Embrace Social Selling and Learn to Truly Connect!

SocialDear Leaders,

My note to you this week will be brief but packed with a couple key tips around your social selling efforts going into 2015.  As I attend numerous conferences, panel discussions, and webinars each year, I often hear questions from the audience that go like “what is the most important social selling tool”, or “How should we get started with our social selling effort”, and even “Can you measure the ROI of your social selling efforts”?   Although I don’t have the perfect answer to these questions, I would simply say that social should be embraced by your organization and sales reps.

Here are a couple tips I gleaned from Koka Sexton and Jill Rowley during an interview at Dreamforce which has helped me to simplify my own understanding around key social selling best practices:

  • KOKA SAYS – Make your linked profile more about your REPUTATION than your RESUME. The point here is to not simply list your past jobs and titles, but to take the time to create a sense of who you really are, what matters most to you, what are your values, and how have you helped others advance their own careers.  This type of profile allows viewers to see the real you and the positive reputation and personal impact that goes along with it.
  • JILL SAYS – Don’t think of your contact list as PROSPECTS, but rather FUTURE EVANGELISTS. The thought here is that sales people try to break through to prospects by pitching the value of their solution and getting their foot into the door with the hopes of securing a future meeting. By treating your contacts as future evangelists you will need to invest time in getting to know them and by being interested in helping them.  Mike Pierce (aka Antarctic Mike), a speaker at some AA-ISP events, notes that it’s critically important to be genuinely interested in the challenges and needs of others.  He goes on to say how he tries to offer assistance where he can when reaching out and getting to know people, especially as he is forming a relationship early on. By offering help or just an open ear to new contacts, they will gain trust and respect for you and what you do.

Want to LEARN a lot more tips about SOCIAL SELLING?!  Be sure to register for the SOCIAL SELLING SUMMIT on Thursday, 1/29/15.  Koka, Jill, and many others including Matt Heinz, Lori Richardson, Jamie Shanks, Steve Richard, and Julio Viskovich (to name a few) will be presenting!

Register here: http://www.socialsellingevent.com/

Until next time, good leading and good social selling!

Bob

Leadership Efforts Going Into 2015…

StartDear Leaders,

My letter to you this month has to do with your own leadership efforts and focus areas going into 2015.

During 2014 I had the wonderful opportunity to attend and observe numerous inside sales conferences, several chapter meetings (including the launch of Dublin), benchmarking visits of diverse inside sales teams, “The Largest Gathering of Inside Sales Leaders in the World” – The AA-ISP Leadership Summit, and countless conversations with prominent authors, speakers and leaders.  Having observed, listened and gleaned numerous tips and ideas around raising the performance and professionalism of inside sales leaders, below are three areas to consider for 2015.  My next blog will focus on three more, so stay tuned!

  • LEADERS NEED TO DEVELOP THEIR CAREERS IN 2015 FOR THE NEXT LEVEL OPPORTUNITY:  Make no mistake about it, there is a huge gap in the number of sr. level job openings and the availability of experienced inside sales leaders to fill them.  Given my role and exposure within the inside sales community, I am getting calls almost every week from recruiters looking to fill mid to very sr. level roles.  Some of the comp packages are extremely high and continue to increase… law of supply and demand!    If you’re a frontline manager to mid-level director, NOW is the time to continue to advance your career.  Build your network, benchmark other teams, soak in all the development opportunities out there, attend AA-ISP events, and even consider obtaining your AISM (Accredited Inside Sales Manager).
  • DISCRETE MODEL vs TEAMED MODEL?: Although the “Teamed” selling model continues to be the most popularly deployed across companies of all sizes and industries, the “Discrete” model is gaining momentum.  Many mid to larger enterprise organizations may deploy a few different models for their inside sales teams as there is a clear shift towards “un-coupling” inside from the field in certain situations.  The key driver behind this move has to do with how PROSPECTS and CUSTOMERS prefer to engage with sales people.  By now it’s no secret that decision makers want to connect “digitally” and virtually”… in fact they have been doing this for years… it’s just some sr. sales leaders that don’t want to accept it!  This shift in buying behavior makes it clear that face to face resources aren’t necessarily needed to transact business.  Thus, the “Discrete” model where an inside based rep carries the quota while carrying the ball across the goal-line makes perfect sense.  AA-ISP Research indicates this new model is on the rise… and it doesn’t surprise me at all!  Consider piloting a “Discrete” model in 2015 and then let us know how it goes!
  • YESTERDAY’S METRICS DON’T CORRELATE TO TODAY’S RESULTS:  It’s high time we realize that the quantity metrics around dials (prevalent in past years as KPI’s) don’t translate to today’s selling models.  During my own benchmarking I have found time and time again that the top producers aren’t necessarily the highest in call quantity.  Do the test yourself and let me know what you find.  This does not mean that the effort to reach prospects is dead… far from it.  It simply means that prospects are communicating more via alternate means such as e-mail, social and inbound, and prefer interacting initially that way.  Additionally, when and how you call, the use of direct lines, auto-dialing, and the advent of local presence allows for greater connections thus yielding less need for quantity metrics altogether.

I hope this gives you some food for thought as you plan for an outstanding year in 2015!

Until next time, good selling and good leading!

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