In my soul, I think I will always be 28 years old. Unfortunately, that is not even close to being true. I was chatting with a teacher at the weekend and they pointed out everyone now at school was born since the year 2000. Time flies - the good news is that it brings change.
In the area I work in this means that Digital Natives (those who did not need to 'learn the internet') are increasingly in charge.
As the article quote below states in B2B, '46% of decision makers are now aged between 18 and 34 years old (up from 27% in 2012), which coincidentally, is the largest social media user demographics.'
So what? Well, vendors are apparently not keeping up. Although almost half the buyers are millennials those in charge of selling are quite often not millennials. Sales are tough and attrition is high. You do not go to University and learn sales - you learn through experience. This means Heads of Sales - those making the rules - are often old (or at least like me over 40). We learnt to sell on the phone and face to face. Both are still extremely important but we are missing a trick if we do not have a look at how we can take advantage of social selling techniques.
Here is what I have learnt over the last couple of years:
- Create timely, relevant 'content' that those I am selling to will be interested in. If I am to be a trusted advisor - I better be trusted and advise with authority.
- Be deliberate in your social strategy. Do not spray and pray. I do not think it is a great idea to like and share everything that your firm and colleagues create just because it is there. Be deliberate and focused. Target the right content to the right contact.
- Ask your clients what social networks they use and what kind of thing they would like to see from you as a trusted advisor - and then make a plan to deliver it.
- Follow prospects and clients on Twitter - Just because I don't like Twitter does not mean I should ignore it. If those I want to influence are there I had better be to. Follow them on LinkedIn too. Use their content or their firm's content as the basis for your posts (this works a treat).
- Learn from anyone who is doing this well - there are some brilliant millennial minds out there. You are probably sitting next to one!
I have found by doing the above my 'traditional sales techniques' of phoning people and emailing them have been far more productive. My calls are more likely to picked up and my emails to be answered due to what I am doing online.
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Research by IDC has found that; 91% of B2B buyers are now active and involved in social media 84% of senior executives use social media to support purchase decisions 75% of B2B buyers are significantly influenced by social media It’s not just a shift in the B2B buying process that has changed. The age B2B buyers, and more importantly decision makers, has changed too. A study by Google and Millward Brown Digital found that 46% of decision makers are now aged between 18 and 34 years old (up from 27% in 2012), which coincidentally, is the largest social media user demographic.