What Blockbuster Video and Netflix Teach Us About B2B Sales

What Blockbuster Video and Netflix Teach Us About B2B Sales

The world of B2B selling has changed. Forever.

Remember 20 years ago when it was movie night? You had to get off the couch, jump in your car, drive to the local Blockbuster and spend 30 minutes choosing a movie. Then you had to return within 24 hours - but only AFTER rewinding it - to avoid additional fees.

Ahhh the good old days, right?

No. It was a horrible experience for the buyer. Certainly compared to the experience we now have with Netflix; instant, almost unlimited choice for a flat fee (and no rewinding required). We are never going back.

Watching movies has changed. Forever.

You need only compare your results from a day spent cold-calling to a day you chucked a sickie to realise — neither day produced anything of value.

When what once worked well is now failing it’s time to question why. In order to survive, let alone , thrive, we must embrace change and experiment with new more effective ways to be hit our numbers.

By the end of this article, archaic and antiquated tactics like cold calling should scramble your mind, just like the phrase “Please rewind all tapes before returning to Blockbuster!”

Cold calling is a tactic that just doesn’t work anymore and even when you get the occasional win, the effort you’ve had to put in isn’t worth the time investment.

So, if you still prefer to pick your evening flicks from a local video store rather than from the entire library of every movie to have existed ever - from your couch - these 10 stats are for you.

All Our Copies Have Been Rented Out For The Night

Let’s start from the top:

1.) 77% of B2B buyers won’t speak to a salesperson till after they’ve done their research (Corporate Executive Board)

The advent of the world wide web ripped the advantage of knowledge and power of information away from the salesperson’s grasp long ago. The buyer doesn’t need you any longer to help them understand what’s on offer.

You may have the fastest, shiniest, slickest DVD player on the block, but today’s B2B buyer isn’t just going to take your word for it. Being in-the-know allows them to make the necessary, informed decisions. They have the power.

So let’s say they have done their own research and you happen to contact them out of the blue.

2.) 90% of decision-makers never respond to cold outreach (Harvard Business Review)

Ninety percent. Nine-Zero. Never. Respond.

That’s a whole lot of nothing. Now you may be thinking:

Well, there’s still 10% who DO respond to cold outreach, so maybe I’ll follow up with a call and make something happen.

Possible, but:

3.) Cold calling has a 3% success rate (Keller Center)

To put this into perspective:

Let’s say you’re given a list of 1,000 leads.

And you call all of them.

100 will answer your call and won’t hang up immediately.

Of those 100, you will make 2 appointments.

How does this translate into real life? 

A research report conducted by Keller Center found that 6,284 cold calls made over a 7 day period resulted in a measly 19 appointments

Whether you agree if this outcome is abysmal or not will depend on your own business, metrics for success, and primarily the quality of those appointments. 

Goodbye Late Fees, Hello Monthly Subscription

If cold outreach, in all its forms, is Blockbuster Video, social selling is its usurper: Netflix.

What’s social selling?

According to HubSpot:

“Social selling is when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects. Salespeople will provide value by answering a prospect’s questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.”

Why is this relevant?

4.) 75% of B2B buyers use social media to research vendors (IDC)

Of the 77% of people that only respond once they’ve done their own research, three-quarters have done it through a social platform.

So, it makes sense for B2B salespeople to be across these channels, right?

Consider these startling facts....

5.) 62% of salespeople who don’t use social selling miss their quota (Aberdeen Group)

6.) 64% of salespeople who do use social selling meet their quota (Aberdeen Group)

7.) 73% of salespeople outperformed their peers when using social selling (Aberdeen Group)

8.) 78% of salespeople who used social media as part of their business practice outsold their peers (Salesforce)

It’s hard to argue with the effectiveness social selling for B2B sales with figures like that.

The bigger question is why?

Why is social selling so effective? Moreover, why is it so much more effective than other tactics?

9.) 74% of people chose the first salesperson to provide value and insight (Corporate Visions)

The answer is value and insight.

Both garnered through the two-way communication enabled by social media. If you’re where your prospects look for information AND you’re answering their questions AND sharing useful content — it’s almost impossible to not provide value and insight.

When the (now warm) outreach does happen, you’re armed to the teeth with information about their specific pain points and most importantly the buyer recalls how you’ve helped. The foundation of a trusted relationship has formed.

Unlike all the salespeople still perusing the new-releases section for something good to watch, you’ll be clicking straight onto Spider-Man 2 because you’ve done the research and you know you’re onto a winner.

And just to drive the point home:

10.) IBM increased their sales by 400% using an inbound social selling program (IBM)

IBM found that of 1,000 global buyers, a third had already used social media to engage with their vendors and 75% said they’d be likely to use social media again in future purchase decisions.

It’s All About Seeing A Great Movie

Hopefully, after reading those 10 data points you’ve started thinking about how you can integrate social selling into your sales process. And if you already have, how to improve upon it.

The truth is, video rentals have faded into obscurity and aren’t making a comeback. And the reason is simple — there is now a better way. Understanding your prospects and providing valuable insights will always trump a brute force sales pitch from a stranger.

Still not fully convinced? Then think about this:

Would you rather a stranger tell you to watch Shrek’s Christmas Special?

Or would you rather have it recommended to you based on your 87 combined viewings of Shrek, Shrek 2, and The Santa Clause?

The answer, of course, is neither.

Shrek the Halls is a terrible movie.                  

If you'd like to talk about building a LinkedIn social selling program for your business, we’re happy to have a short informal consultation about some steps you could take.

free consultation with chris

Topics: inbound marketing b2b sales