across industries and markets).

12) The entire negotiation process which is not only about terms and numbers, but an important way to get to know each other is now significantly shorter which improves the sales efficiency quite nicely. More so forecast accuracy grows and deal stability is entirely different – I’m sure you know many of those deals where you think the buyer is a friend of your competitor, you still don’t know exactly and so forth. Now you are a friend in every single deal.

NOTE: While it is still a process, it is far less mechanical than the traditional cold call or sales initiation process. “Social Selling” is way more human and it can be learn in a similar spirit as we learn to make friends of find a partner in life 

Seven Skills that you will develop over time

1) Digital body language (It’s like your first introduction to physical body language)
2) Network Time Management (how many, how much, how often, when, where…)
3) NCP handling (Network – Contribution – Participation) How big should your network be, what contribution to the network works best, how do you measure network success?
4) You will develop skills to significantly grow your network WITHOUT scarifying relationship strength or depth
5) You will get more face to face meetings then ever before but less with the same person
6) You will develop more people skills than can be explained in this one post
7) You will develop networking skills and senses that you only develop when you are “in”

 

What is so successful on that process?

Emotionally it feels much better but economically you may wonder: a very successful cold caller can do over 100 calls a day with immediate response, while our social sales person will take two weeks to get to a relationship. But after two weeks the actual result summary looks very different:

Traditional sales:
100 cold calls a day, 2 successes equates to 20 successes in two weeks

Social Sales:
300 touches a day, every other day = 600 people in two weeks
50% response rate = 300 people and 20% success rate out of that = 60 successes

BUT: There is no free lunch! Implementing this process is not easy

 

Why is it so difficult to implement?

Even though it may look very natural and obvious to many, it is very difficult to implement in a business with traditional sales processes. The number of business who can’t implement this outnumber those who can:

1) You can’t mix and match hard core selling with social selling. It’s almost like allowing to preach Buddhism in the Vatican. Obviously a single cold call would blow the the process in a second.

2)  The larger part of a sales organization, in particular the more experienced sales people will have a hard time to adopt this new technique. It took them years to practice and perfect their sales techniques to eventually master it. Almost starting from scratch is an astronomic burden – unless they understand how fast they actually can adopt and realize that the past experience is actually very helpful in the adoption process and getting them back to a “master” in a year, while junior sales people may still learn 3 to 5 years to get even near that level.

3) Most of the times it requires to change KPIs and how the sales team is compensated, even redefine what is success etc. Many highly experienced sales executives won’t take that risk.

The social selling technique remains to be an option only for the most agile companies on the planet. From a macro economic point of view it maybe actually a good situation as it helps small companies to outperform large organizations. And that in turn provides the much needed growth of mid market businesses.

If you want to know more about it in greater details, feel free to ping me any time. In the next few weeks I will turn this into a white paper with much more details.

Here is my social presence:
http://xeeMe.com/AxelS

 

Thousands Of Social Media Agencies/Managers At Risk

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I recently wrote a post “Over 70% of Social Media initiatives FAIL“. I received more personal responses on that one post than on all posts I wrote in the past 5 years together. It inspired my to write this response to the overarching question: “What shall we do“.

No project success – No Reference

The consequence of failing projects – beyond the fact that it failed: here goes a potential reference customer.
Agencies have to come to a bitter realization:

Taking a print brochure to the web was an important transition
Taking a webpage and share it with friends is meaningless

Tens of thousands of agencies and social media consultants struggle to run their business. The social web is just NOT what so many people think: “just yet another marketing channel”.

10 things successful agencies do differently

Successful teams think entirely different and help their business clients to think through the entire chain of implications of a social engagement rather than just selling followers, fans and a page. And this is no different whether it is a 25 people small business company or a 25,000 employee global enterprise.

1) Understanding the opportunity

The biggest opportunity for any business is to grow the number of recommendations. Depending on the research, between 50% and 80% of all educated purchased decisions are based on recommendations. Taping into that potential is the best a business can do.

2) Ability to coach and guide

Now – in order to be recommended, the company need to develop a good relationship with their customers. And outsourcing that relationshp building process is not only a bad idea it is actually *counterproductive* to the overarching objective of becoming more recommended. A good agency or consultant knows that and can coach the client to build large sustainable networks with strong relationships.

3) Strategic thinking

It isn’t enough to be just nice. That cost too much time and often time has no impact on the bottom line AND is no real help for the customer. Businesses need to develop a sound plan and need to know what customers actually want, what they love and what they get frustrated with. A superficial analysis again is a killer. The findings determine the strategy and if they are not a true reflection of the market – the strategy will be equally superficial. This is no rocket science – because there are robust models to do that and successful agencies just use those techniques.

4) Compelling Engagement

Customers want to be compelled, we need to excite them and engage them in a way its fun and worth spending time. Plus – and most importantly – it need to be of value to the customer too. Successful agencies work equally close with their clients customers to know what they want and understand what values they need. The outcome are compelling engagements that are fun for the team and their clients.

5) Social Media Monitoring

Businesses want new customers and need to ensure that existing customers are happy – so happy that they help new customers make a decision and help them understand advantages and disadvantages of a product or service. The top agencies understand the power of professional social media monitoring tools and how they help businesses actually “manage” to navigate a whole team through the engagement.

6) Amplification Strategies

Smart agencies know how to build amplification strategies on top of the social media engagement to stimulate conversations and buzz. Understanding the true anatomy of buzz is a key knowledge of a well oild agency or consulting organization.

7) Timely Execution

A highly successful agency or consulting organization knows about all the permutation of the social web and focuses on a methodical execution of a project to ensure fast delivery with out any trial and error. Methods simply help teams to stay on course and show customers a professional execution path.

8) Organization Alignment

Nothing is more frustrating than a shiny front and a dirty back operation. Helping businesses to streamline their back end based on customer needs is a huge challenge but also the biggest opportunity for extraordinary success. Customer recommend businesses if they are happy with how they can do business with a company. If a company fails to provide that support, a recommendation will not happen and all the Social Media engagement is worthless. Top agencies and consultants know how to help a company to amke necessary adjustments without putting an organization upside down.

9) Developing Manageable Plans

We all know, if we can measure something we can improve it. A social media engagement is no different. Manageable plans and procedures are important – despite the fact that everything is much more fluent and we want to let go on many of the stiff procedures. But without any guidance, milestones, objectives no social media project will be successful. Top agencies know what to do here.

10) Knowing the impact on the bottom line

In the end very successful agencies and consultants are able to help a client understand the revenue opportunity and the impact on the bottom line for a business. If more and more customers begin to publicly recommend a business, the revenue grows even without additional sales people. If more and more customers get empowered and motivated to help others, the support cost goes down while ties to a brand get actually stronger. If more and more recommendations from the market are getting realized in new product generations the risks for product flops get dramatically reduced and advocates and fans help launch the new product.

 

Summary

All of the above is neither complicated nor requires an enormous amount of work. But it requires to understand the inner workings of a market, it is very helpful to have proven methods, models and frameworks to work with as an intelligent toolbox and it requires a few projects of practice – ideally in conjunction with people who have been through the drill before :). After going through the above list you will probably also realize why an agency is not necessarily “advertising” their successes but rather be recommended by their clients – the same way they suggest to the clients “get recommended”.

 

Axel

http://XeeMe.com/AxelS

Join the Digital Sunrise initiative – Info Webinar

Digital Sunrise Europe - Helping Business GrowDigital Sunrise Europe is the most significant independent economy movement and largest Social Media project in Europe. Join us and make a difference.

Digital Sunrise Europe – Introductory webinar

Hundreds of volunteers, social media savvy business owner, manager, executives, consultants and other volunteers joint forces to make a difference and assist small medium enterprises across Europe to thrive and accelerate their export business.

We share details about the Digital Sunrise Europe project and how you can join as a contributor, social media consultant, alliance partner or sponsor.

Agenda:

* Short introduction to Digital Sunrise Europe project
* Goals and objectives and how we can achieve them.
* What resources we are looking for
* Details about the first DSEU Conference in Cannes Nov 22-23
* How you can join as contributor, consultant, partner or sponsor
* Where are we going in the long run

Date / Time:

Thursday, September, 20 – 18.00 h Central European Time
(Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Rome, Madrid..)

Audience

Everybody interested in helping make Europe a better place to work and live

Digital Sunrise Webinar Registration

 

Webinar Recap: DSEU Management Update meeting 08/02

Thank you for attending our LIVE webinar on August 2nd. 

If you were unable to attend or would like to watch the presentation again and share it, there is a recording available.

  • Project Task Update
  • Adding new countries
  • DSEU Conference in Cannes
  • Discussions, questions….
Sorry about the advertising in the beginning of the video – I am using Dailymotion 
which only comes with ads 

 

As always, we welcome your feedback, insights, or questions