Social Media Marketing is Not Selling

On a conference call recently, I was reminded of how often people confuse social media marketing with how to use social media over on the sales side of the business. I can understand why this happens. Just yesterday, I received an email from a company who is selling social media training and their blurb says that they can help you to increase revenue. But when you look more closely, the program focuses on helping you put a social media marketing plan together. That kind of messaging has confused people. Make no mistake about it, marketing and sales are different disciplines and how you apply social media to each of those disciplines is also different! Before you assume that you’ve got social media covered because someone in your company is responsible for social media management, be sure to look carefully at what they are doing. I’ll make a big bet that the focus is on marketing and not selling.

The American Marketing Association defines marketing in this way…

“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Wikipedia defines sales in this way…

“A sale is the act of selling a product or service in return for money or other compensation.”

While sales and marketing should have the same goal of generating sales, revenue and profit, the two departments are approaching the goal in very different ways. As a salesperson, I’m the one who meets with prospects, crafts an actual solution to their business problem and negotiates and closes deals. Marketing is doing none of that. Their efforts are largely campaign driven and while their role is vitally important to the process of generating revenue, they are not actually selling anything.

Social media can be applied to the sales process on the front-end of the sales cycle. Using tools like LinkedIn and InsideView, the focus is on network and referral building, prospecting for new opportunities, conducting research that leads to identifying key business initiatives (or drivers) that may be the trigger for why your prospect should by from you, better pre-sales call research and more. In other words, using social media to drive sales opportunities is not marketing to build broad awareness, it is being used specifically to get to the right person with the right message at the right time, thus shrinking the sales cycle and moving more quickly to close.

On the sales side, I’m not giving away an iPad to generate “likes” on the company Fan Page. That’s marketing. As a salesperson, I’m using social tools to:

-Create a targeted list of potential prospects to pursue

-Dig into my prospects LinkedIn and InsideView profiles to learn more about them. I’m looking for the best point of connection. Who do I know that they know? What have learned about their company or their industry that might lead to securing that first meeting?

-Participate in groups where my prospect is likely to be and then contributing to discussions to create visibility for myself and demonstrate my expertise in my field.

-Do detailed homework before the first meeting. I’m learning as much about their company as I can, which will demonstrate to my prospect that I understand their business.

As you think about how to put social media to work for your company, remember that you need to focus attention on both the sales and marketing side of the business. And always keep in mind that the goals and practical applications of social media for sales versus marketing should compliment each other, but the “how” you use the tools will be different and serve vastly different purposes.


How Social Fits the Sales Funnel

Business partner, Kent Gregoire shared a blog post with me that was written by Greg Alexander over at Sales Benchmark Index. By now, many companies understand the concept of creating content that is compelling to move opportunities from awareness, interest and desire into action that turns into a tangible result. The blog post focused on helping a client to evaluate over 100 pieces of content to try to determine what content was moving people through the sales funnel. Interestingly enough, the content that was having the greatest ROI was in the middle of the sales funnel. At the same time, the company had very little content actually attributed to that portion of the funnel.

After the marketing folks climbed down off the proverbial ledge wondering how in the world they could rally the resources needed to crank out the content they most needed but lacked, a deeper look was taken to better understand if it was the content or the way in which the content was communicated that made the difference. Hint: it wasn’t the content!

This story got me thinking about how important it is to determine if you are taking the right sales approach, based on the changes we now see in buyer behavior.

Social media fits the sales funnel and has the greatest potential, I believe, on the “front end” of the cycle during the prospecting, opportunity qualification, pre-sales call research and get that meeting scheduled phase. Done correctly, you get in front of the right buyers faster and significantly shrink the sales cycle.

To be successful requires an innate understanding that slamming out a few LinkedIn status updates, Tweets or Facebook posts is NOT what it takes to move a sale from awareness to interest and meeting to close. With respect to succeeding with a social selling approach, here’s where a little strategic thinking comes into play.

The start of the social selling process all begins when your potential buyers are in the “I know that I have a business problem, who can help me solve it mindset”. This is the point in which they surf the web, search out options on LinkedIn and ask their colleagues what to buy and from whom. These buyers are not initially engaging sales people, but they will down the road if they like what they find.

This is why compelling presence and content is critical for today’s sales professional. If your buyer lands on your LinkedIn page and it’s devoid of anything relevant or compelling, game over. They are moving on and you probably don’t even know it.

Here is a 7-step process that I use myself, and I recommend that you and your salespeople follow suit.

Step 1: Create great content - or leverage what marketing has already done for you - and showcase it. If you are in B2B sales, your LinkedIn profile is ideal. Jazz it up with a SlideShare presentation, add a video, share white papers, press releases and case studies using or host a book list. Check out the amazing array of apps available to you within LinkedIn with the FREE service. These applications do not require an upgraded account.

Step 2: Create a list of people you are targeting using “advanced search”. Next, save your search results and then week to week let LinkedIn do the heavy lifting for you. A saved search means that on a weekly basis you will receive an email listing the names of the new folks entering your network who match your search criteria. This is real-time information that gives you the ability to contemplate a strategy for engaging with them.

Step 3: Do some homework to determine what matters most to the people on your targeted list. What drivers are happening in their business?  What are the key initiatives that have been put in place to address the drivers?  Do you have a solution that could be integrated into the business environment?

Step 4: Based on your homework, evaluate the real potential for getting in front of a sales opportunity. Do some digging…does it look like they have budget? What do they have to gain or lose from taking action or not? Decide if moving ahead now will yield the greatest results. Ask yourself if the consequences your prospect faces are dire enough to warrant them taking action? If not, you are likely wasting time.

Step 5: Figure out what groups or forums your prospect likes to participate in. Join those groups and observe and contribute. A client just told me a great story that relates to this point. They are trying to reach a prospect with XYZ title in the companies that they target. A member of the marketing team recently attended an event that included a panel made up of their targeted buyers. During the session, the panelists were asked what the best way to connect with them was and they said, “Don’t cold call us and don’t bother us with email. If you want to connect with us and demonstrate your credibility, join our LinkedIn groups and connect with us on Twitter.” Need I say more? Today, smart salespeople will adapt to the ways in which their prospects want to connect.

Step 6: Assuming all goes well in Steps 4 and 5, determine who you know inside the company that can “sponsor” an introduction or find out who has the strongest external connections that can “refer” you to your targeted prospect. Did you know that when a credible sponsor inside an organization introduces you, 84% of the time that business decision maker will take the meeting? It’s 44% for referrals. As you might imagine, things like cold calling drop into the single digits in terms of securing the right meeting. These 2 suggested approaches significantly reduce sales cycle time, so it’s a smart move to begin there.

Step 7: Let’s assume that you’ve secured a meeting. Put a plan together for what you specifically want to accomplish. This is not the time to deliver a boring; one dimensional sales pitch that is all about you. And while you are at it, skip the lame questions that you should already know the answers to. If you hope to have a shot at moving a deal forward, your agenda must focus on what matters most to your buyer. Buyers want to know that you understand their business and you need to show them that you’ve taken the time to learn as much as you can (refer back to steps 3 & 4).

Social media has implications on the back-end also, but that’s more in line with customer retention and loyalty, which is typically something that marketing owns.

For salespeople, focus your attention on the front-end of the funnel and integrate social media as a strategic approach that blends strong off-line techniques too. Today’s buyer demands a different sales approach.

How much longer will you wait to adapt?

Sometimes It is Better to Say No

I had the pleasure of speaking to room full of female entrepreneurs on Friday about how to best leverage social media and social networking to increase their pool of sales opportunities. It was a good discussion that I kicked off with the idea that selling is marketing but marketing IS NOT selling. Sharp crowd who absolutely understand that at some point you have to stop your marketing and sell something. Selling is what brings revenue in the door.

At what price does that revenue cost you?

During the meeting, we talked about the sales funnel, and I asked audience members where they were finding themselves stuck. Was it on the front-end moving connections to close? Or, were they getting stuck somewhere else, like in the closing portion of the sale. Several told me that they were having a hard time moving sales meetings to actual closed business. I wondered why. As I’ve heard women share before, it came down to being fearful about asking for the money. In addition to concerns about the money conversation, I have certainly noticed that many women tend to price to low from the very beginning. Both circumstances are obviously a problem. No sales, no revenue, no business. It is that simple!

Do you know what you are worth?

It starts with being crystal clear about the value that you bring to clients. I know that I do great work and always give more than expected! If I am negotiating a deal and someone tells me that my asking price is high, I say, “It certainly is; I’m worth it. My references speak for themselves.” It is very important that you stay focused on the value that you deliver and not get sucked into a price war. Can someone else do it cheaper? Maybe, but it won’t be you and the work will certainly not be the same as what you can deliver.

Beware of discounting.

This is where the power of NO comes into play. If you’ve submitted a proposal and your prospect asks you to reduce the pricing, are you willing to say no to the deal? The question was asked of me during our session. My answer is yes. Even if I’ve done the best possible job selling the value of what I offer and the prospect still wants to beat me down on price, I’m more than willing to walk away. I know that if price is the sole focus, there are likely to be issues down the road.

Conversely, I may be just fine to reduce my pricing, but I never, ever give them the exact same services as originally proposed. In other words, I might say something like, “I’m happy to consider reducing the price to support your budget constraints. What portions of the original proposal are you willing to get go of?” This creates a dialog about what they are willing to give up in exchange for a price reduction. If they aren’t willing to give anything up then perhaps want to rethink whether or not you’ll offer them a discount.

As an entrepreneur, I know how easy it can be to want to default to your prospects terms to get the deal even when it will likely not end up being the best deal for you. But experience tells me that if you don’t value yourself, no one else will either!

Sometimes…it’s better to say no.

You Never Know Who Will Influence the Sale

As I was reading through Fortune magazine this morning, I came across a story penned by Becky Quick. She details her experience with salesman at several local car dealerships who mistakenly assumed that the “husband” was the one making the car buying decision. As you might imagine, these salesman acted with typical outdated stupidity with respect to gender and who makes the buying decisions. Hint: it isn’t always the man.

Well, the story got me thinking about the importance of never assuming you know who affects the buying decision. While there is certainly going to be a relevant executive in the picture who inks the deal, that doesn’t mean that they won’t also be relying on the opinions of others in the organization about whether or not to do business with you.

I’ve experienced this personally when interviewing for my position at Microsoft some years ago. Typically, I tend to chat up everyone I meet, because well, I just happen to like people. So on the day of the interview, I enter the reception area, introduce myself to the gal at the front desk and then struck up a friendly conversation, which lasted just a minute or two. Later, as I was I called into the meeting room, I made a point of thanking Tiffany for making me feel so welcome. As I left the Microsoft office that day, I again thanked her and told her that I hoped to see her again soon.

For me, that’s not only being friendly but it is simply common courtesy. Anyone would do the exact same thing, right? Wrong.

Later, after being hired for the job, I asked my boss if there was anything that truly differentiated me from the other, well qualified candidate that the final vote had come down to. He mentioned a couple of things, but he made a point of saying that Tiffany – from the front desk – had raved about how friendly and personable I was. Guess what…that made a difference. As I would later learn, the other candidate had barely given Tiffany the time of day.

Morale of the story? Treat everyone equally and with courtesy and respect, because you just never know who will influence the deal.

It seems appropriate to share some words of wisdom from Dale Carnegie. I’m longtime fan of Mr. Carnegie’s work and still remember the first time that I read, How to Win Friends and Influence People. It had a profound effect of me then, as it still does today when I periodically re-read key passages.

As a result of Carnegie’s influence, these are the key things that everyone in sales needs to remember and practice.

  • Become genuinely interested in others. Get to know them and what they care about. Social networking profiles can yield big clues.
  • Smile. Everybody likes an upbeat person who has smile for everyone they encounter.
  • Call people by name. Remember that a person’s name is to them the sweetest sound on earth. It shows that care about them as a person, and I can tell you from personal experience, it can make the difference in more ways than one.
  • Be a good listener. The old joke goes that we have “two ears and one mouth” for a reason. Do a little homework in advance and then ask questions that encourage the other person to do all the talking. Later they will say that you were the best conversationalist ever!
  • Talk in terms of what is important to the other person. Make them feel important and do it sincerely.

And the final tip from me…never assume that one person is more important than other in an organization, regardless of their title. Everyone can influence a sale and how you treat people can make the difference between losing and winning!

Sales Opportunity Through Right Access

Increasing revenue depends on being able to quickly penetrate targeted accounts, get to the right decision maker fast, shrink sales cycles and close business more quickly. The question many sales managers are grappling with is how? And in the urgent rush to move leads into the sales opportunity pipeline, I see a tendency to look to the past and default to “what used to work” when times were better.

What got you here, won’t get you there.

Marshall Goldsmith’s book of the same name, clearly illustrates the pitfalls of thinking that whatever strategies worked in achieving past successes will still work now and into the future. In most cases (maybe in all cases), they don’t.

A case in point…

I know of a very large, highly successful company who sells B2B services to their clients. They sell to the business owner or CEO of mid-sized organizations and their services are designed to improve business performance. Like many companies, revenue has been stagnant or slightly declining, which led to senior management determining that something needed to be done. Their solution? Insist that their salespeople hits the streets to “knock on doors” on a weekly basis. These reps are required to visit at least 25 companies, which is followed by completing a form detailing exactly where they went and who they talked too.

Now I don’t know about you, but I think this is about as lame as it gets. What business owner or CEO is sitting around waiting for a stranger to barge into their office with something to sell?

Doesn’t it strike you as ironic that a company selling business performance improvement solutions is using a 1970′s approach to reaching new prospects?

You might be wondering, as I did, who actually believes this will lead to qualified leads and the right kinds of clients for this company. The answer is that senior management does. These folks are the people who started the company, and in its inception, they used tactics like knocking on doors and cold calling to build the business. Because it worked then, they still believe it works now.

Activity should never be confused with effectiveness.

It isn’t the number of doors that you knock on or the number of people that you talk to that leads to the creation of new sales opportunities. What leads to new opportunities is targeting the right type of client for your business and getting an audience with the person who can make the buying decision. Walking into a business office and talking to the receptionist (because I’m pretty sure the CEO isn’t going to take a meeting with a stranger) is activity and not necessarily an effective sales approach if your goal is to move lead to close fairly quickly.

There are 4 ways to gain access.

In an excellent sales book called “Selling to the C-Suite“, authors Bistritz and Read talk about the 4 ways to gain access into an organization and the decision maker you want to reach. They are:

  1. Overt - cold calling and knocking on doors falls here.
  2. Sponsor - someone credible in the company sponsors you in the door.
  3. Referral - a trusted 3rd party makes an introduction for you.
  4. Gatekeeper - you connect with the administrative assistant and hope that building a relationship with her or him will lead to that desired appointment.
“84% of executives say they will take a meeting with someone who has been sponsored into the company.”

Clearly, finding ways to be “sponsored” is the way to go. And, as it turns out, 44% also said that they’d meet with someone who had been referred to them by a trusted, credible source. Why then do so many salespeople remain fixated on using approach #1 and #4 to gain access? I believe the answer is that it is easier and creates a false impression that they are “doing something”, instead of focusing their attention on doing the right something.

Seriously, would you rather close a deal in 60-days or 6-months or more?

In the end, shrinking the sales cycle and closing business more quickly won’t happen with a perceived “quick fix”. Achieving this goal requires a little more leg work on the front-end, and the effort is well worth it!


Have Buyers Locked You Out?

Before I get to the reason I’m writing today, I just have to take a moment to reflect on how incredible it is that I can be blogging at 30,000 feet. I’m “literally” in the cloud as I organize my thoughts. As a kid, I knew that I would be a frequent traveler, but never did I imagine that I would be doing my writing from a device the size of day planner. Amazing stuff.

OK, on to my topic for today.

Had the opportunity today to conduct a social media program with a sales organization looking to better leverage tools like LinkedIn and Inside View to supercharge their referral building, prospecting and lead generation activities. Though some in the audience were completely overwhelmed at times (there is so much to absorb it can make your head spin), they were a group eager to learn and stand apart from their competitors. Some of them may have walked into the room a little skeptical about how social can drive sales opportunities, but by the time I wrapped up…they got it.

Do you?

If you sell products and services and are reading this post, I want you to hear loudly and clearly what I’m about to share with you now.


Here goes.

80% of buyers go online and start the sales process WITHOUT YOU! That’s right, they do their homework and may even be researching you right now. And you don’t even know it.

How’s that for a compelling reason to stop procrastinating and get that profile rockin’?

Buyer 2.0 is online looking for solutions that will solve their business problems and the people who will help them implement those solutions. Will they find you or your competitor first? If they find you, what message are you communicating? Is there enough compelling content to peak their interest so that they want to engage with you personally?

You likely have only one shot, and I’ve experienced firsthand how this works.

A recent client told me how they had been referred to me by a colleague. Rather than call me based on the recommendation, the very first thing that they did was go to my LinkedIn profile and website. They reviewed the content, watched my videos, checked out my background to validate that I did have the skills they wanted. It was at that point that they made the decision to connect with me about doing business together.

If I didn’t have the skills they needed, they would have kept looking for someone better suited to meet their needs. And, I would never have known it!!!!

I cannot emphasize enough that this happens all the time.

The tough part is you don’t even know how many times you are being passed over for a sales opportunity, because your LinkedIn profile is practically screaming at your prospect to move on to your competitor.

What can you do? Well, take a minute to read another post I wrote that talks about 29 ways that you can better leverage LinkedIn and put the suggestions into action. That will be a good starting point.

I’m about to close for today, so I want to leave you with a final thought.

If you really believe that actual revenue cannot be generated using tools like LinkedIn…you are wrong!

I would like to suggest that just because you do not understand how it all works doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. And that is a conversation for another day!


Ever wonder why you haven’t lost the 20 pounds you keep saying you want gone?

You haven’t decided to do what it takes to lose them.

Still talking about that book you have inside you but it just never seems to get written?

The decision to get your ideas on paper hasn’t been made.

Not hitting sales quota?

Maybe you’ve decided to blame the economy instead of deciding that people are still buying.

Are you dreaming about becoming your own boss while you slog it out 9-5 for someone else?

Dreaming won’t get you there; a decision to follow your heart will.

In Napoleon Hill’s classic work, Think and Grow Rich, he reminds us that the starting point of all personal achievement is desire. We decide that we want something so badly that our desire becomes a definite purpose, which we then put all of our energy into achieving. Sounds simple enough. Yet there is ample evidence that far too many people fall short of living their ideal life. Is that you?

Maybe it’s fear. After all, change is scary. Even if you know that moving in a different direction in your life or career will lead to something better, old habits die hard.

It’s possible that you’ve been running on autopilot so long that you really don’t know what would more fulfill you in your life or work.

Perhaps you talk yourself out of grabbing for the brass ring because from your current perspective, you just cannot fathom how it can be achieved.

Maybe you waste time blaming others for what isn’t working in your life today, and if that’s the case, you’ll never move forward. Think Occupy Wall Street.

English poet W.E. Henley wrote “I am the Master of my Fate; I am the Captain of my Soul”. Bottom line, no one else stands in your way but you.

Decide. Do. Have faith.

4 Obvious Prospecting Tips for Your Twitter Profile

Yesterday I shared how sales professionals can optimize their LinkedIn profiles to become more “connectable” with prospects. Today I’ll share my tips for optimizing your Twitter profile so that it’s easy for people to get in touch with you. Remember: Buyers are impatient. The more barriers you put up, the more likely they are to move on to your competition.

Here are four changes you can make right now to your Twitter profile to capitalize on prospecting opportunities:

1) Add your phone number to your profile headline.

Some people might disagree with me on this one. The concern I’ve heard most often is that in doing so people leave themselves open to be stalked by salespeople with something to sell. Thinking as the salesperson that I am, I want you–my future customer–to call me if that’s your preference. Besides, you can use a service that lets you easily monitor incoming phone calls. I use Google Voice.

2) Arrange to have an email sent to you from Twitter whenever someone sends you a direct message (DM) on Twitter.

I don’t converse via DM often, so I find this particularly helpful in responding to people who choose to use DM to communicate. Heaven forbid that someone I’m connected to has an interest in purchasing my services and decides to use DM to reach me, but I don’t see the message for days or weeks.


3) Arrange to have an email sent to you from Twitter whenever you get a mention or an @reply in a Tweet.

It is likely that you’ll see the message more quickly via email and then you can quickly respond online or by reaching out to the individual directly.

4) Have an email notification sent to your inbox or your mobile device whenever you get a new Twitter follower.

Schedule time into your day to check out the profiles of people choosing to follow you. You never know when that might turn into a sales lead!

By the way, on November 15, I will present “Sales Meets Social: Identifying and Reaching High-Profile Prospects: at the Sales Strategies in a Social & Mobile World Conference. Perhaps I’ll see you there?

4 Obvious Prospecting Tips for Your LinkedIn Profile

This week I had the opportunity to write a couple of guest posts for the Sales 2.0 Conference blog that offer salespeople tips for ensuring that prospects can easily contact them. The first focused on LinkedIn and the other focused on the things that you can do to enhance your Twitter profile and you can read both of them here on my site also.

Let’s start with LinkedIn…

When was the last time you viewed your social profiles through the eyes of your prospects? Although many salespeople have LinkedIn accounts precisely to network and build referrals, a high percentage of them unwittingly make it difficult for prospects to connect with them.

Buyers are impatient. Make it difficult for them to reach you, and guess what? They move on to your competitor.

If you want to shrink the sales cycle and improve your chances of being contacted by a prospect, here are four things you can do immediately:

1)     Add your phone number to your LinkedIn profile.

Select “Edit Profile” (under the “Profile” tab) and scroll down to the Personal Information section (all the way at the bottom). Although the section is titled “Personal,” add your business phone number and address. Because LinkedIn only makes your phone number visible to first-level connections, I also suggest that you include your phone number in your profile summary and specialties areas.

2)     Include your business email so that your first-level connections have another communication option beyond emailing through the social site.

Remember, not everyone visits LinkedIn on a daily basis.

3)     Set your email settings so that LinkedIn invitations and messages come directly into your email inbox.

View your inbox as your communications hub. Use inbox rules to automatically organize and forward your message to folders you designate for your LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook messages. Be careful, though—don’t forget to check those folders regularly.

4)     Download the LinkedIn mobile app so your LinkedIn network is always with you.

This lets you respond quickly to connection requests and incoming messages; it also allows you to reach out to others when you have down time.

By the way, on November 15, I will present “Sales Meets Social: Identifying and Reaching High-Profile Prospects: at the Sales Strategies in a Social & Mobile World Conference. Perhaps I’ll see you there?

Selling is Social in a 2.0 World

Recently, I attended the Sales 2.0 conference. As a first-timer at the conference, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect, but I have to say that it was one of the best run, most  informative conferences that I’ve attended in some time.

The overall theme of the conference was sales and marketing alignment, in addition to social selling. What I find curious is all the time spent talking about the need for sales and marketing alignment (it has been a topic of conversation for years), but somehow the problem has yet to be resolved in most organizations. Now that social media has entered the scene, I believe that alignment between these two departments is even more critical.

Social marketing campaigns must be tied to current sales processes and CRM systems but I don’t see that happening in most instances. Case in point. I met a Marketing Manager recently from a sizable organization who became defensive when I asked if her company had a social media strategy. “Yes, of course, she huffily replied. I handle all of that.” I said, “Cool. How are you tying your marketing campaigns and social lead generation activities to your sales teams CRM system and sales process?” She didn’t even know what a CRM system was much less understand how social sales leads should be tied it. Folks, social media marketing success is more than putting up a Facebook fan page and it certainly requires more than hiring the young 20 or 30-something who knows how to tweet, but I digress.

Personally, I don’t think the sales and marketing alignment problem is that tough to solve. Am I just naive? Why doesn’t the CEO put both sales and marketing on the same revenue goals and bonus them on the same objectives; i.e. hitting quota. Don’t bonus marketing on cheap leads, bonus them on the right leads! On the flip side, tie a piece of every reps sales commission to following up on the “right leads” provided by marketing. To be fair, we all know that salespeople often ignore the leads handed off to them by their marketing team and that’s generally because the leads are not adequately qualified. Salespeople want to talk to qualified, motivated buyers. Give them the right leads and they will follow up! By the way, signing up for a free whitepaper – often called “raising your hand” – doesn’t mean that the lead is qualified or that the potential buyer even cares about what you sell. Maybe they just thought that the whitepaper sounded interesting.

Here are a few of my other thoughts as a result of attending the conference:

    •  The right conferences are still an incredible way to expand your network. Yes, I love the power of social media, but let’s face it, people do not buy from companies, people buy from people. I went to learn, speak, to meet people and to make connections, but I didn’t go to “sell”. Take note sales folks…the best sales come from the investment in building relationships that lead to opportunity over time.
    • Your online conversations can move offline. I had such fun meeting people like Joanne Black and Anneke Seley that I’ve been talking to or following online for quite some time. Joanne and I have connected again since the conference and have decided that we are twin sisters of different mothers. We both agree that there are lots of opportunities for us to support each other with referral business. And sometimes, you have to travel 2200 miles to meet a local colleague from your own community. That was the case with Judy Yi of Silverpop who works about 10 miles away from my office and wouldn’t you know…we are also members of the Atlanta Women in Social Facebook group. Small world! Online conversation is great, but taking it offline can be even better!
    • Don’t forget the social in social selling. There were a handful of conference vendors who just couldn’t resist tweets full of selling. The me, me, me got a bit old. If you’ve been sharing valuable information with conference attendees and then mix in a pitch here and there..ok, but tweets simply focused on you and what you sell are a big turn off.
    • Keep presentations focused on delivering value to your audience. This is a nice way of saying…don’t sell from the podium. One vendor in particular spent their entire presentation time selling, selling and more…well…selling. Not only nauseating, but they were the subject of numerous conversations throughout the conference and the comments were not positive. Honestly, is that really how you want your company to be remembered? Just sayin.
    • Bold moves sometimes backfire. During one of the presentations, I applauded the move to do a “live demo” of the sales approach being sold. At the same time, I felt like I was witnessing a car wreck in slow motion. The approach was slightly better than cold calling and the techniques used to get things like email nomenclature from the receptionist were a bit lame. Not to mention the rep went back to her several times asking the same questions she had just answered. Listening skills were lacking. As for the voicemail message being left for the targeted prospect…what a waste. It was focused only on what the vendor wanted – an appointment. Nothing in it for the exec at all!  If I was the exec on the receiving end of that message I would have hit the delete button in 2 seconds flat. Lesson… do  your homework before picking up the phone, so that when you need to leave your voicemail message, you’ll be able to leave one that is compelling enough for your prospect to want to call you back.

I’ll close by saying that aside from a few presentation missteps; I was inspired and energized by the sheer number of smart people with great ideas and approaches to their business. I engaged in many great conversations and appreciated the willingness of so many pros to share best practices.  It can be easy to coast along comfortably in our day-to-day lives without remembering the importance of investing in our professional development. I say thank you to all the people that I talked with who so generously shared their perspectives.

Hats off to the entire Sales 2.0 conference team for creating and delivering a conference experience that raised the bar and puts other conference organizers on notice! Seriously, Selling Power, you rock!

p.s. I’m attending the Sales Strategies in a Social and Mobile World. Why don’t you join me for a meet-up?