In our newest series, we’re talking to Social Sellers and their origin story with Social Selling, how it fits into their workflow and how it benefits them. We’re calling it Tout Tips: Social Selling. Stay tuned every week for a new interview with an Account Executive, Sales Development Rep or Market Development Rep.
What is your definition of Social Selling?
Social Selling is such a buzzword, but I think it puts a much-needed human touch back into Sales with technology and automation being a new investment for most sales organizations. When I look at Social Selling, I think, it’s not about selling at all. Instead, it’s about how you can provide value in someone’s life or how you can provide more thoughtful insight. More so it’s about how you can use different channels to interact directly with prospects, or offer thoughtful insight to conversations other people are a part of. Either way, it’s about building a more trusting relationship with someone either within or outside of a sale.
Your LinkedIn should reflect and exist as an extension of you and it shouldn’t be something that you’re not. Instead it should help promote your brand, it should help promote trust because when you share content, you’re validating it as something you believe in. And at the end of the day, it’s also validating you as that trusted advisor that we hope to be as salespeople.
How did you get involved in Social Selling?
Like Aoife, I started my career with Oracle in their first Oracle Sales Academy. A huge portion of the sales training was around Social Selling, led by Social Selling Evangelist Jill Rowley. She preached that the industry of sales has changed from the ‘Always Be Closing’ mantra to more of the ‘Always Be Connecting’ motto, which totally resonated with me. Essentially, there’s been a major paradigm shift in how buyers buy, and sellers sell.
Information, whether it’s valid or not, is readily accessible to anyone who’s connected to the Internet. Buyers place more trust in their peers’ opinions than anything a salesperson can tell them. Because of that, there’s now a focus on helping potential customers before they think about selling to them. This completely resonated with me because it placed more emphasis on providing value, solving a problem, or getting them closer to their goals.
When did you realize that Social Selling was right for you?
Social media is actually how I Ianded my first job at ToutApp. Daniel Barber, Director or Sales Development & Operations, posted a killer article on where he thought Sales was moving in light of technology, growth and competition. I loved it, thought my network would too, so I tweeted it out to my connections and made sure to tag Daniel. Thirty minutes later, I received a LinkedIn message from Daniel asking if I had interests in building out the sales organization at ToutApp. A week later, I landed my dream job. I have social media to thank for it, and truly believe in the power it can hold for sales success.
Do you think Social Selling is only for Salespeople because of the word “selling”?
Because the term Social Selling has the connotation of Sales in it, people think it’s just another way for a Salesperson to get in front their prospects. But I think you could look at so many jobs in different departments and apply Social Selling. For example if you’re doing Content Marketing, you’re thinking about what’s going to resonate with your audience, so in a way that’s Social Selling because you’re creating a lot of content that Sales is using on the front lines. I don’t think Social Selling is within the Sales wheelhouse anymore.
Do you have a preferred social channel?
I prefer Twitter – it’s a great way to stay up-to-date in real-time on what drives your industry, your company, your competitors and most importantly your prospects. I use Tweetdeck to monitor social media posts at all of these levels. It helps me target specific information to send out to clients, prospects, and leads, but it also helps me make smart decisions based off of specific triggers that could aid in a sale. It also keeps me up-to-date with what our competition is up to.
Has your practice of Social Selling changed as you moved from a Sales Development role to an Account Executive role?
When you’re in Sales Development, it’s all about getting in front of someone. I think Social Selling is extremely important in that role because as most SDRs are just getting out of college – it’s their first sales role. You get trained on the sales basics of sending a certain number of emails and making a certain number of cold calls. And now, thanks our space heating and we’ve got competitors, SDRs have to do more to stay relevant to their prospects. Now reps are taught to check all these different outlets like social, blog posts, etc. Those reps that are taking the time to research are going to be more successful because they’re doing a bit more and reaching out to people in a humanized way.
As an Account Executive, it’s just as important, but it’s not something that’s front loaded. Being a closer is about keeping and elevating the trust, being human. Adding value through social media is something that should come naturally in a sale and not something that you’re forcing. It’s important for me now as an AE to look at a relationship and look at what else could be relevant to my prospects.
How do you fit Social Selling into your workflow and what kind of content is compelling to you?
It’s vital to my workflows as a Salesperson at ToutApp. I take a look at a few social channels every morning on my way to work, mainly Twitter and LinkedIn. I try to spend 30 minutes a day focused on my social identity – something I learned from Phil Gerbyshak, Director of Social Strategy at Actiance. 5 things I try to do daily on LinkedIn are:
- Share a status update
- Participate in a group discussion
- Send a personalized connection request
- Accept or respond to someone that wants to connect with you
- Respond to any inbox messages
How do you go about finding people you want to connect with?
For me, that’s still an area I can improve on. At a basic level, my go-to rule is that I always connect with anyone that I’ve had a conversation with over-the-phone. When I connect with people that I’ve spoken on the phone with, I want to maintain that relationship that we started on the phone. I also look at who’s viewed my LinkedIn profile and see if they were part of a conversation that I was a part of and see how we’ve crossed paths.
I’m not doing Social Selling solely to start relationships online, I’m doing it to add to a relationship that’s already been created. With Social Selling, you can get really caught up in numbers and vanity metrics such as number of views and number of likes you can get. But in Social Selling there’s a difference between quantity and quality, and it’s about putting other people first, not yourself.
You participated in a #LetsGetSelling Tweet Jam, tell me about your experience?
Kite Desk and Sales Gravy hosted a Tweet Jam and pulled together 25 Salespeople from all shapes and sizes in their Sales careers and had an hour long Twitter conversation about Sales strategies. It was a Q&A style with the question posed over Twitter and we were all constantly responding to questions and reading answers – but in that hour I learned more about the power of Twitter and how amazingly effective it is as a tool. It made me realize how many people could be following one conversation at one time. There were 25 of us actively answering, commenting and RTing and at the end of the hour the #LetsGetSelling was trending in San Francisco. I hope to see more of those Sales community experiences and I think social is going to get us there.
How has Social Selling helped in getting you ramped in your Sales career?
Since starting at ToutApp, my social selling savvy has grown thanks to Daniel and all of my peers. We’ve even had Social Selling Gurus like Koka Sexton come to our office to teach us helpful tips and tricks. It’s something that’s keeps you relevant, and it’s something I was lucky to realize within the first weeks of my sales career. Inside Sales, because we’re not going out and actively connecting with prospects, specifically allows us to connect with more people from our desks – holding screen shares, video chats, and virtual trainings. Though we’re losing that face-to-face, traditional aspect of a sale, social makes it easy to be listening to multiple conversations online, whether you’re at an event or just taking a look remotely at the #hashtags being used. Listening and responding to those that I’m working with over social media immediately gives you the sense of an advisor rather than a seller – someone truly interested in the success of someone else.
Stay tuned for next week’s edition!