5 Things to Consider When Deploying and Scaling Social Selling

by Julio Viskovich

julio-viskovich-photo

In this video, Julio Viskovich shares with us his thoughts on how to scale social selling for large enterprises and how to embed social selling in your sales process. Specifically, you will learn the following:

  • Why Google searches are an important part of social selling
  • Where are your buyers and how to reach them via social selling
  • Do sales reps need twitter handles?

About the Julio Viskovich

Julio specializes in Sales and Marketing alignment and social selling implementation strategy for enterprise organizations. To date, he has helped over 10,000 sales and marketing professionals align through people, process and platforms. His passion is to help organizations empower employees to have human-to-human engagement while delivering the right message at the right time.

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Webinar Transcript

Jose: Hello, everyone. My name is Jose Sanchez and I am the director of marketing at Sales for Life. For this new session in The Social Selling Summit, I am very happy to have Julio Viskovich speak for us. Julio is a VP of marketing at rFactr, a platform for [inaudible 00:00:17] via social media. Julio drives all the marketing strategy and works to empower other social organizations with social selling. He is the Forbes Top 30 Social Selling Influencer and pioneered social selling at HootSuite before joining rFactr. Welcome, Julio. Take it away.

Julio: Thank you, Jose. It's a pleasure to be here and a pleasure to partake in this amazing event. Of course Sales for Life are great friends of mine, so I can't thank you enough for having me. And of course for the audience, thank you for joining. I'm extremely excited, because social selling is something I have been extremely passionate about since its inception and I can't thank you enough for allowing me to share my expertise today. 

What I wanted to chat about is something that is still a little bit of an enigma in the social selling space and that's how to deploy and scale social selling. It's something that's been so new lately and nobody's really crossed that chasm of doing it 100% properly that it certainly leaves things open to interpretation. And I want to share my experiences and would love to share my expertise with the audience today on how I recommended how organizations use social selling, how they deploy it and how they can scale it.

So as we move along, Jose, you've done a great job at introducing me. If anybody does want to tweet at me during the event, it is @JulioVisko, and if you'd like to connect on LinkedIn, feel free to head over to LinkedIn.com/socialselling. 

So without further ado, our agenda today is going to look at an overview of the social selling space. We are going to look at the different areas of social selling maturity and then we are going to look at the five tips that I want to talk about today that's going to really help your organization drive social selling in a successful way in 2015, and those five things are people, process, platforms, measurements, and revenue attribution. 

So let's start off with a quick overview. It's a very interesting space that we are in because the world has changed. We are looking at the internet changing everything. It is a technological revolution, and how are we going to take advantage of that. Now this light is up not because it's a new statistic, but because of the changes it represents and what's happened in the social selling space. We all know that people are doing their research online, that 75% of the buying process might be already complete before they contact us. We know that. But let's look at what that causes in the overall market place. 

People are online searching for contents. They are out there, they are using Google. So whether you feel your audience is social or not, that is not really applicable in this case because if they are not social, they are on Google searching. And let me tell you one thing that Google's done over the last couple of years and definitely continuing that trend is waiting content coming from social very heavily, because it is relevant, because it's new, because it's current and because it's from a third-party. The social content is very relevant to Google. So if you are not putting that information out there, then you are letting your competitors, not only own social but own search. And we are also looking at different sort of sales reps today, right? People are coming to see us now at sales spokes with better knowledge than some of the sales reps that are working. 

So one of the things that I picked up over the last little while, and talking to a lot of sales leadership has been the idea that, "Hey, our guys are jumping on the phone and the buyers are actually more educated than our sales reps." How do we change that? How do we make them into subject matter experts and add value, and last but not least, there's just a load of information online. There's third-party information out there. People no longer come to us and receive the be–all and end–all from our sales reps, so from our first touch points. They now have third-party information, review sites online. They have access. So there's no more BS. And what you're looking at is a completely different world. This is the world that belongs to the modern buyer, and we have got to give the right content and make the right actions to connect with them. 

So as we kind of look at this connected buyer, they are everywhere. They are online. If you as a seller are not online, you're missing a huge opportunity. And when I say our buyers are connected, I don't just mean they're on Facebook, they're on Google. They're in different areas online. There's a number of different social channels out there, and I think I can probably name about 25 different social networks that I've been active on over the past year.

What I suggest is never taking a generalized approach and thinking you need to be everywhere, but what you do need to know is where your buyers are. And the first thing that I always recommend in that case is sitting down and developing a good buyer persona, making sure that you have your audience really defined, and that's going to often take help from the marketing team. Once you have that persona defined, now you can start to look at where you should spend your time. Efficiency and productivity are of the essence in B to B sales. And if you are not taking the right action being productive and efficient, you are missing. So what I recommend is making sure that you map the social networks that line up to your buyer demographic in your ideal customer profile and that's going to tell you what social networks ultimately that you need to be on and that you need to be spending your time on.

Now let's look at maturity because this is a very interesting concept right now, because people are still learning what social selling is. I'm still adopting it. They are still figuring out how they can get online and take advantage of the social media space. So social media maturity seems to have been taking about four different sort of buckets or four different sort of manifestations. 

The first one is having no social strategy at all. I remember being involved in this while I was at HootSuite and this is how it started when I was there was just taking on social from an ad hoc perspective, just random people in the organization saying, "Hey, I think social is a good idea. I'm seeing and hearing things online. I want to do it." That's the first step, but what happens is things start to quickly bubble up. Other people start to get involved, some mistakes happen, content gets shared that might be out of place, and people start looking at their situations and saying, "Okay, we've got to go one of two ways. There's no such thing as social selling in our program or we embrace this. We understand it's a good idea and we are going to roll it out the right way," and that means not in an ad hoc random way. It means starting to focus on putting control mechanisms in. 

So starting to look at, "Do I need to implement Twitter handles for my sales reps? Let's audit their LinkedIn profiles. Are they representing themselves right? Are they using the right key words in their profiles?" making sure that there's a guideline in place so that everybody meets a minimum viable standard, so that they can go out and social sell and you can be happy and understanding that they are out there representing your company in the best possible way. So that is the second.

And as you move beyond that, you start to look at social enablement. Once you've moved past the implementation of guideline stage, it then begins to say, "Wow, now we actually are mapping certain social skills to our process," and that's the first thing once you start to look at this third stage. The first thing I recommend is sitting down and having your sales process out, and actually mapping and drawing lines from different parts of the sales process to different social activities. 

So, for example, from a prospecting perspective or a lead development perspective, there's a lot of listening going on. So the mapped activity that I would put would be social listening. What do you do with that activity? You're going out there, you're creating streams of content online, you're searching, you're looking for buying signals, you're looking for people talking to your competitors, you're looking for a number of different things. So that's certainly a great way to start if you're looking at it from prospecting or lead development. 

And then of course as you move down the funnel, there certainly are other activities from a social perspective that you can map. When's the right time to show social partnerships? When's the right time to share content that reviews you versus your competitor? There's a number of different things that need to be taken into account, and that can only be done sitting down and mapping your process. 

And last but not least, the fourth stage and it's very rare that I see anybody in this stage if anyone at all, but it's advanced social selling. And this is where the sales team, the marketing team, the analytics team, they're all working together towards one common goal. And social activities are actually being driven through data. And I think that's where everybody wants to get. We'll see a few companies get there this year and it's going to be exciting because we are going to see a change in social selling. We are going to see analytics drive activities. We are going to see data driven content and predictive analytic help us understand which content we need to share online. 

So I think it's going to be exciting and I can't wait to see some of those organizations that actually hit the advanced social selling stage. And SiriusDecisions put this together. There are great groups. If anybody's looking for information online about social selling in the B2B space, I highly recommend heading over to SiriusDecisions and checking them out. They do a great job at though leadership and they talk to everybody in the space and they know what is going on.

So now of course you are looking at a maturity model. We are ready to move into social selling. Now let's talk about some of those key tips that I wanted to mention today. And it starts with people. You have to have the right people on your team, and we can talk about training a little bit down the line, but what I want to talk about is how to activate the people that are currently there who meet a minimum level of technology aptitude and how to leverage them. 

And I think the first thing that needs to be done before activating people on social before giving them content to share, before even having them go out and listen to the market place, we need to make sure that they have a presence. Are you even there? So once we've met those, which networks our buyers are on, we know which networks our sellers have to be on. And when we do that, we need to optimize their profiles and make sure that they're connecting with the right customers. 

As we mentioned, we need to be subject matter experts, we need to add more value than previously done through the sales process, and this is a great way to first build trust and credibility right off the bat with potential buyers. But really what we are trying to do here is just establish a good presence. So what I recommend in this stage is making sure if your sales reps are niched or if they are verticalized or if they have specialties, one of the major things that I found really successful is go to Google Keyword Tool and do a search for that specific niche. Is it media and entertainment? Is it technology? What is that niche? And when you do a search, you start to learn pretty quickly what other keywords are currently being used in the market place and what are people searching for. So it's going to give you a whole list of different keywords that are being used in conjunction or are related with that search. 

So if you are specializing in social selling and you did that, you would quickly understand that enablement, training, social sales, those are all other related keywords. Now as a sales rep or somebody who's helping build a sales rep's profile, we want to take those hot button keywords that are being searched for and we want to insert them into the right areas. 

So, for me, you can see that I have a really nice headline above and I really try and use the word social selling. I'm trying to target that. I want to have some SEO juice on LinkedIn. So I'm using each and all the keywords that I feel are going to drive eyeballs to my site or my page on LinkedIn. And so definitely a great way to use an easy tool to figure out what people are searching for and figure out how you should lay in your profile is use keywords. 

So once people are set up, which is the first part and the first part of the battle, we then have to figure out how this process looks. How do we put the right training and the right program in place? And this is a really interesting slide because what happened is we've seen social media evolve substantially over the past three or four years. It's been insane. We've seen different departments take on social media. But what we've seen over the past while is marketing really owned that. So what that means from a training and program perspective is that people are getting trained on how to be marketers. They are using marketing tools and technologies that are out there, and sometimes sales reps don't need that. I'm finding that in some of those trials or pilot programs with large organizations, when they are passed with using a marketing tool, or a marketing related process, then that's when we are seeing efficiency and productivity drop. 

Sales reps can't be tasked with being marketers. They have to adopt certain amounts or level of marketing activities in their day to day, which we are calling social selling, but they are not supposed to be marketers. They shouldn't be out there curating content, sharing content that perhaps puts them in a bad light or doesn't align with your overall strategy for an organization, or mention something that one of your competitors might look better. These are all things that we can't empower 100 or 200 of people in a salesforce to go out and find out that information and share it. 

So making sure that you have a right strategy in place and what I've called as sellarketing. It's sales niche marketing and it's no joke. It's got to happen this year. It has to happen for this to be successful. Marketing has to figure out a way to get the right content over the sales for them to share at the right time and in the right channel. And that's something that we are going to see work through in 2015. We are going to see organizations put the right training in place. 

And when I say training, it has to be transformational. Not informational. And that's the one thing that I've seen happen is with this online base, we're seeing a lot of on demand trainings, we're seeing video-based trainings. Social media changes so fast, but how can you expect that that training is going to be transformational? We are moving at lightning speed, so you need to find a vendor that provides training that is up to date, that they are constantly on it, that they deliver this on a day to day basis. Don't settle for marketing training. Make sure that you choose a vendor that specializes in sales training and you are going to be successful. 

That forms one of my favorite parts and I kind just want to continue on my last point is, "Are you giving your people the right platforms?" I have seen so many tools come out in the past few years and it's been insane. And each one is the best at what they do. And that's what their taglines are. 

So what we need to do this year as sales leadership and people who truly want to leverage the right technology is we have got to figure out what are the technologies that are built for marketers, what are the technologies that are built for customer service, what are the technologies that are built for sales. And we need those technologies, because they are going to empower us to be better at what we do.

If you bring on a platform that perhaps looks great on the outside, when you actually start banging away on it, there's stuff that doesn't need to be there. You are opening up a can of worms for sales reps that they don't need to have open. We need to find a way to make them more efficient, more productive and we need them to be on the front more. And if you can find a platform that delivers information quickly, doesn't provide overabundant amount of options that a sales person would never ever use, then what you are going to find is a more productive use of social media and you are going to find the right things that you can take small elements of social marketing and work them into your sales process. 

It's such a small amount that you should be looking at from a marketing stand point that I don't want to ever see anybody fall off the wagon by using the wrong platform. So make sure that you're using technology that really speaks to B2B sales and you are going to make sure that your salesforce is going to reduce customer acquisition costs, they are going to increase pipeline, and they are going to be overall more efficient and more productive, which brings me to measurement. And that's the great question that everybody seems to be asking these days is, "This is all fine and dandy, this social selling thing, empowering all my reps to be on social, but how do I actually measure it? How do I essentially figure out if the cost benefit makes sense for us to continue the social selling program?"

Well, there's a few things that I recommend considering right off the bat. So if you are a sales leadership, a few things that you should be considering is activations. It's the first key metric to consider. How many people are actually using this? Because the idea of social is to increase and create a synergy of messaging in your organization to create advocates that push out the right messages to own search, to own social, to push more eyeball to your site which will ultimately lead to more conversions.

So if people aren't activated on social and they are not participating in the program, then that's something to be extremely concerned about. So that's the first thing that you want to be careful, because the program if it's not rolled out properly and results in failure, then the potential for disaster is there because there's so much opportunity in social selling and if you don't do it properly, you ruin a pilot, then it's just not going to get you the numbers that you are looking to get. 

But what it will do is if you do drive activation, you are also going to be looking for a few things. You are going to be looking for, "am I getting more leads? Am I getting a bigger pipeline? Am I actually driving more sales that is attributed to social media?" And those are the things that people are struggling with today. How do I attribute social media activities to the bottom of the funnel when we actually win a deal? And that's something that's been talked about for a couple years. Now we're finally starting to see that happen. We're starting to see the attribution be there. And I think that's something that needs to be considered.

From a marketing perspective, there's also some pretty amazing things that could take place. What we're seeing out there is organic reach very much being restricted. I think [inaudible 00:19:29] allows 1% or 2% organic reach to your audience. So nobody is even seeing it. And the other networks are getting on board. They are starting to do the same thing. So what we are seeing is cost per click rise for marketers, and what social does is it completely allows you to eliminate that by sharing content at scale, by activating advocates in your organization. If you have one Twitter handle for your company putting out information, you are reaching, what, 5,000, 10,000 followers, if you have 500 employees in your organization all pushing that same content out to their social profiles, then that's when magic starts to happen. We start to see clicks going through. We start to see way more eyeballs on our product and services pages. 

What we're seeing is cost per clip drive way down. We're seeing customer acquisition costs go way down. In a world where everybody wants you to pay for their advertising and to reach their audiences on their networks, then we are finding right now that there's a way to combat that. And you can drive these costs down by just empowering your folks to be on social and share.

Which brings me to my last metric that I'd like to point out is REA – reach, engagement and amplification. And that's a great way for marketers to have a look and really measure how their message is being taken in in the marketplace. 

From a reach perspective, when you are sharing content, you have the possibility of reaching X number of people. So in my case if I have 1,000 followers, let's say, I have the possibility of reaching 1,000. If I put that Tweet out on Twitter for example, then if you nobody engages or re-tweets it, what that tells me is A) I don't have the right following, they are not engaged, and B) I might be putting out the wrong messaging. 

So if you look at how many people that you could actually reach, then look at the percentage of those people who actually engage with you. For example, they mention you in a tweet, or they mention you in a comment on Facebook, or they tag you in a LinkedIn post, and then you'll look at the percentage of people who actually amplify, so the number of people who re-shared your Facebook post, or re-shared your LinkedIn message, or re-tweeted your tweet. Those are ways that you can tell how active and how involved is your audience, and that's got to be a metric that you are consistently looking at is you want to build a better audience, you want to build your messaging to be stronger and be more impactful, and ultimately drive more reach, more engagement and more amplification, which will ultimately lead to customer acquisition costs being driven way down.

And last but not least, I just want to touch on the big foot of the social selling world and that is cost justification and looking at whether your dollar should be spent on social selling. So from a revenue attribution perspective, you want to be thinking of cost justification. If I sink this money into a social selling program, does it actually pay us back? Where are we getting with it? And digital awareness is usually a good place to start for cost justification. Are you making people digitally aware? And that talks about two different things. One is, "Are your sales reps more aware of what's happening digitally from a listening perspective and engaging with prospects and taking in data and information?" and b) "Are your prospects in customers more aware of your products as a result of your digital campaigns?" And if you can't show that there is any more awareness about your product, your service, and you are empowering people to go out to their jobs and get on social media, then that is a major problem. So making sure you are doing it the right way. And if you ever see numbers that tell you that you are not justifying your costs using social media, revisit your program, revisit your technology, revisit your training, revisit each of the five things I talked about today and you are going to figure out where you went wrong and how to right the ship. 

So what that does is it kind of brings me to a conclusion for my presentation. I hope everybody enjoyed it. I'm very passionate about what I do. I love social selling, and I love helping people get a competitive advantage, and I love helping people reduce customer acquisition costs. I don't feel that you should pay for the reach that some of the networks are asking for, so I want to help you find out ways that you can drive those costs down and ultimately make you successful. So I wanted to thank you all for taking in my presentation today and, Jose, thank you very much for having me and I'd love to turn it back to you.

Jose: Thanks so much, Julio, for such a comprehensive and clear presentation especially today when a lot of people are getting started with their social selling efforts. Just a quick reminder before we finish. If you have any questions for Julio or myself, we encourage you to use the hashtag #socialselling plus our Twitter handles, JulioVisko, that's @JulioV-I-S-K-O for Julio, and @josanchezr for myself. Thanks for joining us today and please enjoy the rest of the event. Thanks, Julio.
Julio: Thank you.