Using Social Media to Sell More - Interview Part 2 – Rockstarsales
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Using Social Media to Sell More - Interview Part 2

b2b sales jamie shanks prospecting rockstar sales sales for life social media social selling

Welcome back!

Here's part 2 of the interview with Jamie Shanks from Sales for Life about how we can use social media to sell like a Rockstar.

This interview covers all sorts of useful stuff like

  1. How often should you post?
  2. How long before you should see any results?
  3. Where to start
  4. How to land large deals using social media

Curious?  Read on.

Can you reach senior level people on social media?

Rockstar: Okay, fair enough. Now, what about the difference in terms of being able to reach more senior level people? Because the common complaint I hear about different social media experts is that only the junior level people respond.

I'm working for a Fortune 100 company. They have a marketing department that's doing some social selling stuff that is questionable value. Definitely not what you guys do.

 

I see these leads come in, and they're really junior level people that have been assigned to do something really early in the decision making process, and how do we reach the more senior level people? How do we reach the decision makers? What do you do in a situation like that? How do you reach the more senior level folks where you can actually have a conversation?

 

Jamie: So, two parts to this.

Part number one is for some reason with social, we get away from the core selling tactic of a multi-touch point approach. Our role blog a couple of weeks ago where we used the data of our own business development efforts for our own digital growth conference, which 76% of the attendees were global director or higher in the organizational chart. It's Fortune 2000 companies, like the average company there had over a thousand sales professionals. So these were all the senior people at global tech companies.

 

And the article, I've have to drum it up for you here. Email me and I can find it. It is a couple weeks old, and it was around a multi-touch approach. It showed, we measured touch one versus touch two, three, four, five. We had a zero percent read and response rate on touch point one.

 

But by touch point four, we were at 25%. And it's just about, just like anything else, persistency, but for some reason in the social world, we give up faster. I don't know why that is.

 

Jamie: The second component is the concept around socially surrounding an account. So, many decision makers leverage functional users to help become part of a buying committee. So, my chief marketing officer looking at marketing, marketing tools, or tech will have other marketers on our team do the first pass. Do some research, find out about this, what tools are available? Don't discount those people. I recognize that they are not the decision makers.

 

So the inbound lead, the sales professional groans, "Oh no, too junior." But the reality is this person's been put on a mission. And that mission is to identify tools or best practices or solutions.

Once that inbound lead has come, your job is to socially surround and predict who are all the other potential buyers.

So if it was a junior marketer that came in as the inbound lead, I still need to find a way to connect with the CMO, the director of digital content marketing, the vice president of marketing operations, so that I can share content to all of them, and slowly influence those people.

And it goes along with the new book by CEB called "The Challenger Customer," which is that the average B2B complex sell is 5.4 decision makers, champions and influencers.

 

I need to be massaging all of them at the same time, and that's yeah, a long winded way of saying, socially surround everybody.

Digital Thumbprint

Rockstar: It's a great concept. Actually, speaking of good concepts, one of the ones that really stuck with me too, is your concept of a digital thumbprint. Can you explain a little bit more about that?

 

Jamie: Sure, digital fingerprint, thumbprint, whichever we want to call it, we use our marketing automation platform is HubSpot.

So from the second that a buyer, for the very first time, downloads an e-book, watches a webinar, watching a video, is engaged in any of our content. It simply, it's just like any marketing automation platform, leaves a cookie on their computer, and forever, or a mobile device or phone, is now trackable.

And so their content consumption history going forward will be tracked. This is where sales and marketing disconnect happens.

 

Marketing knows that all this information exists, and it sits in a vacuum inside marketing. It never gets in the salespeople's hands.

Effective social selling teams have a dashboard. So for us, every one of our sales professionals has a dashboard, and they're monitoring all of their accounts. And they can see every contact at that account in real time, on a website, looking at page three, downloading an e-book, reading a blog.

 

And it starts to formulate patterns and trends around consumption. And so after you've won a dozen, 20, 50, 100 transactions, a hundred deals, you'll start noticing buyers consume very similar patterns. And so you can then start developing content that either meets some shortcomings that you have, or better enhances the patterns that they're already consuming in. It is the most important part I think of social selling...

And it's where marketing plays a vital role.

 

Rockstar: That makes sense. No sales person is going to bother sinking the time into following up on a lead if they don't know exactly where it comes from.

 

Jamie: Well, and one of the challenges is field sales professionals don't even see the value in content because they go; "I share content. Nothing happens. Nobody gets back to me."

What they don't know is that behind the scenes, marketing has all this data that that buyer has been on your website every three or four days, checked out your pricing page twice, downloaded an e-book, and looked at your blog yesterday. But the field rep never got that information. So to them, content is just this useless sharing process.

 

Rockstar: Makes sense.

 

Jamie: But if they knew all of that data, they'd see content in a whole different world.

Large Deals

Rockstar: So actually let's talk about that, too. So when you say, once you've closed 50 or 100 deals, you're going to start to see pattern in that buying. Can you sell, what about people who sell larger deals? So selling $500K plus deals. You might close two or three, four a year. Will the social selling still work for that?

 

Jamie: So, welcome to our world. We are, our ticket is a six figure ticket. So, we do anywhere between 20 to 30 transactions in a year, right.

 

Rockstar: Right.

 

Jamie: I mean that's more than what you had mentioned before. But it's still massively complex. Long sales cycles, anywhere between six months to a year. And I believe social selling is more important in the complex sale than even transactional selling because...it's called "the dead zone." The dead zone is that awful feeling in between process, sales processes. So you had a demo, guy goes away for three weeks.

 

He says he'll call you back and weeks go by, and then you're going to have another call with another department. The sales cycle is so long, how do you keep them engaged? How do you keep them educated? Whereas transactional selling, it's one to two meetings and under 30 days, we're going to buy. So if your sales cycles are massive, there are so many distractions for the buyer, and you need to keep top of mind, and that's what social allows you to do.

Selling into IT teams

Rockstar: Actually let's actually drill down in the that too.

There are a lot of us that end up selling technology. Hardware, software, combinations of both. At least the folks that I talk to.

What specific advice do you have for those people that are selling specifically into IT teams?

 

Jamie: That if you're selling into IT teams, you are in the highest concentration of social selling sales professionals in the world.

If you were to look, so, us being the predominant social selling training company, 300 customers, and 90% of them are technology companies and of those, most sell to the CTO or the CIO.

So my word of advice if that's your buyer persona, you are single handedly in the buyer persona that if you are not on top of with social, you are behind the eight ball against competitors.

Where to start

Rockstar: Right. What do they need to do to move to the front of the pack?

So it sounds, this is an extremely competitive space. CIOs and CTOs have huge budgets. One of my clients, I was surprised to discover their CIO has a budget of $1.8 billion a year. I couldn't believe it.

 

Jamie: They typically hold the largest budget, second to the CMO, in the entire organizational chart.

This is going to sound very elementary but, get started. Rome wasn't built in a night, and if you are not part of this process you will be overtaken by competitors.

Because the mindshare for the CIO right now is immense. There's data points, between Gartner magic quadrants, and Forrester analyst data intermixed with all the content that they're reading from Harvard Business Review and your competitors.

 

And the CIO is thinking about telecom, and is thinking about all the way to on-premise versus SaaS, and all these challenges.

Oh, yeah, if you're not shaping that now, good luck if you think you're just going to hammer them over the phone.

Named Accounts

Rockstar: Got it. And tell me something. So what if you're a named account. So what if you're not a pure hunter hunting across all verticals, and you have a set series of named accounts. Does that change your social selling strategy?

 

Jamie: It changes your tactics, but does not change the urgency. So whether I have two named accounts or 50 named accounts, I have to go through the same process. I have to find all the potential stakeholders, called socially surrounding.

I need to educate myself using macro information like trends, inside information, and educate myself on the type of content they read.

I need to engage all these people, and I need to develop my network larger and larger within that ecosystem.

 

And that's a must to do. And because I'm being measured on my ability to upsell, cross-sell, and insure I don't create any churn in those named accounts; I need to know them as intimately as if I worked there.

And that's...social selling, it just has different tactics than say, an inbound lead generator. But it's still important.

 

Rockstar: Okay. So it changes the tactics, but not necessarily the strategy.

 

Jamie: Well, yeah, exactly changing the tactics, actually a good point...

How long before you start to see results?

Rockstar: Okay. Actually, that's a common question I see too is that, yeah I put up a bunch of stuff in my last job. I put up a bunch of stuff on LinkedIn, and there was a reasonable number of people that read it, but I really didn't get any leads out of it. How long once you're consistently posting content before you should start to see some leads coming in, like how long of a lead time is that?

 

Jamie: I think of course it pays to be a generalist here, I believe that within 60 to 90 days you should start seeing a material impact, but your input and output are very correlated.

What I mean by that is, if you think that posting an article every so often, or even daily, is going to be your ticket to ride that is only the smallest sliver to social selling.

And I don't think going to have the type of material impact that you're expecting it to have.

Sharing the insights without having engaging conversations with people online, yeah, that's just, it's not, it's just too small for people make a big enough dent for them to stick with it. So, in 90 days, assuming you're sharing multiple great insights daily.

 

You're having conversations online. You're networking with people, you're connecting people together. You're introducing people. That should start bearing fruit in 60 to 90 days.

How often to post?

Rockstar: Okay. And actually, that begs another question too is that, I have joined some groups or newsletters or different engagements socially online, where I have kind of have been turned off by a daily post. How do you decide how often you should post?

 

Jamie: How often, you as a person, or as a company?

 

Rockstar: Actually probably both. Given that most of our audience, let's assume, and we'll get to that in a sec. Assuming that we get no support from marketing at all, that we're all sales professionals, and we've got to do it ourselves. What does that look like?

 

Jamie: So I'm going to paint an analogy. And the analogy is critical to the mindset shift on how often you should post. I say this in every training engagement up front. You need to treat yourself as if you are a brand within a brand, and once you understand that, you treat yourself as if you are a digital newspaper. How do newspapers grow? They grow through subscription.

 

The only way to grow a subscriber base is if you're sharing great content that people then notice, most people then engage with it or share it to their network, that then exposes you to more like-minded people. They then are looking at your profile, and so forth, you're connecting with them, and it becomes a circle, right, of growth. And if you believe that you as a sales professional, even though you're not an entrepreneur, that you can be an intrapreneur in essence, and you are a brand within a brand. If you inherently believe that mindset shift, you will treat yourself as if you were a newspaper growing subscribers. And that requires daily readers and daily news.

Next Week

We'll publish the final part of the interview that covers:

  1. How to use Voicemails
  2. The best leading indicator of your income
  3. Action steps - what do do next


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