social_selling_jill_rowleyWhen I first saw the “EloQueen,” she sat on a black leather throne in a purple satin cape, surveying her kingdom for the moment -- a collection of HubSpotters hoping to learn a thing or two about social selling from the woman who'd made waves in the industry. 

Jill Rowley was the woman who had been fired from a Oracle for talking to a reporter about her job: training salespeople to be successful in the new age of social selling. Now, she was filling our whole company in on the very secrets she got fired for talking about in the first place. 

But these secrets are too good to keep within our four walls. We sat down with Jill to get the inside scoop on social selling and her methodology.

Whether you're a rep still green behind your ears or a long-time sales pro with lots of experience in traditional ways of selling, you can learn a lot from Jill. At the very least, you'll find out why one of the top salespeople in the world wears a shiny purple cape to speaking engagements. 

What Is Social Selling & Why Should Sales Do It?

The way customers buy products has changed -- so we need to change how we sell things to them, too. According to the Corporate Executive Board, 57% of buying process is complete before talking to sales. Consumers are also 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals.

Jill's take on this all?

“The modern consumer is digitally driven, socially connected, and mobile empowered. Sales reps need to adapt or be replaced."
[twitter-birdTweet Quote]

To adapt, reps need to learn the art and science of social selling. Social selling isn't about jamming the sales process down people's throats; It's about using social media to create better relationships with prospects (Jill likes to call them "future advocates") and customers. 

Jill's been an advocate for social selling for years, and she's even seen it's success on the other end of the sales equation -- that's how she got her cape. While out and about at SXSW, Jill received a tweet -- she had a gift waiting for her at her hotel. When she got back and opened up the gift, she found two presents: the cape pictured below and a handwritten note. In the note, the salesperson referenced content Jill had written before and explained how the cape could help her continue to fight against poor sales practices. 

And it worked. Jill ended up spending several hours with the sender and to this day is in talks about working together.

This shouldn't be an isolated story -- all sales reps, regardless of quotas or territories, can start infusing some social selling best practices into their daily routine to close more deals and drive better company bottom-line metrics. 

The 5 Pillars of Social Selling

The best way to see how social selling can impact your sales process is by, well, trying it. Below are Jill's five pillars of social selling, each paired with a quotes from her time speaking to our sales organization. She believes each is a crucial part of growing your career in sales and embracing the latest consumer purchasing trends. 

1) Personal Credibility 

“No one really likes and trusts the quota crusher." [twitter-bird Tweet Quote]

Even when prospects won't pick up the phone or answer your emails, they can always learn more about you through your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn ... anything they can Google.

Jill argues that these social networks can establish your expertise and give prospects a reason to trust you. 

For example, you could use your LinkedIn page to show how you crush quotas again and again ... but what's in it for the buyer? Instead of digitally beating your chest, you should optimize your page to be helpful for your customers. It should be rich with content on your industry and speaks to what your customer needs in the buyer journey. 

By building your personal brand (which is done by checking off a few of the other pillars), you can establish trust and respect with your potential customers.

2) ABCing and Socially Surrounding

"Your network is your net worth." [twitter-bird Tweet Quote]

ABCing doesn't stand for Always Be Closing -- it's Always Be Connecting.

Set 20 minutes aside to look for ways to network and meet new people on social media. Social connections can help influence deals and customer happiness down the road. 

You should also be socially surrounding your connections -- meaning, you should connect with them in multiple ways on multiple networks. After you've made solid connections with one person on multiple social networks, continue the process by taking a look through the prospect's followers and see who else you can connect with. 

As long as you aren't stepping over the line in creepy territory, you'll be able to build relationships pretty easily on social media. And avoiding the creep territory is easy if you have common sense.

"Common sense isn’t optional. Don’t do stupid.” [twitter-bird Tweet Quote]

 

3) Content as Currency

"Content is the currency of the modern marketer AND the social sales person.” [twitter-bird Tweet Quote]

Just like marketers, salespeople need to be reading, sharing, and creating content about your industry -- that's what your buyers are reading, too. By reading and sharing relevant content, salespeople can establish a solid personal brand and domain expertise. 

4) Social Listening

"I can be more interesting and relevant even though I’m not there.” 
[twitter-bird Tweet Quote]

Like any great sales person, you can't always be the one talking if you want to develop a relationship with people. Listening and responding to what others are saying on social media about your industry, your company, and yes, even your competitors, is crucial to being successful. 

Jill gave a great example of how social listening can be even more beneficial than in-person networking. “I love to go to events for the cocktails, content, and connections," she said. "I can network the crap out of an online event. I can get on the hashtag and I can see who’s tweeting and reply, favorite, or add context. I can be more interesting and relevant even though I’m not there.”

If you have the right tools, social listening is easy. At the very least, you can set up Signals and Zapier to send you realtime notifications.

5) Measurement

Like any successful sales person, you've got to keep track of how you're spending your time and effort. Jill says there are two metrics you need to keep an eye on when social selling: 

1) Vanity Metrics: These are things like Klout scores or your Social Selling Index -- they don't show how much your efforts contributed to your quota or your company's bottom line, but they are indicators of social success.

2) Bottom-Line Metrics: These measure the effect social selling has on your business -- we're talking about pipeline and revenue. These metrics are what you really should be focusing on, though it requires a company-wide investment in social selling to get the software to track these. 

While it may feel daunting to track metrics outside your quota, without these metrics, you can't change how you operate -- never mind how your organization operates. And if you're going to be taking the "adapting" route, you'll need 'em. 

Do you use social selling? Share your best practices with us in the comments below. 

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Originally published Apr 3, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017

Topics:

Social Selling