2016 made me fortunate enough to collaborate with extraordinary people within various different industries, such as aerospace, automotive, software, hardware, and many more. I have experienced a lot of new technology, such as AR/VR or Advanced Driving Simulation. I have been exposed to mind-blowing (and permanent) evolution of portable video cameras and the progressive evolution of social selling techniques-used in B2B context. Lastly, I have been active on the B2B marketing scene using the most advanced software to significantly influence highly-complex sales process.
I am always amazed by the never-ending evolution process of technologies, whatever field they might be touching with their infinite and disruptive value as a product. But 2016 also confirmed something new to me, that many marketers – as successful as they may be – still fail to understand the basics of success, which according to me begins with your self as a human-being (and not only as a money-making-machine).
I’ve witnessed highly credible experts talking in conferences about Social Selling, but not applying their own concept: preaching smart social selling and sending two or three invasive emails per week, preaching that humans are in the core but not answering a selfless but important email.
At a workshop, I met an individual – considered as a rock star in the area of ethic social selling and digital strategy in France – explaining to me (he was really hoping to help me with this) how to hack Viadeo to get thousands of unknown contacts and be able to send (and I quote) “nice cold prospective emails” to these contacts. More than 1 million people are following this guy on Twitter because they think he is an expert of ethic social selling while I believe this guy is just another inconsistent person, and a fraud.Aurélien Gohier
A recent experience which inspired me to re-think my actions as a B2B marketer was when one of my favorite restaurants (and God knows I go there a lot) made me feel neglected as a consumer. They drastically developed their social media strategy (Instagram in particular) recently, but failed to answer a basic email from me, a faithful client, asking to book a 20 people table to celebrate my birthday. I still feel disappointed about this. I thought I was part of something, but I was wrong, and that sort of hurt my feelings, as a consumer.
When I decided to entitle my ‘2017 wishes’ email ‘back to basics’, with the idea of supporting my arguments, I decided to send 100 fully customized LinkedIn InMails to a panel of contacts which are quite representative of my LinkedIn audience (I have roughly 1200 contacts). Here is below one of these InMails content:
I hope you are doing well! I am writing you today because I decided to contact personally all the many connections I have got on LinkedIn, to make sure that those still make sense and to get the most out of them in terms of knowledge sharing and synergies building. So, I promise there is nothing commercial behind this message. 🙂
My return rate? 30%. I am curious to see how you guys will react to this number, but personally my first reaction was to be disappointed that 70% of those contacts didn’t find any time or kindness to respond (no I don’t need a medal for this, in case you wonder) InMail. On those 70 people, 30 of them still did not read my InMail, which is an aspect to consider.
So, I’ll stop complaining and instead explain what I will be trying to do this year is to improve my behavior and performances as a blogger and B2B marketer:
- I need to work harder on reinforcing the possible synergies, tips and visibility sharing with my contacts on social media, in particular on LinkedIn,
- I seize the opportunity to THANK my business contacts more often,
- I will do my best to make my business contacts feel considered and happy,
- I don’t want to be like this restaurant I mentioned above, I don’t want to make any individual involved with me feel used nor neglected,
- I will stick to the following statement: my business contacts don’t owe me an answer to my emails, InMail, texts or calls, but I do owe an answer to any person who writes me. Even the most aggressive and inconsistent social seller will receive a feedback from me, as mean as my answer will be,
- I want to be considered as an ethic B2B digital marketer, being considered as a successful B2B digital marketer will be secondary,
- I want to be more grateful to my business contacts, make them laugh, make them enjoy every moment spent on the B2B playground, help them to face new challenges and maybe, after I succeeded in this, eventually sell them something they critically need.
Do not forget to go back to basics from times to times. Technology = tools, potential technological hep. Human = the core of you B2B business. Both aspects are critical and complementary to each other, but do not forget the essential: behave in business as you would behave with your friends, and success will be there.
I wish you guys all the best for 2017, either personally and professionally. And by the way, I created the BtoB Marketing Sales LinkedIn page, I would be very grateful if you could ‘follow’ and help me spread the word.