SocialTech Tuesday: Have You Been SWAM’d?

For important reasons, today’s post is longer than normal, and I hope you will take time to read through to the end. Your comments are also appreciated!

Since today is SocialTech Tuesday, it seems appropriate to jump into a controversy that has ignited a firestorm of angry discussion among LinkedIn members. Many people are incensed over a new LinkedIn policy introduced (very quietly) in January. The policy relates to groups and is called Sitewide Auto Moderation dubbed SWAM.

Though I am a LinkedIn power user and am pretty well versed in the platform, I had no idea that this policy had been introduced. Chances are that as a group member or a group manager/moderator, you didn’t know about it either. In fact, it seems the only way that people found out about the policy change is if they personally became affected by it. I found out about it a few days ago when a colleague of mine was SWAM’d and asked me if I knew anything about what was going on. That’s when I started digging.

In essence here’s what the policy is all about.

In an effort to reduce spam in the discussion area of groups, which I support by the way, LinkedIn made it possible to force an automatic moderation of posts and comments across “all groups” by any member who had been blocked in just one of the groups that they belonged to. The assumption is that if a Group Manager deemed you a spammer in their group, then all your posts and comments were suspect in other groups as well. While I appreciate the spirit and intent of the new policy, I believe it is pretty far reaching and perhaps pushes the boundaries of censorship.

The official policy is this…

“If a group manager blocks you from their group, your posts to other groups are automatically subject to moderator approval. Your postings to other groups are still submitted, but they are now pending until a member of the group’s management team approves it for posting.”

That means that those messages sit in a cue waiting for a group manager or their team of moderators to approve the comments.

Why is this needed?

That’s the million dollar question, and I am wondering what is the REAL why behind this decision? Group managers have always had the ability to block someone in their group that they felt were spamming versus participating in group conversations. Why is Big Brother stepping in? Is there some reason that decisions cannot be left to the individual group managers? Why is LinkedIn arbitrarily deciding that an infraction in one group means the member is an offender in every other group?

Stop Drinking Your Own Kool-Aid

Is this yet another example of how companies become too internally focused when it comes to their decision making? Not only does it seem like the far reaching effects were not considered by asking tougher questions internally, it doesn’t appear that LinkedIn bothered to seek out external feedback either.

Here are other questions that I believe needed to be asked and answered before plowing ahead with this decision:

What is the ramification to the member if we put this policy/technology change into effect? LinkedIn will tell you that if you fall victim to being SWAM’d you only need to approach each Group Manager and ask them to reinstate you. Imagine you belong to 50 groups. Does LinkedIn really think that forcing someone to reach out to each group manager individually will be an easy task? Can you imagine the time it takes? What if those group managers aren’t actively managing their group and never bother to respond? It happens all the time and now the individual is sort of screwed if no one pays attention to their reinstatement request.

How will this affect revenue we earn from premium subscriptions? I will say up front that I do not believe premium members deserve special consideration per se, although you could argue that maybe new features should be rolled out to them first. What I do believe is that somebody should have done a little analysis to see what it means if premium members are being kicked to the curb by Group Managers with no notice, warning or explanation. As of this writing, I can’t give you numbers, but I can say that several hundred people affected have publicly said they reverted back to the “free” version. That lost revenue will start adding up.

Does each group clearly communicate guidelines with respect to what content is appropriate for posting in the “discussion” area? It is very easy to create group rules and remind members to read them. If there are no group guidelines, is it really fair to ban someone who chooses to post self-promotions? How can you be accused of breaking the rules if there are none?

What will be the administrative impact on Group Managers? One Group Manager told me that this new policy has placed an impossible burden on him. His group is quite large – 30,000+ – and overnight he started having upwards of 500 posts DAILY to have to moderate. Manually. The policy was intended to help deal with SPAM. Didn’t anyone ask the question about whether or not these group leaders would have the bandwidth to deal with the outcome of this decision?

Is it possible that Group Managers with an act to grind will use the ability to block people unfairly? In other words, is there a chance that knowing a member could be blocked in all groups, would they use that as an opportunity to retaliate for a perceived infraction, the fact that they didn’t like the individual’s comments, or worse, use it as an opportunity to put their competitors at a disadvantage? In the course of researching the situation, it does appear that there are instances of this happening.

What will this decision mean for the power that participating in groups has represented? Being able to contribute to conversations or start discussions gives a group member the ability to demonstrate their thought leadership and capabilities. Done smartly, that visibility leads to sales opportunities. But if members know that a Group Manager could get pissed off at them, cut them off because they didn’t like what they said or posted, or accidentally clicked on the wrong button, why would anyone waste time participating in groups at all?

Aren’t we obligated to clearly communicate this change to all members? For me, this is the most important question that LinkedIn should have asked. If you believe in the decision, why hide? Why not clearly communicate what you are doing and why and ask for feedback before actually putting it into application. It seems to be common practice for social sites to makes changes without bothering to tell anyone. When it comes to policy though, I think the company should be obligated to make a public statement. As a member of the platform, I’m bound by the terms of use, but if you keep slipping in whammies like this one, how is that really being transparent?

What will be the impact on our Customer Service team? My point above might have mitigated many of the support tickets and complaints being filed. Without having any knowledge of the change or what happened if a group member was blocked, hundreds of support tickets have been filed. That is a heck of a lot of manpower to waste.

I plan to keep watch with respect to this policy, so expect more posts to come.

For now I will close with the following…

After 29 years working in technology, I’ve seen a lot of big players come and go. Arrogance slowly creeps in as people think, we are big, bad and no one can touch us. LinkedIn is not immune to this insidious disease, which may be a small crack today, but a chasm in the not too distant future. Guaranteed, a band of super smart tech nerds are out there somewhere working away in their garage to create the next best thing.

When a social networking company forgets that it is the members that got them where they are now, the fall may be slow but it certainly will be imminent.

Strategy + Skills + Execution = Social Selling

In a mad rush to achieve short-term sales objectives and with many experts proclaiming that “social selling” is the panacea to get there, important points about what constitutes sales success is noticeably absent from most social selling conversations. It takes more than a well written social profile or a few connections, clicks and likes to achieve sales objectives.

There is MORE to Social Selling

There is a lot of yammer related to social selling, but most of it centers primarily on execution – the tactics, techniques or technology. Tactics on their own won’t lead to sustainable sales results.

If you are a sales leader who is serious about adopting social selling in your organization, these are the three steps I recommend that you take:

Strategy – It is tempting to want to skip right over this important first step. You may be thinking that there isn’t time to create a strategy; you need more sales now. Make time. If you want different sales results, you need to do things differently.

Do not assume that your marketing team has this covered. Even if they have a plan for using social media on behalf of the business, it probably does not address the specific needs of the sales organization.

Skills – Sellers today need a combination of great sales skills and the ability to use technology effectively to support their goals.

Unfortunately, the over reliance on technology is replacing the basic principles of great selling and the gap is only getting wider. Does it really matter if sales people can use technology to reach prospects more quickly if what is said in the phone call or email lands with a thud? Second chances are rare.

Execution – This isn’t the first step toward successful social selling, it is the step that brings everything else together. Execution is about disciplined behavior – sales people engaging in the right activities consistently and using technology in the right way.

Sales leaders need to diligently monitor and measure the effective execution of sales activities, which includes constantly evaluating the sales and technology skills of their people and providing the ongoing training, coaching and support that they need to succeed.

Create a Winning Social Selling Team

Think of social selling as you might a winning sports team. You need a strategic play book, sales people with the right skills who execute well at all phases of the game. Would you send a football team out on the field with players in no particular order, hand them a ball and expect them to win the Super Bowl?

Without the trinity of Strategy, Skills and Execution, sales people may be seen by more prospects or bring in a few new leads, but they won’t win the big game over time!

SocialTech Tuesday: Another Kind of Handshake

As the co-author of the second book about social selling to hit bookshelves in August 2010, I am delighted to see that a philosophical approach to selling that I began evangelizing as early as 2006 is gathering steam.

At the time that The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media was published individual sales contributors were testing the waters on their own. Their managers, however, snubbed their noses at the idea that using social media as part of selling could help to generate revenue. More sales leaders get it today, but we still have far to go.

Part of the social selling process relies on sales people creating a perception of expert credibility and that’s where content comes in. Largely misunderstood, I want you to think about content in the context of helping the buyer make their decision to buy from you and your company and not someone else.

Recently, I sat down with Jason Wesbecher CEO and Co-Founder of Handshakez to talk about content and a unique platform that he and his team have developed to help sales people use content to close deals. Jason is a seasoned sales leader, so I know that you’ll benefit from his perspective as much as I have.

By the way, on Thursday, June 27 at 12N Eastern, I’m hosting a complimentary webinar with Jason that you need to attend. You’ll want to see for yourself what Handshakez can do for your teams sales results!

BG: Jason, why is content such an important part of the sales process?

JW: So much of the sales process unfolds these days outside the presence of an actual salesperson.  Because of this, it has never been more important to produce and share compelling content that can help provoke your customer to ask a question, start a dialogue… to engage with you.

BG: Isn’t interacting with our prospects and sending information back and forth sort of boring and wasting time? How does Handshakez overcome that challenge?

JW: The challenge with information exchange in today’s B2B environment is that it’s done much in the same way it was 15 years ago – via email.  What’s changed, though, is the sheer amount of email customers receive these days – as much as 600 new emails per week.  That is a tremendous amount of noise that sales reps now need to cut through.  Moreover, unlike 15 years ago, there just isn’t the same social obligation associated with responding to emails today.  Customers will easily delete dozens of external emails per week without thinking twice.

BG: Sales people often spend a lot of time chasing opportunities that really aren’t opportunities. How does your platform help sales people with that?

JW: As a former technology salesperson for 17 years, I can tell you with certainty that the next best thing to a “yes” is a “fast no.”  Quickly disqualifying opportunities is a valuable skill, as it reduces the time and cost of chasing conversations that will likely never come to fruition.  Our platform is focused on fostering engaging and transparent conversations between sales teams and buying teams.  When a salesperson using Handshakez starts to see declining engagement levels during a sales cycle – or worse yet, no engagement at all – it can inform next steps, sales stage and forecastability.

BG: Why did you start the company in the first place?

JW: I have been in enterprise software for 68 quarters and flown 2 million miles, selling to some of the toughest clients in the world.  What I learned is that oftentimes it’s a dance between a sales team that has an immature or undifferentiated product and a buyer who has multiple alternatives and very complex requirements.  In other words, selling is really, really hard and only getting harder. 

BG: We all know that the length of time to close deals has only gotten longer because multiple stakeholders are involved and some have more influence than others. What are some of the benefits of using your platform to address this reality?

JW: For today’s sales professionals to be successful, they must navigate the complex politics of committees staffed with informed and frugal buyers. Successful reps in this environment tend to engage customers rather than manage them.  And they differentiate their sales process as much as their products & services.  The best reps may already do this very well, but they only account for 10-20% of your sales force.  What about the rest? 

BG: Jason, you’ve told me that the buying and selling of B2B products is one of the most opaque and adversarial processes in the world.  Does it really have to be that way?

JW: No, it doesn’t.  I started Handshakez to make the B2B sales process incrementally easier and more enjoyable for all involved by humanizing it and taking it out of email.

BG: Humanizing it. I like that a lot, Jason. I rant quite often about how I think that sales people are using technology as a substitute for great selling skills. What are your top 3 pet peeves about the way people are selling today?

JW: As CEO of a company, I am now both a salesperson and a buyer.  We have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars building out our infrastructure, oftentimes with 3rd party tools and services from vendors.  My 3 pet peeves in working with these vendors have been:

  • Long PowerPoint presentations that emphasize the history and values of the vendor rather than my specific business challenge and how they can help address it.
  • Lack of awareness as to who the buyer actually is.  While I may be CEO, I generally outsource all technology decisions to my partner & CTO.  You would be surprised by how many vendors lack an appreciation for the differences between a buyer and an influencer.
  • Providing me with boilerplate vendor slicks as opposed to 3rd party content (HBR blog entries, industry best practices, etc) that can help influence my thinking.

BG: We definitely share the same pet peeves. As you know, I have strong opinions about why I believe sales people need to change their approach to selling. Why do you think it is important?

JW: Research by CSO insights suggests that only 46% of forecasted deals close.

BG: Ouch, only 46%? That’s a lot of lost revenue sitting out there. What’s the problem?

JW: After the countless hours of training and millions of dollars spent on tools, today’s B2B salesperson still has better odds at a Las Vegas craps table.  The definition of insanity is to repeat the same behaviors while expecting different results.  Handshakez helps sales reps redefine their approach, grow closer to the customer, and differentiate themselves.  We help clients close this forecast gap.

BG: Everybody talks about their ability to deliver ROI, but often they really can’t. What kind of ROI can sales leaders expect to see when their teams use your social selling platform?

JW: We help our customers realize a 10% increase in renewal rates and a 10 hour reduction per week in time each sales rep spends doing manual and administrative tasks within CRM.

BG: That’s what I would call ROI. And just think what could happen if each member of the sales team was spending 10 more hours per week on selling.

BG: Jason, I have enjoyed our conversation today, and I’m looking forward to our webinar on Thursday, June 27 at 12N Eastern.

SocialTech Tuesday: Sharing the Content Love

Last week, I shared 15 ideas for creating content that captures interest. It would be lovely if everyone we talked to or had on our target list was ready to buy now, but let’s face it, that’s just not realistic.

Things have changed pretty dramatically since back in the day when I first started selling. Frankly, I think selling is much tougher these days. I say that because…

  • Decision making seems to take longer than ever with multiple stakeholders involved. Some of these stakeholders don’t even hold real influence, but you have to talk to them anyway (or you think you do).
  • Buyers have unprecedented access to information. Your feature/benefit dump is wasted effort.
  • The market is crowded. In pretty much every industry that I can think there is a ton of competition. The trick is to rise above the noise and stand out.
  • Buyers block calls and delete emails.
  • Your prospects don’t care about what you want (they never did actually), they care about what they want and what you, your product or your service can do for them. Hint: features aren’t it!

Your ultimate goal with selling is to get IN FRONT of sales opportunities. My goal is to help you become a Content Concierge, because you want to be seen as someone who stays ahead of the curve bringing fresh insights forward and gets prospects thinking about business problems they probably don’t realize they have yet.

That’s where content comes in. Visibility is key and your ability to create, curate and share great content needs to be an integral part of your Strategic Social Selling Plan.

But from talking to and training thousands of people who sell, the idea of becoming a content concierge is a little daunting for these reasons:

  • Who will create the content?
  • How will I manage and share the content?
  • How will I benefit if I do all of this work?

My last post covered creation, so now, let’s talk about the management and sharing of content.

Hootsuite is my content management platform, and I want you to check it out. HootSuite is a social media management system for individuals, businesses and organizations that lets you share content across multiple social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook from one secure, web or mobile-based dashboard. Want to get a bit more sophisticated? You can also leverage a suite of social content apps for Instagram, SlideShare, YouTube, Tumblr and more.

Here is a picture of my Hootsuite Dashboard

Here are some of the super cool things that you can do:

Schedule content in advance. This is the secret sauce, which allows you to schedule messages to post through the day, week or month while you are off doing your job…selling.

  • Even with the FREE version, they have this nifty feature called “autoschedule”. You create your message and then let Hootsuite determine the best time to send it to your networks.
  • You can also click on the “calendar” icon and pick a specific date and time to send your message. The free version allows you to do this for individual emails only.
  • Buy the premium version and schedule up to 350 messages across your social networks. Talk about making life more efficient. Plan your calendar and cue up relevant content to share at on specific days and times. CAREFUL though… you don’t want to be perceived as a bot, so remember to go back in and engage in conversation with people.

Use RSS to set up your blog/company feed so that messages post automatically when a new post is published. The FREE version lets you establish 5 social sites and/or 3 sites and 2 RSS feeds. The premium gives you an unlimited ability add a mashup of social networks and RSS feeds of the Influencer blogs your follow and whose content you trust.

Use streams to track what your competitors, prospects, customers or influencers are posting about. I mean really, did you actually think you could follow over 250 million tweets daily without the ability to do something like this?

Monitor conversations – cue up messages to social sites like LinkedIn and monitor conversations from within the dashboard.

Share images/files easily with your posts.

Bottom line – to share content consistently, you need the tools and an organized approach to get you there.

If you’d like to learn HOW to put Hootsuite to work you in your social selling activities, you should REGISTER for my session next Tuesday, June 25. I’m going to show you exactly what and how to use Hootsuite to your advantage!

BTW – I a very SPECIAL webinar coming up on June 27. My guest is Jason Wesbescher of Handshakez. Sales people can have their own “room” for sharing visually compelling content and information with their prospects. I promise you – you won’t go back to wasting time with email ever again!

SocialTech Tuesday: Content Captures Interest

Unless this is the first post you’ve ever read of mine, you already know that I believe social selling success breaks down into 3 buckets:

  • Strategy
  • Skills
  • Execution

Basically, you need a plan, sales and technology skills, the right technology to support your goals, consistent execution and a commitment to measure and track your results.

With buyers starting the journey without sales people initially, you need a way to create a sense of authority and influence, and anyone who sells anything certainly needs to be visible and easily found.

A cornerstone of your social selling strategy is having great content to share. And your first tip today, is that the content should not always be yours and it most definitely cannot be a sales pitch!

If you work for a company that is sizable enough to have marketers creating content for you to share…awesome. A word of caution though…the content being served up cannot be perceived by your prospects as your own personal love fest. In other words, provide value in the case studies, white papers, video’s, blog posts or recorded webinars. If all you do is talk about what you sell and how great you are, you just missed the entire point of what social selling is all about.

If you have no content to work with here are 15 ways to serve some up:

  1.  Write a blog and/or comment on other top blogs in your industry.
  2. Conduct podcast interviews with industry leaders.
  3. Curate the content from key influencers (not competitors) or websites you like – Forbes, Mashable, TechCrunch, Top Sales World…whoever is important to you in your field… via RSS feeds and using a dashboard tool like Hootsuite.
  4. Follow influencers in your field on Twitter and on LinkedIn. Share their posts.
  5. Reach out to other influencers and ask about guest blogging on their site. If they do podcast or video interviews, ask to be considered for an interview.
  6. Share content from the people you respect and follow on LinkedIn. Use the new mention feature to give them a shout-out.
  7. Conduct a webinar. Deliver your own content or set it up panel style and moderate. Record the session for post follow up and use in sharing content later.
  8. Create a kick-butt presentation and post via Slideshare and then share it with you minions and encourage them to share with theirs.
  9. Curate a newspaper using Paper.li. Add 25 of the top people you like and include their blog posts, tweets, etc. It will post automatically through your Twitter account, and you can also share it with others via email or LinkedIn.
  10. Speak at an event – could be as a featured speaker or a panelist and have it videotaped. Share the video on your LinkedIn profile.
  11. Create a video of your tip of the week. Get really good at it and do it daily.
  12. Host a live tweet chat, capture key points from the discussion and turn that into blog posts, interviews or presentations.
  13. Get to know editors at various online sites who publish blog posts or magazines. Offer to guest write an article.
  14. Host and record a Google hangout session focused on an educational topic that your prospects would be interested in.
  15. Conduct a survey and share the results with prospects and others in your network. For example, I co-authored our Social Media and Sales Quota report, which you can download from our website.

Don’t become overwhelmed with these suggestions, you only need to choose a few of them to get you started!

If you have content to work with that’s cool. Mix in any corporate content that has been created for you and also integrate a few of the suggestions that I’ve shared with you.

Don’t forget that sharing only your content is boring and will appear self-serving. Make the content you share a nice mix of yours and that of others who offer fresh insights and perspectives.

Once you create content, you have to get really good at sharing it. That takes an organized approach and scheduling, which I will talk about next week. Until then, happy selling!

 

NEW – Get LinkedIn Not Locked Out online class – SocialTech Tuesday – DETAILS and REGISTRATION HERE

What Sales Leaders Really Need to Know About Social Selling

Contrary to what you may hear, social selling isn’t a NEW idea. I can say that because I’ve been using the term in my writing and speaking since early 2009, as I was writing my book, The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media. Rather than trying to take credit for the term though, I want to suggest that you, as a sales leader, need to be wary of the sales trainers and software platform sellers merely trying to capitalize on a “buzz term” they think is hot.

Why am I bothered about the abuse of the term social selling?

Well, for two reasons:

1. The misguided assumption that the use of social tools (LinkedIn, Hootsuite, Twitter or Facebook) on their own is the strategy that will increase sales and cure sales performance problems.

Use of technology is NOT a sales strategy!

Far too many of the “self-proclaimed” social selling experts want you to believe that all your sales people need to know is how to use LinkedIn, and once they do, sales will magically increase. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a fan of LinkedIn since I became member number 874,098 on July 22, 2004, and am thrilled that my company was recently selected as one of seven to join LinkedIn’s Sales Solutions Certified Partner program. But for all the love, I know, as you need to know, that LinkedIn – just like any other technology – is a sales tool that enables a sound sales approach but does not replace it.

Ask yourself, what good is technology if your sales people do not follow a sales process; they lack basic common sense, good communication and sound selling skills?

I don’t need to tell you the answer. You already know what it is.

2. The over reliance on technology is quickly replacing the basic principles of great selling.

The gap is only getting wider as more and more sales people seem to think that the technology will do the actual selling for them. Good communication, listening, business and sales skills and even the basic principles of etiquette is disappearing…quickly!

Social selling is not merely a set of tactics reliant on one technology platform or even a combination of platforms. I believe that Social Selling is a strategic way of thinking about what today’s buyers want and expect from sales people. Yes, technology is part of the equation and can help you reach your prospects more quickly, but what are your sales people saying and doing once they get in front of them?

What do you, as the sales leader, really need to know about social selling?

Unless you have a plan that is aligned with sales objectives, the right people with the right skills, a process followed consistently, use of the right platform(s), sales messages communicated from the customer point of view, defined metrics to track, and an approach that is mixed with equal parts persistence and patience, you haven’t a prayer of achieving the sales results you seek.

Technology is only a fraction of the real sales story, but the so-called experts won’t bother to tell you that!

Selling in a New World: A Sales Mastery Interview with Tim Mushey

As a consummate networker, I love that social media helps us to expand the size of our networks in ways not even possible a little over 10 years ago. Through LinkedIn groups, Facebook pages, Twitter and blogs, we can interact and learn from people all over the world. I’m old enough to remember the concept of pen pals, and at its best, that is what social media is all about. At its worst, is the prolific use by many sales and marketing folks to crank out more sales spam rather than engaging people in conversations.

There is no doubt that sales people and the process that they use needs to evolve. Why? Because buyers start most of the buying process before sales is ever engaged. Some argue that by 2020, sales people will not be needed at all. While I do not believe that to be the case, especially in B2B sales, I do believe that the sales folks left standing will be the ones who adapt to buyers demanding that sales people, and the companies that employ them, do things differently.

In my recent interview with Tim Mushey, who I met and got to know in a LinkedIn group called SalesPlaybook (and then we connected on Twitter and Facebook and…), we talk about what top sales performers do that set them apart from their peers, as well as how social media is changing the game.

Let me tell you about Tim.

Tim is a sales professional, leader, blogger, Toastmaster and social media enthusiast. He has been blogging about sales, leadership and several other topics since January, 2012. He is working on a business to supplement his full time sales career and is looking forward to coaching, writing books, marketing information products and speaking engagements in the future.

His outside sales background is extremely diverse, and he has represented many product lines and services since 1996. His tough as nails determination was developed knocking on doors in Australia in the very competitive photocopier business.

Tim is a passionate leader who prides himself to be the best he can be, no matter the circumstances. He leads by example, and has always prided himself in working hard.

He has connected with many great people via social media in the sales and leadership space, and is amazed to have developed such an incredible network in less than three years. It has given Tim new perspective on the profession, and he is certainly learning something new each day!

During the interview you will learn:

  • How sales has has changed from Tim’s perspective.
  • How to adjust gears in a world where business moves faster than ever.
  • What top sales performers are doing that their peers are not.
  • What a brand new sales rep ought to do from day one.
  • Advice for sales leaders who feel overwhelmed with so many things to be conscious of and get done these days.
  • Why top sellers are not always the best candidates for leading and managing teams.
  • How social media affects today’s sales process.

And so much more…

Enjoy the interview!

Social Media Does Impact Revenue!

Social Media and Sales Quota” report is now available and packed with great highlights about how sales people use social media to sell.

When working with sales organizations in the business-to-business (B2B), space we are constantly asked if using social media as part of the sales process actually generates a measurable return.

Jim Keenan of A Sales Guy Consulting and I decided to find out if social selling truly impacted sales. With all the hype that surrounds social media and the term “social selling”, we wanted to know if social made a difference where it mattered…in quota.
With that in mind, we conducted a random, anonymous survey to find out what sales people had to say.

Our “Social Media and Sales Quota” survey report is packed with great highlights about how sales people use social media to sell.

You will discover that 78.3% of our survey respondents do use social media in their selling process and that 72.6% of sales people using social media outperformed their sales peers in 2012!

Here are just a few of our key findings…

  • Quota attainment and sales performance. In 2012, 72.6% of sales people using social media as part of their sales process outperformed their sales peers and exceeded quota 23% more often.
  • There is a direct correlation between closed deals and social media usage. Sales leaders want to know where the Return-on-Investment (ROI) is if their sales people spend time on social media sites. 54% of our survey respondents have tracked their social media usage back to closed deals.
  • The time investment in using social media to sell. A common concern among sales leaders is that their sales people will spend more time on social media sites then they will actually spend selling. It turns out that their concern is unwarranted. 50.1% of sales people told us that their time spent using social media ranged from less than 5% to up to 10%.
  • The report includes other eye openings insights and clearly shows that those sales people using social media significantly outperform their peers when it comes to achieving/exceeding quota and closing deals!

Help Us Get the Word Out!

Sample Text:
FREE Social Media and Sales Quota Survey Report. Find out how savvy sales people use social media to achieve quota and close deals! Get the results from our 2013 survey.

Sign Up on the Home Page RIGHT NOW to Download Your Copy!

Get Social 123: A Sales Mastery Interview with Scott Miller

The buzz around the term “social selling” is getting louder. I suppose it is inevitable that the new kids on the block believe social selling is something new, but like anything else, it is only new to you when you become aware of it. People like me, Koka Sexton, Craig Rosenberg, Anneke Seley and others, however, have been talking about social selling since about 2009.

It is also not uncommon for there to be any number of definitions being applied to “social selling”. And, I know at least one sales professional who argues that social doesn’t sell, people do. I do not disagree, and I think of social selling as a process, a sales approach and have defined it in this way…

“Social Selling is the process of using social media to prospect, research, engage, collaborate, network, teach and close all with the purpose of attaining quota and increasing revenue.”

What that means for sellers today is that the savvy ones recognize that a better-informed and more connected customer controls the buying process. For sales people to reach this new buyer, they need to leverage the information that can be gleaned from participation in social networks quickly and easily, in order to turn information into leads and sales opportunities.

That leads me to my recent conversation with Scott Miller, Chief Sales Officer at Social 123.

With a variety of platforms in the market that say that they can serve up data to sales people in ways that create sales opportunities, many of them don’t quite cut it. After taking the time to check out Social 123 myself, I have to say that I think they have a winner.

Let me tell you about Scott.

Scott is responsible for new customer acquisition and monetizing Social Media for current customers. Scott is a recognized thought leader in the demand creation space having consulted and led numerous sales teams over the last twelve years. He is the author of two e-books and a successful blog on sales and lead generation best practices.

Scott previously served as District Vice President of Sales of Ceridian – a leading global business services and software solutions company that helps organizations control costs, save time, and optimizes their workforce. Under Scott’s leadership, his division doubled its revenue production two consecutive years. He was successful in implementing leading edge programs to generate demand using social media technologies.

Before Ceridian, Scott served as a Principle for the world-renowned sales consultancy, The Complex Sale. The Complex Sale is a sales strategy and training company that helps you win the sales you can’t afford to lose. Scott’s role was to acquire new business and he brought in the most new customers for the firm for two consecutive years. Scott was instrumental in the demand creating strategy of the firm with a heavy emphasis on web and social media.

When you listen to my conversation with Scott, you’ll learn:

  1. What Scott thinks about selling in today’s world.
  2. The difference between social media management and social lead generation.
  3. The difference between Social 123 and other platforms claiming to do similar things.
  4. Why you don’t need a large social network or personal Twitter following to use Social123 to get results.
  5. The best social networks for lead generation.
  6. How sales people can use Social 123 for selling.
  7. Data quality and how they serve it up.

And more…

Enjoy the interview!

Tell Me Something I Don’t Already Know

I notice things.

My daily goal is to be as present as possible in every conversation I have as I move through my day. I am also paying attention to the various things happening around me. Something that I hear, see or read just might spark a new idea, a blog post, get me thinking differently or cause me to dig deeper to learn from the experience and underlying meaning. I have this weird thing about three’s. If I see it or hear something three or more times, I really start paying attention.

That leads me to my post today.

A few months ago a colleague referred me to a potential new client. She had paved the way for a social selling discussion, because in the course of her conversation with the Sales VP, she knew there was a qualified opportunity. I set the meeting with the Sales VP, we had lunch, discussed his desire to train his sales team to more effectively use social media – LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. – to prospect, generate leads and secure more meetings.

That lunch conversation resulted in me sending over an outline of a potential program for his sales meeting. It all seemed good. After a few failed attempts at following up with him, I began to suspect something was amiss. Finally, I decided to send a note that said, “I have not heard back from you about my suggestions for your sales program, so I assume that you’ve decided to go in a different direction. I’ve cleared the date from my calendar, and I want to thank you for the opportunity to be considered.” A day later, he responds and says, “He had been traveling on business. He thanked me for the information that I had sent to him and went on to say that he liked what I had proposed, but he felt that the price was too high for his smaller team. He told me he would recommend me to his boss for the upcoming national sales event.”

Boom! There it is…price.

I am fond of saying that it is NEVER about the price! I knew that I had either not communicated a strong enough value message, or I misinterpreted how willing he really was to correct the sales problem he said he wanted to fix. In other words, no matter what he had told me, it seemed clear that the pain wasn’t great enough for him to take action. Given that I believe in the importance of learning from the deals that go south, I called him a few times with the intention of learning what went wrong. He never responded, so I let it go. My colleague, however, did not.

Recently, she had a scheduled lunch with the VP, so during that meeting she asked him what was behind his decision not to hire me. Side note…he didn’t hire anyone else either! At first he went with the line about the price. She pushed back and assured him that my pricing was quite reasonable. Finally, he admitted that the real reason was that he liked everything that I had shared with him and he went on to say, “She didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t already know.” Hum.

A few days later, in a conversation with a the Sales VP at two different companies who are also clients, they both told me that a couple of their sales reps when asked about the work we had done with the team also said, “She didn’t really tell me anything that I didn’t already know.” Now I know something is up, and I’m wondering if it’s me? After pondering the comments, I came to this blinding flash of the obvious…

Knowledge without execution is useless!

These people know what to do, but by their own admission, they were not doing anything about it.

If you think that you already know what to do, ask yourself what good it will do to learn something “new” if you don’t put that new information into practical application either? You already know the answer. Nothing.

For any salesperson who thinks that they already know it all and still aren’t hitting sales targets, I’d like to suggest that you don’t need to learn anything new. You need to get off your backside and put what you know into action!