How to Implement a Social Selling Program

Freshsales CRM partnered with Jamie Shanks (CEO, Sales for Life) for a webinar on “How to Implement a Social Selling Program” on May 24, 2018.

In this webinar you’ll learn:

  • Why social selling should be a strategic initiative at every company
  • The importance of aligning sales, marketing, and enablement for social selling initiatives
  • Key tactics on how to approach and measure the success of a social selling program

Webinar Transcript:

Tejas: Thank you so much for joining us from across the globe today for this very very exciting webinar. My name is Tejas and I am a Product Marketer for Freshsales CRM here at Freshworks. Freshworks is a high-growth SaaS company that specializes in tools that help improve teams within organizations. We work with customer service teams, sales CRM and ITSM to name a few verticals. This particular webinar is brought to you by Freshsales, it is an intuitive and easy to use sales CRM product. We really proud to say in just over a year since its inception, Freshsales has about 10,000+ customers from 50+ countries over the globe. And I’m excited and I hope you all are also very excited about today’s webinar called, ‘How to Implement a Social Selling Program’, and we have Jamie Shanks here with us. Jamie is the CEO of Sales for Life. To tell you a little bit about Sales for Life has helped in pioneering social selling with its cutting-edge coaching, innovative training and learning management systems.

And Jamie of course almost needs no introduction and he can be considered amongst the world’s leading social selling experts. He has coached thousands of sales professionals from across the board right from fortune 500 companies to solopreneurs and I think that’s absolutely ideal for the kind of diverse audience that we have here today. So thank you so much, Jamie, for joining us and we look forward to educating us about what social selling is over the next 45 minutes or so.

A quick thing before we begin, I’d like to let all the attendees know that this webinar is being recorded so if any of you are interested in listening to it again we’ll provide you with a link to the webinar recording by the next week. We also have the series of upcoming webinars, we as Freshsales keep doing a lot of webinars regularly. So the next one would be, how to build and scale a successful sales team by Scott Leese who is the SVP of Qualia. That’s on June 12 and we have an online workshop on how to scale your sales team from 1 million to 10 million by Jacco Vanderkooij, the founder of Winning by Design, that’s on June 26. You can visit our website and sign up for them.

We’ll also be taking questions towards the end of the webinar for Jamie. So feel free to key in your questions as and when the webinar proceeds and I will select them at the end for Jamie to answer. We’d also like some social interaction going on, so feel free to take screenshots and tweet as we go along. And I think I’ve said enough so without further ado, Jamie it’s all yours.

Jamie: I greatly appreciate the invite and I just wanted to put on the webcam to introduce myself. Again this is part of the digital experience to humanize myself and to synthesize market best practices. Now to save bandwidth what I’ll do is I’ll turn off the webcam and we’ll get right into it. And I want to be able to answer that question, how do you implement a social selling program? First, you have to ask yourself is why, why should I care why does this matter? Every company in every country in every industry is going to go through some sort of maturity curve.

Think of this is just like a product lifecycle, digital maturity curve. The only reason that the sellers are going through this digital maturity curve is because, whether we like it or not our customers are learning with or without us. They’re using digital platforms to reach over their peer-to-peer network to do online due diligence. And as a social seller, my job is to meet them halfway along their journey and help them along this journey. So here’s what’s going to happen, you cannot stop and what you can’t debate with me is that if this is going to happen.

What you can debate is when it might happen. But basically along this curve here’s what ends up happening; on the left-hand side you see examples of customers of ours that have begun this transformation and they began this transformation typically for one core reason. They need to generate more pipeline and the ways that they’ve been generating pipeline are becoming more difficult. A phone and email as its as your only mechanism of business development becomes stagnant or actually becomes counterproductive so you start looking for alternatives. What typically happens at stage one, you’ll notice why I have an individual person mounted on this particular stage is that the Chief Revenue Officer or the Chief Marketing Officer you as a business owner are sitting in status quality say to yourself, “Fine, the way that we sell today seems to work but then there are some compelling events that happen either it’s a trigger that happens.

Either internally or externally where either you are a solopreneur or you’re the SVP of sales of a fortune 500 company. You walk around the sales floor or if you’re solopreneur you kind of look at your own self and you say, “Okay, the way that I’m doing things today it’s clearly not working.” Or there’s a disparity between the way that each seller is selling some sellers know what LinkedIn is, some are very proficient at driving pipeline through it and some never been on it at all; so now you’ve known what’s called random acts of digital.

So at some point you take it upon yourself to then start looking at okay, how do I change first my mindset then give and acquire myself the skill set to be able to complement. This is the important piece, – great social sellers complement the phone and email and face-to-face and courier pigeon mail, you know snail mail they do it all. But they look at it and they say okay I need to build a business case for why digital as part of my toolkit can enhance my selling skills. And at that point, that’s when you start bringing on partners. If you’re in a company that has multiple employees, now all the sudden you think of how you scale this and this is where a Sales Leader will partner with marketing or marketing will partner with an enablement. You’ll start to realize that there is a trifecta of people you need internally to drive digital change management. To drive digital sales transformation you need your VP of Sales, your VP of Marketing and your VP of sales enablement or Sales Operations; we call those the three amigos. They need to come together and reverse-engineer the business outcomes to the sales objectives and then down to the digital activities that are going to highly influence those particular sales activities, those sales objectives. The whole reason you’re doing this is risk versus opportunity. You’re doing this because you look at it you say okay, “The way that I’m selling today might be stagnant, might be in decline, might be I’m struggling building pipeline.” And you do a quick Google search and companies like Forrester and IDC and McKinsey have been doing this research project after research project that shows this.

If you split a company in half, half implement digital selling for six months straight and half continue selling the way they’ve always sold. The digital sellers or social sellers will create 20% more pipeline in six months. And you’re doing this, the whole reason you’re on this journey is risk versus opportunity and you save yourself, “I need to do this before this becomes standard operating procedures.” See right now most in most companies, in most industries you might sit somewhere in early adopter innovator; if you’re in technology or telecom you’re no longer early adopter innovator almost anywhere in the world. You’re now in what’s called early majority because whether you live in America’s, EMEA, MENA, LATAM; already technology and telecom companies have already started digitizing their sellers. But you’re trying to get there while it’s still an opportunity before this becomes standard operating procedures and this is just a risk.

So now how do you start pulling this through at a high level? The first thing you have to do, whether you as the business owner or you as a VP of Sales or if you’re at a larger company; your sales operations and sales enablement must benchmark the competencies of yourself and of your team. And you need to benchmark them against your competition and best-in-class. We have a methodology we use called FEED which is Finding, Engaging, Educating and Developing. Every social seller in the world whether it’s on a named account or a group of accounts will learn to find, engage, educate, develop. And you can do spot audits and assessments against those competencies to see if they know how to select the right accounts, socially surround them, that’s called finding. If they know how to engage them with tools like video and LinkedIn point drive; if they know how to build multi-touchpoint sales plays and cadence’s that’s engaging.

Do they know how to educate and share content on a consistent basis using platforms like employee advocacy, that’s educate. And do they know how to develop and grow a network around a customer base or a vertical. So you need to benchmark through audits and assessments, figure out where do I stack rank against my competition and am I at risk versus opportunity. Once you know your deficiencies and your strengths, perfect now you need to get three amigos in a room. You get the sales leaders, the marketing leaders, and enablement leaders and if you are a small business it’s you just like I want a smart small business; you own the accountability to build in a plan. And that plan is reverse engineering your business plan which is business outcomes down all the way down to activities because activities are the only thing that you can influence to highly– those are the only things you can control, sorry to highly influenced sales objectives. So you will build a plan about these aligning to objectives and then you develop and tailor a program that can teach skills. At the end of the day, social selling is going to land on your lap, LinkedIn isn’t going to teach itself. If you live in the DACH region, Xing isn’t going to teach itself. If you live in China WeChat won’t teach itself. You’re going to have to develop some sort of skill path or learning path that can teach these skills so that you can turn learning behavior into repeatable sales actions.

Then, you have to deliver this and there’s a multitude of ways you can actually acquire the skills of social selling. Whether it’s through online video, through live coaching, through virtual coaching, through you know speaking with peer groups. There’s million ways you can learn this skill but these skills just like any other business development skill have to be learnt. You then figure out how you measure this and the best part about digital selling is it’s all measurable. You see the difference between phone and up until recently when you can actually log and track using technology phone calls and emails; you know it was very difficult to determine you know what is my activity yielding. With digital, whether I’m tweeting or leveraging Facebook or LinkedIn I can actually track all those activities and correlate activity levels to sales objectives. So you need to measure this so you understand what is digital doing for my business and then you need to reinforce these skills. This is changed management at its core. You’re taking a teammate’s analog sellers who are used to driving to local offices face-to-face or picking up the phone and dialing 50 times a day. That is the skill set that they’ve acquired maybe over 5, 10, 20 years you’re now introducing an entirely different way of prospecting. This is not going to happen overnight so you need to reinforce these skills.

And if you’re a business owner or a VP of Sales and you’re one-on-ones with your sellers your coaching towards this. You’re taking the activities that you know are important and you’re sitting the teams down and you’re doing spot audits, you’re saying okay show me your top five accounts, show me your activities in the last five accounts. Show me what you’ve done and engaging them on a storyboard on something that’s going on in the market right now; how are you sharing best practices with them. And this is your opportunity as a coach to see in your one-on-ones if everything is being pulled through.

So now the question of the webinar was, “How do I implement a social selling program?” For adoption to actually take hold, you have to reinforce application. There’s an incredible cone of learning diagram, I don’t have it on me. But think of a triangle and the triangle is cut up into little sections. You see what I’m doing right now by speaking, you’re probably only gonna remember like 10% of what I talked about. But if I actually got you to teach it back to me; so we ended this webinar and I called upon one of you to come on the webinar and be me and coach back a framework of something that I talked about. If you’re able to do that you’ll retain almost all of what is being said and it’ll become part of your DNA. So thus, you have to think about the learning mechanism that could repeat that process. So what we end up doing as an example is we recognize that people learn differently. Some are visual, some are auditory, some are you know kinetic, they learn by doing so you have to give them all types of learning; virtual coaching, live, eLearning but most importantly you need to test people. So one thing that we developed that worked really well was every week you give people an assignment a real-life application. So as an example, if you went on my LinkedIn profile today I was at a company in Toronto called in Intelex and we gave them assignment. And the assignment was that last week they needed to select a new account. Each seller had to select a new account to go after based on a social selling concept called the “sphere of influence” means like what accounts have the greatest social proximity around your existing customer base.

So every seller went up on the whiteboard and they identify which account they were going to go after. And they drew a circle around that and they told a story of why they’re going to go up to that account based on an advocate changed jobs from one of our customers into this account or we have three people that are in that account that have great social relationships connected to our customers so we can leverage that. And then we actually practiced engaging them, we made videos; you know that’s an example of an application. You can’t just ask people to do things you’ve got to have them to teach you back to you, have them apply it.

So then what do you do? You give them a coach. Give them somebody that they can continue to pin ideas off of, more resources to learn from and then ultimately keep practicing that application and this is something that we discovered along our journey of helping train hundreds and hundreds of companies around the world is to give them a goal. And as an example for us what we did to certify sellers in our program what we ended up doing was we made them have to create a net new opportunity. Logged in their CRM and they have to then develop a storyboard around it and present it back to their leaders just to become certified. So what it did is it forces sellers to learn and – learn a new concept practice it, learn a new concept practice it. They build upon these practices until they could actually create a new conversation, book a meeting, start and discovery call and actually create an opportunity all from social selling because you’ve built these little staircases of learning to getting to an outcome. The outcome is like pipeline creation. So adoption only comes when you keep practicing it until it achieves a sales objective. So of the 300 global customers around the world that we train, there are some commonalities to what made them incredible at not only learning, absorbing but then becoming digital businesses. Microsoft, Teleperformance, CA, workfront, Thomson Reuters; what do they all have in common?

Number one, when they started this journey some of them like CA and Thomson Reuters started this journey in 2013 and they have been picking away division by division, seller by seller, new hire my new hire and digitizing their sellers. Why? Because they took the customer the center of it all. All they did was they just walked a mile in our customers shoes and they said, “How does a customer buy?” Wow. Okay, a customer learns through their online networks. A customer downloads blogs. A customer watches videos. Well we’re going to sell the way our customers absorb and learn.

Number two, this digital strategy then becomes an executive priority. If you own a small business that means that you need to do this. There’s a concept of ditch-diggers and foreman. That means that you as a leader need to do this yourself and you need to show by example. And from a leader of a bigger business you need to lead by example as well and have the team recognize that of the top three initiatives you’re working on this year; becoming digital sellers has to be in that top three. If it’s not don’t do it. Honestly, postpone it. Wait till next year. Do not try to do this haphazard leap to transform a business to become digital. That means that this is what you’re going to work on for six months or a year.

Number three, learning becomes a culture. You’re willing to fall down, you’re willing to embed this into your DNA and measure it and evolve. You don’t have a team that rolls their eyes and cries and whines when it comes to learning new skills, you know where they kind of walk in with their tail between their legs like, “Oh my God or learning and training.” That’s not going to work. You have them a culture that says, “Hey, what I’m doing is working, I’m doing great but there’s always more skills that I can acquire. And I’m going to take an hour out of my week to learn a new skill.

Number four, accountability to change these responsibilities of the sales leadership to transfer to the sales professionals. Where I see the biggest failure in front line sales managers is they think that whether it’s sales enablement or sales or– people are going to transfer these sellers skills and then the leaders can sit behind a desk and just watch spreadsheets all day long and they themselves don’t need to become digital and they themselves don’t need to be a coach. Failure, it will never take hold it will never become part of the company’s culture long-term. The sales leaders need to take responsibility to recognize you’re the coach. You are the ones that are in the one-on-ones hearing the stories and you can guide them as to the right activities.

Number five, digital is embedded into your existing sales process and methodology. Here’s a simple tip, one day the words social selling and digital sales won’t exist and it shouldn’t because all it really is selling. The only reason we’ve given it you know a sexy little certain name is so that for search engine optimization you can identify with this key term. But long-term, this just becomes part of the way you sell. There should be no difference when you leave a voicemail and you send out an email, you should also make a customer a quick video. When you send somebody a PowerPoint presentation, you should embed it into a LinkedIn point drive so that you can track buying intent and map the buying committee Instead of mailing them a booklet you can send them this podcast or sorry, this webinar. And this is just a digital version of the same sales plays you’re already running; that’s all that you’re trying to do.

Number six, marketing can’t take a back seat to this. Marketing alignment is needed to fuel the conversations for your sales army, for a distribution army. Marketing’s job is to create, organize, help distribute and evaluate the engagement of great content and insights. Marketing needs to be at this table to help you along the journey. And number seven, be willing to fail. Be willing to test measure and prove change management is healthy. I think as my own self as a leader, every initiative that we’ve stopped and started it never took the route so my fault. It’s because I didn’t take accountability to seeing this through.

So now you get a sense of what those companies did to become best-in-class, let me show you the kind of the three stages. There are standards, there are best practices and there’s best-in-class. Here’s what standard operating procedures look like, you’ll get a mobilizer that’ll raise their hand and say, “Man, my inside sales team needs to change” or “my field team in the UK we need to grow.” So you have a single person that raises their hands but it’s clear that to the rest of the company this isn’t a priority. It’s only a priority to this one person’s business unit and they don’t even have the authority or the ability to measure this properly; all they do is they collect subjective stories. But it becomes very clear to this person in this business unit, wow the digital is a great complement to their pipeline develops. Now, what are best practices? Best practices are where that mobilizer starts making friends and now teamwork starts happening. You have a bit more executive support. You might have a divisional leader a country manager say, “Hey, I can’t believe we’re talking to customers without helping them digitally.” They get some support, they get some digital skills they even start thinking platform-centric; this is an important one. You’ll notice that this isn’t best-in-class. Platform-centric thinking is just okay. The reality is a LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Xing, Line, WeChat, WhatsApp; these are mechanisms for data and mechanisms for communication. They are not social selling. Great companies are not platform-centric, they’re processed centric and they use platforms to execute sales plays.

So a best practice is a certain thinking platform-centric they go out and they buy LinkedIn sales navigator, they try to weave it into their sales process. And then objectively they start collecting some data on behavioral change, LinkedIn social selling, index scores go up, you see the rep start sharing content you might book some meetings; it’s in your CRM, great. But here’s what best-in-class looks like; Digital is just selling. It just becomes the is of how you sell. Marketing they need to fuel conversations and sellers know that they are the distribution army to those great insights. They leverage learning behavior. They actually don’t just track a lagging indicator which is CRM pipeline or a current aid indicator such as behavioral change like actions and activities. They actually go to the leading indicator, a single greatest leading indicator of success in your business or who is willing to learn a new skill and actually apply it. So great companies monitor learning as a skill. And then finally the digital sales plays are interwoven into their process; it becomes process-centric not platform centric. You only use the social platforms to help you execute a sales play because you know it achieves a sales objective.

And now remember we were talking about learning, why is it the leading indicator? Let me show you a real story. Four years ago the Chief Learning Officer at CA Technologies, his name’s Andrew Plunkett and I had a very similar goal, idea mission. I’m a big believer that those that are willing to learn a new skill and actually apply that skill in the market are going to outperform their previous self and their peers and their competition. It’s like in school those kids that sat in the front of the class and actually raised their hand, that’s kind of like a learning behavior were more likely to when you had quizzes and assignments do very well on those quizzes and assignments and ultimately got into the best schools which is an indicator because learning translates to action, action into outcomes. Well, here’s what CA did they took the social selling program and what they did has they had a bet with themselves and they said, “We’re going to monitor every seller around the world that actually becomes social selling certified versus those that give up and quit because guess what? Sellers do quit and we’re going to monitor them over six months and see how they do.” Well, guess what happened? The sellers that actually completed certification on social selling created 38% more revenue and 55% more pipeline. And you know what? I actually think it has nothing to do with social selling. It’s just yet another skill to demonstrate to you as leaders that the right people you want on your team are those that are willing to actually learn a new skill and apply it in the market. And what they did is they just used social selling as a litmus test to be able to determine if that’s true or not. So I highly recommend that all this come– You know social selling empirically has proven to drive pipeline, no question. But how are you going to make that happen? You’ve got to give them the skills and you’re gonna measure who’s willing to take those skills to another level and actually turn into action and that’s where the success will be. And there are companies that you can leverage.

If you want you can reach out to me afterward. I’m happy to guide you to companies like yours in your industry or in your country. We’ve trained 300 global customers around the world and meet your peers. Learn from them, how they actually pulled through social selling programs and small businesses all the way to the largest in the world to help you along your journey. So you know I appreciate, I wanted to keep this to under a half an hour so we can get the QA. But I hope that what I showed you is a roadmap that learning turns to action and if you keep on the action button and you reinforce it and you push towards; it those actions actually drive sales objectives.

Well, you tell me if I’m gonna read the question. So perhaps as a next step, people can put in the chat box any question that they have, any concern, any idea. And maybe the team here will actually read the questions out to me and I’m happy to answer them.

Q and A

Tejas: Thank you so much, Jamie. And like Jamie said if any of you guys have questions for Jamie; if you have suggestions, if you have any ideas, I feel free to key them into the questions panel. We are going to be taking them right now.

Jamie: Any questions?

Tejas: Yes, we do have a bunch of questions coming in. So Claire actually tells us, “Claire works in social media and marketing and social enablement at his company and I’m having trouble getting people to move on from hitting calling and email quarters and just to be a human being on social selling. What can I do to convince them?”

Jamie: So, of course, one of the very first steps that people take and I think I just kind of showed a diagram of course is, no matter how much you talk about change management; you can send them every Forrester and Gartner and Frost & Sullivan report that you want. What do you might want to do is grab a pocket of people in your business and do a proven concept in a pilot. Get them enabled, get them doing a couple things such as you believe in the power of video as an example. Instead of just doing a phone call and email and rinse repeating it; have them add a third element to their business in which they’re making personal videos, whether they’re introductions of saying hello or if they’re making videos around whiteboarding best practices. You know we have these whiteboards all over the office and we make videos to introduce ourselves or the whiteboard little ideas. Use a tool, we use a free tool called GoVideo from Vidyard, fantastic tool. And you can embed it via email, you can embed it into any social platform and use that as your use case. Let them do it for 30 or 60 days and then you have a couple stories where the sellers are saying, “You can’t believe it I open up an account with that have been dormant for two years. You know I made him a personal video, they engage back, we have a meeting book next week.” Now you can shop that story internally to get people a little bit more engaged to say, “Well this digital thing, like a digital video that can humanize yourself, that’s interesting. Maybe we should all look at that.” So it’s about collecting a small couple you know anecdotal stories that you can shop that gets people to go like, “Wow, I had no idea.”

Tejas: Alright. I’m sorry, did I cut you off?

Jamie: No no that’s great. I just talk a lot so.

Tejas: Next question. So Jenna has a question. She says, What is the best email platform example say MailChimp to track – track open rates, link clicks etc?”

Jamie: Now your own set of my own expertise. I don’t know if there’s– Here’s– This is going to be my biased opinion I don’t believe that there’s any one platform that’s necessarily better than any because it’s truly about the message within it that engages the customer. The platform doesn’t engage a customer. So my recommendation is that the communication message that you’re embedding inside whether it’s MailChimp or Constant Contact or a Freshworks; whatever the platform is. But you need to think about being bold and different above and beyond text-based messaging maybe. Is there a way that you can– Can you incorporate what we’re doing today? We’re adding value like this is intellectual property, a half an hour video of intellectual property that customers of yours might love. Can you give this to them? Now that’s more engaging than a random text based email. I don’t know that it is the platform this is the most important piece, that’s my opinion.

Tejas: Thank you. So I’m gonna club the next two questions because I found them to be a little similar. So Glen asks, “What is the plan to get my company started with social selling. has a question that says how would you advise a startup company to start organizing a social selling program?”

Jamie: Okay. So now we’re gonna come to the whiteboard. Okay, this is what I would do, you have a start-up business, there is a simple concept. This is how I started my business and you grow account by account. You don’t have time other than your inbound leads. You don’t have time to call every business around the world because you’re almost if you’re in a startup business you’re still trying to get traction. You’re almost trying to evaluate what is my ideal customer profile? What I highly recommend is whoever asked that question, you have a group of customers that have already been successful. What I’d like you to do is grab a sheet of paper, hopefully, you can see my webcam here. Grab a sheet of paper and put a…

Tejas: Jamie if you were talking about showing your webcam, we cannot see your webcam feed right now.

Jamie: Oh well then I’ll explain it to you. What I’d like you to do, grab a sheet of paper and put one of your existing customer logos in the center of that particular logo and that page and draw a circle around it. Then what I’d like you to do is to go on a tool like LinkedIn and reverse engineer every person that has ever worked at your customer that no longer works there anymore, that has moved on to accounts that are not your customers. So as an example, let’s say you sell to the vice president of IT. What you do is you plug in your existing customers and you look at people past, not current that no longer work there anymore and you’re seeing where they work today. And you look at all the companies that all the people that used to work at your customer now work. Those are some of the first places that I would start because you have an advocate or somebody who is experienced or work in a business that has experienced your solution. Now is working in an account where if you open the door and talked about that customer’s experience, they’re much more apt; this is called social proximity. They’re much more apt to want to have a conversation because they can visualize what success would look like. That’s the very first place I would start from account selection is reverse engineering your existing customers to see their own social proximity around job changes and referral opportunities.

Tejas: Alright thank you. I’m gonna move on to the next question here. Miguel says, “How do you digitally sell to it see that is not digital?”

Jamie: Okay so there are very few industries that are not digital left. I mean we have customers selling the manufacturing and dental practices and so forth. What typically happens is you’ll find that not every buyer is digital. So think of this as three circles, the first circle; if I’m selling into an account I drop into the social networks of buying committee of a customer. If those people aren’t digital, I cross off the small circle and I build a bigger circle around it. And then I think, who in that entire company is digital? Is there any information I can gather from other people that work in that company they can give me a contextual idea of you know what’s going on in that company? And if no one in that company is digital, I cross that off and then I look at the industry level. And at the industry level again, I’m looking not only as companies but I’m looking for industry influencers. Are there people that influence that industry? Like you know analysts and you know thought leaders that actually are digital and I want to connect with them and learn from them so I can take their insights and also feed it back to that customer base. But I might feed it back in an analog way. I might have used you know industry experts who are posting online. I might take some of that information and I might use it in my phone calls and emails. But typically there are three levels, the people, the company and the industry; somebody in there is pouring out enough information to help you in your business development programs.

Tejas: So we have another question here which is Robin asking “how do you build a pipeline for a highly niche business. For example, he says, we deal with plastic packaging and a lot of our marketing strategy is inbound via website and PPC.”

Jamie: Yeah, so you need to start research this is the most classic account-based sales development strategy. So if you’re in a very niche industry you know you’re a very defined account base. So now you need to develop sales plays, digital sales plays that actually– and I would use not only digital. But if you’re in a very niche space I would use Guerilla Marketing or like out of home (OOH) you know physical mailing and these kinds of things. You’re going to do whatever it takes to get those companies attention. This is where digital– this is where you get very personalized and that’s why tools like GoVideo I love to use because I am going to– If I’m working in a nice space I’m going to tell the stories of one company to the next and it’s kind of this incestuous world. Let me be the resource to what’s going on in this entire vertical or this entire industry. And we can talk that offline, I give that person my email address. But you know digital selling is very powerful for very niche industries so that you can become the sole kind of thought leader to that set of industry.

Tejas: Thank you for that. The next question that comes in says, “What do you recommend for a getting started toolkit for a startup that’s under a million dollars?”

Jamie: So startup toolkit for under a million dollars? You don’t need to spend any money. All you need is social platforms that are free and a laptop that has a camera on it. And you can humanize yourself digitally through video. You can communicate with most of the world through free social platforms. Do not spend in a dollar, just get in the habit of using these tools and platforms as a means of communication to achieve sales objectives. But size of the company doesn’t matter. I mean my company used to be just me and then we grew it right and it grew through three platforms and just putting out content, sharing content, starting conversations, connecting with people for free.

Tejas: So Jamie we do have time for some more questions right?

Jamie: Okay.

Tejas: So Lars here asks us a very interesting question which is, “What are some of the biggest inhibitors to a social selling”

Jamie: Yeah, biggest inhibitors to a social selling program, and I would then fast forward to this particular slide on the seven habits or seven elements of what success looks like in the best digital selling companies in the world. Basically, take the negative of these elements. The biggest inhibitor is where you have a leadership that– a leadership team or one or two people in the leadership team that are a detractor, that believes that digital is not the future or not going to be part of the fabric of the sales organization. That poison pill in the business at the leadership level, can completely dismantle any change management. And you know I’ve seen it either at the leaders of– frontline sales managers of divisions or at marketing levels. Marketing says, “I’m too busy, I don’t want to get involved in this kind of stuff” they’re more on the branding side of marketing. They don’t think kind of account-based marketing, they become the poison pill. So the inhibitor is not tools and platforms; it’s the mindset leaders willing to embrace a new business development methodology.

Tejas: Thanks Jamie I’m actually going to club the next three questions because they’re again on the very similar team. So Amy asks “one of the things that they’re battling with is to get their management team to buying into social selling. So do you have any suggestions on how we can do this do you have any resources that they could use?” Mark asks, “How is a social selling program beneficial?” And Louis asked us that you know “if there’s any advice that you could give you know say to a startup who is starting to implement a social selling program; what are some of the things that you would ask them to look out for?”

Jamie: Yeah, so I’ll answer the first one or two questions. The only way that you can actually scale this, is you have to be able to show executive leaders empirical evidence that whatever your metrics of business development were today that you can create incremental growth. You’re not horse trading you know digital for analog and analog digital, you can create incremental growth with digital. And that requires carving out a group of sellers to do a proof of concept through a pilot and giving them the skills and the runway to run with it, and then start collecting stories. If you look on the left-hand side, these customers, some of them started with the tiniest pilots and then they grew to where it is now their entire globe of every seller on earth is now selling that way; that didn’t happen overnight. So to answer question one and two the only way you’re going to get leaders to buy into this is they have to like anything else they have to believe that these skills can create pipelines that doesn’t exist today. And you actually have to be able to prove that. No matter how many case studies; I mean if we have an endless resource library of case stories and success videos. We’ve trained a 100,000 sellers so they can meet anyone that they want. But you’ll find for those leaders that you know show me don’t tell me; you’re going to have to create a pilot. And so to part two of the question was on what would I do as a small business to get going? Similar to what I mentioned before. You basically can have an outbound strategy and an inbound strategy. Okay, if I were to start a business today I’d have two initiatives. My inbound strategy is going to be around content marketing and I would create a blog a day. I would make a video a day, we would do exactly what you guys are doing right now I’d have a webinar every couple weeks. You need to be a magnet and a resource of best practices for your niche of an industry. So then in the last six years that’s what we’ve been doing. You just put out great content, that’s your inbound strategy. The problem with inbound only is you can’t control the customers that come in down.

So then you need an outbound strategy and that outbound strategy is every time you win a new logo, every time you win a new customer put up that customer’s level on your wall, on a sheet of paper and then draw a circle around it and think of the people and the companies that actually would care to know more about you working with that particular logo. So as an example, you end up winning Teleperformance here on the left you see. You then reverse engineer where has every Teleperformance executive moved on to and there are then accounts that we would love to do business with. Because now I can tell the Teleperformance story or if I reverse engineered the social networks of the leaders at Teleperformance; who are they connected to them or not and can they broker an introduction to the account I’m not already in? And so every customer you win becomes a spiderweb of other accounts you can go after. And so those would be my inbound and outbound strategy, just do that rinse and repeat over and over again.

Tejas: Great and again so I’m going to club the next two, we’re almost coming towards the end of the Q&A. So the question here by Karen is “What do you consider the main or the priority sources of communication that salespeople need to use?” And Nicole asks us. “What are your thoughts on LinkedIn Inmail and are people actually paying for that service monthly?”

Jamie: So it’s a great question on both front so I’m gonna combine it with where I believe the future of that communication is. I am a big believer. Anybody that has connected man LinkedIn will recognize this. I am a big believer that the way humans want to absorb information is not by long diatribe written emails. And so it kind of goes to the in mail question and communication question. I am a big believer that people buy from people and you can humanize yourself in under 60 seconds and synthesize best practices, very complex ideas in only 60 seconds via video. I am very bullish on the power of video in a one-to-one email or one-to-many email or through social through, LinkedIn in mails communication. Now let’s come back to the in mail as an example. I love a tool called Go Video by Vidyard, we use it every day. I actually, instead of writing an email to a prospective customer I’ll make them a 60 second video from this very laptop and I’ll paste it in an InMail. The difference is the in mail when it’s received by the buyer it actually comes in like a YouTube video. It comes in as an iframe of an entire video. So on a mobile device or on their computer when they get your message they see your face you know they see the click you know click a video button. They’re much more apt to take a look at it because look at how you buy, you probably watch a lot of videos on Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter or what have you than they are to kind of read your long boring email. The read and response rates and the conversion of these messages are 10x, 20x that of the written word. So I think it kind of answers both questions. My communication, I find that number one I could talk ten times faster than I could type. So I’m not even writing emails anymore. I’m using video as a means communicating to people because I can humanize myself and I can synthesize very complex things in short amounts of time for people.

Tejas: Thanks, Jamie. We have I think what is the last question for the day. So this question comes in from Nancy. Nancy asks us, “What percentage of salespeople have actually adopted digital sales and social selling businesses or certain sectors of industries that are more advanced than the others and are there some that are not converting at all?”

Jamie: Yeah, great question. So right now this is what we are seeing; so what we’re seeing for companies that have moved human be are industries that have moved beyond early adopter into early majority are: technology, hardware, software, IT services, SaaS-based companies, telecom companies have all started to move towards early majority; even at a global level. Companies that are still sitting in early innovator, early adopter that is starting to come home; industrial manufacturing, other forms of manufacturing, industrial automation. We’re starting to see manufacturers really start to move this way. We recently noticed Airlines as an example; I’m just trying to think of other major industries. Industries that have not adopted, that have shocked me so far; when I started this business, I assumed because I came from the professional services world that financial services, insurance, professional services and consulting, commercial real estate, I mean that’s in the people business. I thought for sure they’d be all over this. They are very much barely even starting in the early adopter category. So that can give you a sense as to some of the industries we’re starting to see really take root here.

Tejas: Thank you so much, Jamie, and thank you all for joining us. I think all of us had a great session and I think all of us did manage to grasp at least some of the basics of social selling. And I think we’re in a better position to at least you know to take the first step even if not go to the whole hog right away. So, we thank you all for joining us, we look forward to seeing you again and as promised you all will get a recording off this webinar by next week.

This webinar was brought to you by Freshsales CRM. Freshsales is a sales CRM built to help you stop juggling multiple tools. It’s ideal for small businesses and refreshing for enterprises.