article | July 23, 2013
How BMW Would Have Benefited from Social Selling
The problem is the rest of the company doesn’t get it. Finance has told you there’s no budget. Corporate Communications sees inherent risk in mobilizing a social sales force. Marketing worries about the brand’s consistency. You need to know how Social Selling effects each division. You can then show how Social Selling adds value around the organization.
In this post, you can download our Social Selling Cheat Sheet to handle the Top Misconceptions of Social Selling. The tool focus on driving revenue through:
Social Selling is not simply a tool for driving increased revenue, though. It is a risk mitigator, branding engine and market research mechanism. As the following BMW case study illustrates, Social Selling impacts the entire organization.
BMW Electric Uproar
At BMW, Social Selling would have helped retain a loyal customer base. On April 18th 2011, BMW CEO Jim O’Donnell told a group of reporters: “Electric Vehicles won’t work for most people. For at least 90% and maybe more of the population, an electric vehicle won’t work (at the current battery range).” This set off a firestorm in the electric car community. Within hours the Detroit Free Press had picked up the story and posted it online. Electric car blogs, like AllCarsElectric.com, took off with the story.
BMW Corporate Communications found out about the story on April 21st. For three days this story grew like wildfire and BMW did not realize it. They had to play catch up. They had to salvage their reputation among the electric car community. On April 28th, O’Donnell put out a statement explaining what he meant by his comments. For 10 days the image that BMW works so hard to protect was at risk.
A social sales organization could have prevented this. Within minutes, the reps of their electric car fleet would have seen the article spread. They could have asked Corporate Communications for an official statement. The message boards holding the conversations could be identified. Angry customers and prospects identify themselves as in the market. PR handles the messaging and reinsures the market. Now, though, you’ve got a list of potential buyers to target. Reps can use event to get an appointment with prospects. Find out what they thought of BMWs response. Discover the problems that still remain. Provide follow up content to drive home the message.
Misconceptions about what Social Selling is inhibit its effectiveness. The following are two classic misconceptions addressed in the Social Selling Cheat Sheet:
Your organization should be developing a Social Selling strategy. As the agent of sales enablement and training, you play a key role. But this initiative has more stakeholders than a typical project. Instead of hitting a roadblock down the line, address it up front.