A Revenue Revolution - How Social Transforms Sales Within an Organization

by Jill Rowley


In this video, Jill Rowley focuses on operationalizing social selling for the enterprise. Specifically, you will learn the following:

  • Why we need to switch from social selling to social connecting
  • What the modern buyer looks like and why it matters
  • Why social means being empowered and having access to information and people leads to social networking

About Jill Rowley

Jill was one of the early hires at Salesforce.com; she then went on to spend 10 years at Eloqua where she was on the ground floow building the marketing automation market. Since then, she sits on boards at several companies and is a keynote speaker at various events in sales, marketing, and in leadership forums.

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Webinar Transcript

Jamie: Welcome everybody. This is a presentation you cannot miss. This is the Social Selling Queen Bee. I want you to meet Jill Rowley. Jill Rowley is a mentor and a friend. She has been a huge inspiration for our business, because she is the keynote speaker and evangelist on the topic of social selling. She was with Oracle. Now she runs her own social selling evangelists system. Please be prepared, she talks fast, and she knows her stuff. Please everybody, get ready for Jill Rowley.

Jill: Thanks, Jamie Shanks. I am so excited to be here today on the Social Selling Summit along with so many other thought leaders in the social selling space. I am fired up to share some content with you guys that is really going to focus more on operationalizing, scaling, social selling across your enterprise. As Jamie said, I am a keynote speaker, I speak at sales kickoff events, sales training events, and also at conferences, and I talk a lot about the why, the what, and how to do social selling.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Jill Rowley and you can find me on Twitter at jill_rowley, what is important to note about my background though, I was a quota carrying sales professional for 13 years in the tech space. I started my sales career at Salesforce.com back in 2000. I spent two years at Salesforce.com and then about a little over a decade at Eloqua. While I was there we were building the marketing automation space and creating a new category. Then when Eloqua was acquired by Oracle, I actually joined Oracle and spent about a year designing, deploying, and driving adoption of a global social selling program.

So I come to you with experience quota carrying sales rep turned into a thought leader/evangelist on the topic of social selling. Before we get started, another point to make is a lot of people want to eliminate the term "social selling," because they think that social sales is always has always been social and that social is just a channel and that we will drop that term. I would actually prefer to drop the term "selling." I think that we need to think that we to serve and help our customers versus selling clothes.

One of the things I have decided to do is redefine the ABCs of selling from always be closing to always be connecting. So let's get started with the content today. Let's meet the modern buyer. Today's modern buyer, she is digitally driven. Most B2B buyers start their search on the web. The modern buyer is socially connected.

I was preparing for a trip to China a few weeks ago, and doing research on adoption of digital and social and mobile across various geographic regions and the data shows that in every geographic region, digital Internet use is up. Social, every region increasing in social adoption and in mobile. Not only are those channels adopted but the time being spent in digital, in social, on mobile is also increasing.

The modern buyer she is also mobile with multiple devices. I sit here with an iPhone, an iPad, and a laptop. The modern buyer she is empowered. She's real-time empowered. She has unlimited access to not only information, but to people. She has context of who those people are and what their experience is. I will talk about the difference between social media, confusing, chaotic, noisy, crowded, unfiltered, the Wild Wild West of the world wide web and social networking.

Social networks layer on two primary things. Identity, who someone is, where they worked, where they went to school, what skills they have, also relationships, to whom that person is connected, what groups they are member of, who they are following on Twitter, and all of a sudden social networks bring order to the chaos of social media.

So today when we are talking about social selling, we are talking about social networking not social media. Let's define upfront what social selling is and there are lots of definitions going around. There is not a single universal definition of social selling. So my definition having been a social seller and now teaching and evangelizing, educating companies on how to do social selling, my definition is it's using social networks. The social networks that your buyers are using. I always say be where your buyers are, offline, at events, online in social networks, hashtag all the time but it's about using these networks that your buyers are using to do research on the buyer, on the buying committee, and their fear of influence, who does the buyer know, like, and trust and socially surrounding those individuals as well.

It's really, first and foremost, about using these networks to do research so that you can be relevant, so that you can build relationships that not only drive revenue but customer lifetime value and advocacy. Your best sales people are not on your payroll. Your best salespeople are your customer advocates and that is related to trust, who does the modern buyer trust? The modern buyer trusts their peers much more than they trust your marketing messages or your sales scripts. So social selling, using social networks to do research to be relevant to build relationships that drive revenue, customer lifetime value and advocacy and it's really two-fold. It's about finding your buyers, your customers, your prospects. I don't actually use the word "prospect." I don't like the word "prospect." I call them future advocates, but it's using these networks to find them, to find information about them and it's also using these networks to be found.

Because the modern buyer is self-educating and using the web and social networks, your sales team needs to be visible and relevant where the modern buyer is today. Your sales team needs to look as good online as they do offline.

Okay, three things: mindset shift, from selling always be closing to serving, helping, educating your buyers, that is the first shift. It is a cultural DNA that needs to exist in your organization, that you are customer centered, that you are customer eccentric and you are customer obsessed. We're going to shift their mindset from selling to serving and helping our buyers; no one wants to be sold to.

Then we need to learn a new skill set. Networking via the social web and setting up triggers and alerts for job changes on LinkedIn, these require new skills from the sales organization and that requires training. So we're going to learn a new skill set and ultimately we have to adopt the enabling toolkit. We do not start with the tools. A fool with a tool is still a fool, no matter how great the tool. So mindset, skill set, toolkit. Another way to say it is culture, training, technology and in that order.

Really quickly, I think you probably already know you need to do social selling, but just in case we'll do a quick refresher on the why. Why do social selling? The reason why from a sales leader perspective, the rubber meets the road with revenue and the data is in. You know we are creating a new category when all of the analysts start to publish research reports. You have this one from Aberdeen Group that shows improvement of sales team quota attainment, forecast accuracy, achieving quota, the percentage of sales after achieving quota and renewal rates. This isn't just about acquiring a customer, it's about keeping the customer, making them happy, and turning them into an advocate. They have all sorts of analysts covering this space.

You've got Altimeter Group, Aberdeen, IDC, Gartner, Serious Decisions, Forrester. It is really exciting seeing the data coming in on the maturity of social selling and the tie to not only revenue, but the metric preceding revenue is pipeline, and I say pipeline saves lives. Social selling isn't about likes and comments and retweets, and shares. It's about pipeline and revenue.

The best sales people, they are not just present in social, but they position themselves as credible and influential sources in their customer networks. This affords them more access to buyers. Think about your best sales reps not as hunters and farmers but as magnets for your buyers, for your customers, for your partner ecosystem, and think about those reps that they're putting so much valuable information out in the web that they are attracting buyers to your company. They're helping enhance your company's visibility. They're helping enhance your company's relevancy and they're helping enhance your company's brand. The best sales people aren't just present but they position themselves as credible and influential sources.

Because we're talking about social selling from an enterprise perspective, I wanted to bring in some information. A research report conducted by a vendor in the social selling space, a company called PeopleLinx, they just recently published a social selling maturity model, and the research is quite compelling. In fact, I was a little surprised. They took a conservative approach in terms of reporting the ROI data. I actually in fact thought the ROI numbers would be higher than they are. These are very backed up and believable figures in terms of the percentage improvement, the lift in return on investment that you get from implementing an organizational operational level social selling.

So in terms of the five stages of the social selling maturity model that they see the majority of companies going through five stages starting with . . . This is where the journey at Eloqua started in fact. The journey at Eloqua with social selling started with a lot of random acts of social. It actually started with marketing going around to all of the offices and briefing all the employees, not just the sales team, but all of the employees on social and what social media was and what the various social media channels were.

Then you saw a few sales people decided they were going to pick up these social channels and start to use them. There was no rhythm, there was no methodology, there was no process, there was no training, there were no tools acquired. It was just really a bunch of random acts of social, but we started to see some positive return and we started to see reps who were embracing this social channel, building pipelines, and driving revenue. In fact, 85% of the companies surveyed are in stages one and two of maturity model, so we are in early days of social selling, in particular early days in organizational alignment around the social networks.

Second stage being policy. This is where companies have to look at their social media participation policies. One of the core elements of social selling is having your sales organization share content. The content that they need to be sharing is not just your company brand and content, but content from the influencers in the industry, from the experts, from the thought leaders, from the analysts.

Some organizations, some large more traditional organizations, and maybe even some smaller organizations don't really want their sales organization interfacing with the analysts in the industry. It might require looking at your policy to see if your policy actually supports modern selling and the modern buyer.

What I have found is that when your sales people are sharing content from the experts, the analysts, the influencers in the industry, they are getting more attention from those industry experts and hopefully, eyeballs from those industry experts onto your organization. So policy is Stage 2.

Stage 3 training, and this is where you see a pretty significant lift in terms of return and an impact on revenue results. You have to have a systematic way to train your sales team on these skills, to train your sales team on how to get the most out of these tools. Training isn't just a single workshop at a sales kickoff event. The data shows that the retention of that information is low. There has to be ongoing systematic training, assessments, coaching, development, and really making it, embedding it into learning management systems and performance reviews etc.

Stage 4 integration. This is where you see social selling embedded into your CRM system, into your Salesforce automation system where you're capturing lead source from social networks. When you're embedding it into your sales methodology and your process, where social is embedded into your account plan and account reviews. Embedding and integrating social into your methodology, into your process, and into your systems.

Finally, the fifth stage, nirvana, optimization. If you think about two large enterprises on global basis, you have regional differences. Not only do you have regional differences from a culture perspective, but you have regional difference from tools, networks, and process, and customer maturity, and even potentially the maturity of the space that you sell in. Optimization where you've got global and local customization, where you have policy, where you have metrics, where you have people who are committed and dedicated to the program and measured on that. So at the fifth level, this is a journey and it does not happen overnight. But I think the fifth level is where all aspire to be given the lift in revenue experience.

PeopleLinx, again, did a great study. Social selling maturity model, I think it's a wonderful document that you can download and a good friend of mine, Bernie Borges, he has a social business podcast series and he interviewed the CMO of PeopleLinx on his podcast series. So if you rather listen to an explanation of the social selling maturity curve, you can Google "Bernie Borges." B-E-R-N-I-E Borges, B-O-R-G-E-S. And you can find the find the podcast interview of PeopleLinx on the social selling maturity model.

Okay. Now, I know there are a lot of words on this slide; however, this is a framework. These are the pillars, practices, principles of social selling and there are five. Really this is designed to guide the sales organization, sales leaders, marketing, sales enablement, sales training on how to go about becoming a social seller, becoming a social seller organization.

So let's start with pillar number one. This is about how you look on the web. This is moving from using LinkedIn as your resume, optimizing for the recruiter, bragging about your quota crushing capabilities, to using LinkedIn as using your digital reputation, and really using LinkedIn as a way to demonstrate to your buyers, your existing customers your subject matter expertise, the value that you can deliver to them, the business outcome that you can help them achieve. This isn't your resume. LinkedIn isn't the resume. It's your digital reputation.

Some people say you are what you eat. I say you are what you tweet. It is your digital exhaust. What are you putting out there? Okay, number 2, ABC, always be connecting.

Porter Gale wrote a book "Your Network is Your Net Worth." and I absolutely agree. You should always be building your professional network. To me, business cards are LinkedIn connections. They are new people to follow on Twitter, and I take a social surround approach. I will send a personalized invite to connect on LinkedIn making it about the person whom I want to connect, congratulating them, relating to them, complimenting them, showing them I have done research. So I'll send a personalized invite to connect on LinkedIn.

If that person is on Twitter, I will follow that person on Twitter. I will look at what that person tweets about. If there's something I think would be relevant to my network, I will retweet or reply to a tweet. I will see who that person follows. It will give me a lot of good insight into that individual to see who they are following on Twitter. So always be connecting, socially surround the buyer, the buying committee, and their sphere of influence.

Number three, Pillar 3, Practice 3. I jokingly say I teach sales people how to read what their buyers read. Not only read but share that content across your social networks. It's about looking at what are the publications, what are the blogs, what are the podcasts, what are the journals that my buyers subscribes to because I want to be a subject matter expert in my buyers' world, so I need to read and then share across my social networks.

This is a good mix of other peoples' content, company branded content, and content that humanizes you as an individual. Everyone knows that people buy from people they know, they like, they trust. What I share is designed to help people get to know me, to like me, to trust me.

Number four social listening or leads. This is different from social listening for sentiment and brand mentions and customer service issues. This is listening for buying signals. This is listening for conversations that are being had that might be of interest to your organization. I sent a tweet yesterday. I needed to get a new washer and dryer. I sent a tweet, "in the market for a new washer and dryer." You would think Best Buy or Sears would have responded to me. That is listening on a marketing level. Nothing, silence. No response.

Social listening leads, how about if a company tweets something negative about your competitor. One, you know they use your competitor's product and two, they are not happy. So how can you use that information to engage in a non-salesy way with that potential buyer. Job change alerts are another very good example of how you listen for leads and lead opportunities. People are moving companies all the time. So as someone who has used your product, leaves their company and goes to a new company, you want to be notified of that because you want to check in and see if there is an opportunity at the new company.

Finally, number five, measure meaningful metrics, measure what matters. We all know in sales the rubber meets the road with revenue. So we need to get to a way where we're capturing information in our Salesforce automation CRM system that allows us how to track social activity influences pipeline and revenue. In the beginning the metrics that you will measure are more indicators, so it might be social selling index, it might be clout score, it might be size of network, but otherwise you really want to get to the point where you're measuring pipeline and revenue.

Okay, training. It is important enough that we call this out separately. When I was at Oracle and I was tasked with designing a social selling program for Oracle's sales organization. I had to develop a curriculum and content, a training program to offer to all of Oracle's 23,000 sales reps. I really did not know where to start. I wasn't sure how to get started. I knew I was a social seller and I use these tools myself, but I was not exactly sure how to build an actual learning library.

Fortunately, I was at a physical event, the AAISP event at the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals and I met a guy named Jamie Shanks. He's in the whole Social Selling Summit. I'm sure you will hear his keynote later today, but he, early days in the maturity of his company, Sales for Life, he told me about the several years that they have been spending on developing training content, and I said can I see the curriculum that you've developed.

So we walked through the curriculum they developed. I said wow, I don't need to invent the wheel. I don't need to design this from scratch. I can leverage the years of research you guys have done and get to market faster with the actual training curriculum. So that's what we did. We licensed the content. One of the things that we did is we actually took the content and put it in the Oracle Learning Management system. We embedded it into the Oracle LMF. We have embedded into being able to track who viewed the courses, who completed them. We embedded it so we could also do assessments of each of the modules. We call them episodes.

Modern selling the social way coming to an Internet browser near you. We did episode 1 of season 1 and Episode 1 was Building Buyer Centric Social Profiles. So we embedded into the learning management system. Subsequently, since I've left Oracle and have been evangelizing more of the why and the what, I have kept in touch with Sales for Life and watched their curriculum evolve, not only to have content for sales professionals, quota carrying sales professionals, but have content for marketing and content for sales leadership.

Big fan of their learning system and their training methodology, their approach to social selling. I want to give them a shout out today.

Last slide, social selling is not a one-off. It is not a tool. It is not a training course. It is not a premium subscription to LinkedIn. It is many, many, many things. I spent, again, over a decade building the marketing automation space with Eloqua. When I joined Eloqua, marketing automation wasn't even a term and I watched the evolution of that category and that space. One of the really interesting things I saw happen in that decade was a really new function within the organization developed: marketing operations.

Marketing operations didn't exist in 2002 when I joined Eloqua. Now you see marketing operations as a core function within many companies. That is because the content and the tools and the methodology and the process and the data that is required to be successful with marketing automation requires new skill set. Same thing with social selling, you need executive sponsorship, you need a program owner, you need cross functional alignment, training, you need a repository for best practices, and you need a collaboration tool for celebrating successes, recognition and rewards. You need the ability to embed social into current systems, and process and methodology.

I will tell you there are a number of companies that are on this journey that are doing this well that are really evolving and have a lot of the right elements in place. A couple of those companies, ADP. In fact, they got a number of these point from ADP. Thomson Reuters, JLL, SAS, Telstra, Cisco, XO Communications, New Horizons, SAP, Microsoft, IBM. There are many, many companies on this journey. Those companies are going to share the success stories, so that the rest of us can continue to evolve and progress on our social selling journeys.

With that, I invite you to send me an invitation, personalized invitation, to connect on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter, and share not only the content that I create, but other peoples' content that I share. I regularly share from the best of the best content from folks like Jerry Merran [SP], Sales for Life, PeopleLinx, Triblio, and all sorts of other experts in the industry. So with that, I wish you tons of success on your social selling journey. Thanks a lot.