Build Brand Through Social Media
by KEN KROGUE
In this video, Ken shares his background and gives us insight into how to truly leverage social selling for maximum revenue. Specifically, you will learn:
Kenneth Krogue founded InsideSales.com in November 2004, where he currently leads as President and Chief Strategist. He sets the vision for the company together with the CEO. Ken brings more than 24 years of experience in sales, business strategy and marketing in both domestic and international markets to the sales acceleration technologies and consulting at InsideSales.com.
Watch this exclusive 62 minute video by Ken Krogue now.
Chris: Welcome everybody, my name is Chris Cannon, Business Development Director at HireVue. It is an honor to introduce you to our next speaker and my good friend, Ken Krogue of InsideSales.com. Ken is the President and Founder of InsideSales.com and he is the number one on Social Selling Index by Deloitte and InsightPool. One of the things that I love about Ken is that he's such as a great storyteller. I worked with Ken for about three years and I believe he is a legend in the Insight Sales Association. With that being said, I would like Ken to take it away.
Ken: Thanks, Chris, excited to be here everybody, really appreciate it. This is a busy week. We've already done a massive webinar with about 40 thought leaders for the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals. I had a great opportunity to do a webinar last week with Barry Trailer of CSO Insights, and I want to share. I've updated this presentation with some really cool data today. There's a few things we're not quite aware of in the social selling world that we better look at and a few couple fun new ideas. But I'm going to challenge things today, because the whole social selling buzz has been a buzz for quite awhile. It's been a little bit of a hype. Barry mentioned that in the last year the research. But the exciting news, the good news is this year the research is showing that it's really starting to get traction.
So I want to talk about that. "Social Selling for Extreme Results" that's the title of the presentation today. My background, I'm the founder, along with Dave Elkington of InsideSales.com. We started this about ten years ago. We've had a lot of fun. I know Gabe and Chris and a lot of folks in this industry. It's actually a small pond we swim in. I tell you what, there's a lot of folks joining in and it's getting a lot more fun every day.
Inside sales as an industry, or professional sales done remotely, has really embraced social selling. I think that's just one of the media that inside sales is so good at. It started with the phone, moved with web conferencing to that hybrid model we have now. It's not telemarketing. It's not outside sales. It's something that's new and exciting. And I want to share the research that we just published, in fact, just a couple of days ago on the 27th on Forbes the 2015 Trends Report. This came from three different interviews with Barry Trailer and a webinar we did together the previous week. We talked about sales process, sales strategy, social media trends, sales techniques, and forecasting.
The exciting thing is this research is still being gathered. He gave us a little bit of a sneak peak but the survey is still open. You can see the URL down at the bottom there, bit.ly slash CSO survey, will take you to the survey. And if you hurry by the middle of February to get it done, you can have a copy of this thing. And it is gigantic. It's full of the most amazing data. They've been doing it for 21 years. This is the 21st year. And last year it was 214 pages, answered just about every question you might have around selling, and there's some real interesting social media trends that he talks about, so take advantage of that. That's a big deal. I'll show this link again right at the end. But I'm going to really recommend that you go do that right now before you forget. You're whole team will be glad you did.
So my background, I write for Forbes, I started in the original inside sales department for FranklinQuest, now Frank Covey, and we were the second fastest growing company in the United States. We were the largest training company in the world. My job was to put on about 300 seminars a month. With new people, and inside sales department's job was to fill new prospects into those seminars and to keep them moving 40 or 50 people at a time. It was busy, busy. But we learned some exciting things. This was in the early '90s.
This article you see here is my number one article. Of all things, it's about Twitter. I used to joke and say what the heck is Twitter good for in the world of business. But boy, I take that back. Twitter has some really exciting applications. This article is ranked on the front page of Google in about ten different areas. And I learned this process through a lot of trial and error.
We test everything here at InsideSales. I modeled this article after this other one, "31 Days to Build a Better Blog," that was the article that got me started years ago. I recommend it still, when I started my blog, which became number one in the world on the topic of inside sales. I think that's really got me invited to write for Forbes. I would go out and start looking at these "how to" articles. Again, we were noted recently as the number one company of the top 500 growth companies according to Deloitte for social currency. We didn't know we were being measured. I was ranked fairly high also just from overall social sales. But here's the reason why, you guys. We only focus on results. We only focus on sales in the door, and techniques that bring that about. Social media has just now started to get traction around results. We've been of necessity having to do that because sales teams have to bring results.
Marketers, they just have to drive leads. Sales teams have to drive sales. I think that's probably why we've put so much behind this. Let's talk about inside sales just for a minute as an industry, because it is the industry of professional sales being done remotely. This is Marc Benioff, founder of Salesforce.com. I always bring up the fact that way back when, when he started his career, he was an inside sales rep at Oracle. He started Salesforce with a telesales team for the first six years. Their whole model was based on inside sales. They've got a massive team today, they do have field sales now, and they're obviously great. We've recently brought on Jim Steele, who was over Worldwide Sales for Salesforce and Customer Success. He has shared so many stories and insights about those early days when they would open up a whole new continent with inside sales and then bring in the outside teams.
So inside sales is not telemarketing. It is professional sales done remotely. Telemarketing was the phone only. Inside sales uses the phone, and the web, web tools, and now social media. Social selling is the latest and it's really starting to get traction.
There's two other really specific areas where inside sales is unique from the traditional outside sales model of going face-to-face. The first is specialization. Now that's where you break the sales model up into specialties. The very first part is where you break the sales from support, the next is where you split prospectors from closers, and then it continues to specialize from there. That's a very key calling card of the inside sales model.
The next is around what we call leading indicators, or in other words, measuring the things that lead to success. Getting first downs. This is a callout going to my friend Todd Reicer [SP] who just absolutely loves Green Bay. Sorry they didn't pull it off. They got some first downs but they just didn't pull it through against Seattle. That was an amazing game. But if you watch the first downs, and you look for the touchdowns, then the game gets won. And that's what leading indicators are all about.
Inside sales is about that. Now, it's really starting to pick up steam. This market research study done in 2013 shows that right after the crash of 2008, inside sales grew 15 times faster than the traditional sales model but even now it's still growing three times faster. That equates to 42,000 net new inside sales reps per year in still an economy that's bouncing back from that crash. It's been interesting. We've got some things to talk about there. But during this timeframe, we did some research, and we started really looking at the numbers. The thing that really put us on the map was probably back in 2007 when this study was finished with Dr. James Oldroyd at the time. He did some research with us when he was at Kellogg, and then he moved to MIT, and this study really put us on the map. It's where we learned to track the numbers and to watch the data. Probably the best model or metaphor today is the movie Moneyball. A lot of people quote it, lot of people talk about it, but not many people know the story behind it and what's going on.
We had the rare opportunity to bring Billy Beane, the manager of the Oakland A's to come and speak at our conference up at Park City last year. He was incredible. It was incredible. Some people ranked him as the single most valuable person in all of professional sports. A billion dollar man here. Because what he did was he taught us how to bring science and math into the world of sports. People, I don't think, realize the critical value he brought to bear for the Oakland A's. And he laughs, but the numbers don't lie. He was the first round draft pick. He mentions this in his speech. By the way, he wouldn't let us bring any media into that one hour speech that he gave. He couldn't record it, he couldn't share it, so I'm only sharing things that are out there on the Internet.
Some of the graphs you're going to see here are pretty common knowledge. I can't and won't even go into all the things he shared with us. But absolutely incredible, but he laughs. He himself was a first round draft pick. The numbers said he is 200 lbs., six foot four, but this guy, Lenny Dykstra, was probably what the numbers should have picked, 5'10" 160, but he was the three-time all-star World Series Champion, a Silver Slugger award. Today, the model that Billy Beane uses would have picked Len over himself. Let's look at some of the numbers that this great team has rolled together.
The annual payroll in 2013 ranked them fourth from the bottom against the juggernauts of the New York Yankees and the Dodgers. Well over $200 million versus just over 50 million in payroll. But using the methodologies of running the game by the numbers, Oakland was able to bring up the most wins of anyone in the league two years in a row. Incredible. 2012, 2013, the most wins on just about the lowest budget in the league. Now how do you pull that all off? That's what business is all about. In fact, what he shares is they run their team like a business. And they look at the cost per win, and that's what we're talking about.
That's where social selling has so much horsepower, and there's so much new leverage that never existed before. I say quite often that LinkedIn, for example, maybe the single most powerful tool ever invented for sales. And it's getting more so. The research, in fact, there's a study out on Forbes, showing the trends of this year, seven top trends, and basically, what my colleague on Forbes just says, you know what? The B2B space, the lead is going to be distant by LinkedIn even further. LinkedIn is just killing it. That's where the value is.
Other trends that have been happening. Things are really changing. Back in 2012, it was all about just getting more leads, hiring the secondary. In 2013, the main challenges in the inside sales space moved to hiring. And in 2014, the challenge is now onboarding and training. Basically, they hired all the reps that they could, and now we have to bring and import new reps to teach them how to do this.
So the good news is these new reps from the millennial generation, they're very used to working on the computer. They're great at social media. Part of the trend is based on their expertise. So I'm going to ask a really hard question right now. I'm going to ask this question. Is social media actually being used to sell? Now remember, one of the key platforms upon which inside sales is built is specialization and where you break apart the prospecting function from the sales function. Here's the question. When we say, is social selling really selling? I'm going to answer, I don't think so.
I love these guys. I miss them. I wish they were still on. Of course, you can watch all the re-runs, but I've seen them all. Home Improvement. I don't think social selling is actually named correctly. Because I can't find social media actually being used to sell. What is it being used for? Well, it's used to build awareness. It's used for listening, qualifying, prospecting the lead-gen, and messaging. But the sales, the closing, again, when we specialize, and we move lead generation separate from the sales and closing piece, that's what I'm talking here.
So if you're still looking at the generalist [SP] model where the sales includes everything, then yes, social selling is selling. But in a specialist model, the specific sales process is not being done in social media. What happens is you bridge from social media to more assertive media either over the phone and through the web, with WebEx and GoToMeeting, or an Expo like we're doing here, and face-to-face is still the strongest of all the media.
So what is social really being used for? Well, it generates leads. It's qualifying and prospecting. That's where it's at. Now, that's the front end of the sales funnel. So let's talk about that. Now that historically is a PR and a marketing function and a demand-gen function. That's really is what social is being used for. And if we're loud and clear, then we can dial in and really go to town.
So for example, we sparked sort of a firestorm a little over a year ago with this article: "Cold Calling is Dead Thanks to LinkedIn." I was doing a webinar with Steve Richard and we promoted and sent out an e-mail that says something like, "Learn How to Use LinkedIn for Cold Calling." Well, man, it ticked off all kinds of people including a blogger over in the UK who said you all should know that LinkedIn isn't for cold calling. You don't use LinkedIn for cold calling. Well, I did know that. But I had also split the headlines and found that if you use the word "cold calling" you get three to four times the results than anything else.
And the very first thing we talked about was hey, LinkedIn is designed for warm calling. It's to warm up and qualify the prospect better, even for getting referrals, using the members first philosophy of LinkedIn. I got a call from LinkedIn. They were pretty ticked at first but then they said like, wait, no, we get it. Okay, I'm with you. And then they joined us on the Google Hangout. It was fun. We tried to get the blogger to come on and talk with us about it, and they wouldn't do it. So anyway, that really powerful webinar became that article which became this e-book, which is now the number one e-book on the topic of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn uses it themselves. It's really powerful. "Cold Calling is Dead Thanks to LinkedIn," you can get in on the LinkedIn site. I recommend you do. They have revolutionized the world of prospecting. I won't call it cold calling because they don't call it cold calling. It's not. It's using a members first, a referral model, to generate your leads.
So let's talk about where are the leads coming from. And this is a great research study. I recommend you go check it out on Business 2 Community, where they looked at what's the different between high-growth companies and average growth companies in terms of how they do web.
This first column on the left here shows that high-growth companies get 62.5% of their new business leads from the web. And an average growth company shows 12%, so there's a massive investment in learning how to use the Internet and the difference between high-growth companies and average growth companies is 15 times on the right there. Fifteen times, you guys. So it's gigantic. And the leverage is huge. That's why this is so important that we understand.
The next slide may be the most important slide of the whole deck today. And that is what's actually working for B2B. Now, again, social media, people often overlook blogging. My friends at HubSpot don't overlook it though. Mark Roberge and I went back and forth for years talking about what's the secret sauce and he said, "It's the blogs, it's the blogs." I didn't understand it at first, and then I realized you know what the blog really has become is the publishing arm. It's the publishing arm of the company. It's also the catcher's mitt. The website is what converts all these leads that we generate through social media.
So if you look to the very first of the blue line on top, it is high-growth companies, their number one platform of choice is blogging. And right behind it is search engines. That's Google, folks. That's the river of traffic that's flowing. And of course, LinkedIn, and LinkedIn is increasing the distant. Everybody else has seen LinkedIn's tail lights and that's all they see. They're going to town. Twitter's getting better. E-mail is still strong. But look at the interesting trend around high-growth versus average growth companies.
Average growth companies use LinkedIn like crazy. In fact, they wear it out. It's so easy, and supposedly, so low cost. But boy, there's not much that will burn your brand worse than e-mail marketing. Web analytics, big. I won't get into all of these. The key point I wanted to make is blogging. But watch close for YouTube and online video. I think it's tracking pretty strong. I believe that anything that we can do to stimulate the face-to-face sales model, which is what inside sales does, will increase the overall results from selling. So video allows you to do that better than anything else.
Let's talk about this next research study. It is one that we did in-house. You can get a copy of it. It's out on the resources page. And we did is we compared all of the different communications media versus media that was most likely to be responded to, versus preferred by busy decision makers. So the blue is media most likely responded to, the purple is what decision makers say is their preferred way to be contacted. We were blown away how strong e-mail is, and that's still the methodology. But it's not the leverages you say earlier in that other slide. Companies seem to wear out e-mail.
So there's a new kind of e-mail that we're pretty excited about that lets you really look strategically at the visibility around the open rates and the attachments and the forwarding. That's where the future is in e-mail, really powerful.
Mobile phones, still huge. Text messaging, that's interesting. Notice only 39% prefer it, but 79% are likely to respond to it. Now there's still some guidelines around text messaging, but it's gigantic. It's, in our opinion, about the best way to get a busy decision maker that you already have a relationship with. Now, it's not appropriate for solicitation. But once you've made a connection, text messaging is really powerful.
Now, this is interesting. Voicemail and the office phone, along with mobile, in other words, telephony is still a very, very assertive methodology for communication in the work environment. And what we have found, still, is that social needs to bridge to these more assertive media. So you bridge from social to telephony and from telephony to face-to-face. So we have a lot of plays around live events because that's the ultimate. When you get face-to-face, people still build the most credibility and the most trust when you can look people in the eye.
Now, LinkedIn is the strongest of the social media for the business environment. Now, of course, online instant message is pretty easy, and you can get online response quickly. But we still feel LinkedIn, and I'll walk you through some of the details on the next slide. So again, on hard to reach decision makers, e-mail is still really the king. A lot of folks just don't because they have to screen their calls because they're so busy but telephony is still the second, third, fourth, and fifth media. And then you move to online, and LinkedIn, and that's how you reach busy decision makers.
Again, we're also looking at how do buyers research you. They go to your website. So if you don't have a website, or if you don't have a blog, they've got no the way to look into what you do. And social media is about fourth, although it's very closely tied with the online search, and just still asking friends and colleagues, getting those references.
But here's how buyers' research you. So let's talk now about the platforms. And specifically, let's start with, what percentage of companies are still using social. This is an Eloqua research study that just came out a bit ago. Frankly, 43% of companies still have no strategy in place at all. 33% still don't see the value. Even as of last year, Barry Trailer, probably the leading the industry analyst, was wondering the same thing. But he's declared loud and clear that this is the year social has really gained traction for the sales process.
Which demands for platforms? Again, the survey was done. What are you using? And 80% were using Facebook; 78% Twitter; and 51% LinkedIn. But guess what, LinkedIn is three times more likely to generate leads and more effectively than the other two. So there's a lot of things that need to be examined there in that space.
So I want to shift gears a little bit and talk for about . . . now this has been a fun thing for me. I've been putting together sort of a certification model for youth, and for adults on social media in how to get started. I drilled it down, distilled it down to these six C's is what I call them. The Core is the very basics. I'll give you another slide on that in just a minute. But once you've learned The Core, then the fun thing about social is it's very interactive. It's named right. It's social. So the first thing you do is you coach other people. It's funny. The youth are usually the ones coaching the adults.
Then step three is you learn to be a curators. You look at that lady there with the scarf on, she's walking people through a museum. A museum is full of other people's content. Now, it can also be an art gallery where it might be your own content. But a curator -- isn't that an interesting name -- a curator is someone who arranges content in an optimal flow for people to take advantage of it and enjoy it. That's what a curator does. They don't necessarily create content, they just arrange it. And that's the best place to get started in leveraging your social media.
But to really focus on you and your thought leadership, you need to move to level four, which is a content creator. And I have spent the last few months really researching the next step, level five, which is what I call a collaborator. And that's where the leverage really starts to kick in. In fact, what we're doing today collaboration. This massive social selling summit is collaboration with all kinds of different thought leaders and people pulling together, sharing their social influence for this massive event that hits critical mass. We've pioneered that early on, over a year ago, with the largest event of its kind. We set records, 61 thought leaders all united together to pioneer the world of virtual trade show for sales. About a year later, we did it again even larger with 82 people and 22,000 registrants, and that's the world of collaboration.
Now, I'll tell you a bit more about it. And finally, a consultant. We have some great consultants today who have learned the tricks, who have learned these best practices. Jaime [SP] is one of the best in the world. I really respect him. Gabe Villamizar, HireVue, the guy is incredible, and this is the level where they've learned these different keys of social media, these levels.
Let's talk about core. In fact, it's funny, if you don't have the first six C's, you only have the one C, and the one C is chaos. So you need a good strategy. Let's talk about the six core skills that you need to do to get started. I'm going to do a deep dive on the first one, which is to complete your dang profile everybody. I'm still going to go up to LinkedIn. I have people trying to connect with me all the time. I love being able to connect with people, but I've been watching and 45% of the people that LinkedIn recommends that I connect with, don't even have a photograph. They don't even have a picture on their profile. You guys, you got to complete your profile. That's most of the battle.
And the question then is, okay, how do you complete your profile. Well, most people, they go out to LinkedIn and they basically put their resume out there. Well, we're going to talk about that. What is a resume designed to do? It's designed to get you a job. But if you already had a job, then you're basically wasting your content on LinkedIn. So content's the next level, community is third. You got to learn how to target the community you're trying to go after, and then you learn to connect and make comments.
A comment in itself is the next big hurdle, once you've learned to create content and connect with people. I remember the first time I wrote my blog articles, I couldn't get any comments. What the heck is going on? I'm in a vacuum here. And then I learned a couple of real keys. The key with getting comments is instead of using a period, you use a question mark. And a question Mark asks a question and engages people to respond. The best kind of comment is a comment back to one that's been made. And then you start a conversation. A conversation is the holy grail of comments. But the thing most people forget is a call to action. And that's I think the reason why we were ranked so high in our social selling index, was we never do anything without a call to action that causes results. And without results nothing matters. Right? Nothing happens. So we're going to talk about that.
Let's do a deep dive into how to complete your profile. I have to call out Koka Sexton. He's awesome. He's ranked number one in the world on that social selling list. That guy's incredible. He gets to the headwaters of LinkedIn and see all the cool things that are happening. Well, he wrote this amazing article called the "Epic List of LinkedIn Profile Tips." It gives you 36 different lists. I think 36 or 34, with great ideas about how to complete your profile. And the research at LinkedIn shows about that completed profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities or leads than if you just leave that picture empty. So get out there, finish it, get it done.
I'm going to purpose a different model, a really simple one, that I call the 6P's of completing your profile. Now remember, most people build their profile around their resume. Well, think differently about that. Because what is your purpose for having social media. Well, if it's, like we mentioned earlier, to generate leads, then that's vastly different than your resume. So first, define your purpose, then choose your platform or platforms. I work in about a half dozen different social media platforms. Then, define your plan. Now, your plan is when and where you're going to work your social media. So for example, I spend about one night a week, I spend about every morning for a little bit, and then I do a lot of my personal stuff on Sunday afternoon, and I have planned very specifically defined where I get together with my connections in my network. I'm always responding to my social network.
So then prepare your resources, and then write your profile. Only when you have done these other things should you write your profile and get it ready. Then the key is just persistently work, be consistent, stay with it, and great things start to happen. Those are the 6 P's of completing your profile, and that'll get you started.
All right, so let's move to the next: content strategy. This is where it really gets exciting, you guys. One of the keys of social media is what I call social nurturing. I didn't come up with that name. That came from Thomas Oldroyd, works here at InsideSales.com. The concept is a lot like lead nurturing, but social is even further up the funnel. Social starts in the PR function. We're going to talk about that.
Now the content levels, this idea was given to me from Mike Plante, who's over our Demand Gen here. He came in and talked about three levels of content. That was a very powerful concept for me, and I expanded a little bit because I wanted to talk about a level called the influencer level. In fact, you remember when I talked about our virtual summit. The second one that we did, we had a keynote speaker, Steve Young. He's a football player. And here we are bringing together thousands and thousands of sales people. Well, he's not a salesperson; he's not in that industry. But I'll tell you what, that was one of the best, that might have been the best, session in the whole summit because he was actually very relevant, very engaging.
But because he was an influencer, he brought in a lot more in the top of the funnel than someone who is very specialized. Now, I am probably level two in terms of content. I focus on the inside sales industry, the social selling industry. Dave Elkington, our CEO, he's more around company information, and Mick Holliston and our folks on the product team, Jared, they focus on product content. And then the sales people, their goal is to bring in proof stories. And so those would be the case studies and research studies. And then sales content or the specific content questions, that people who are ready to make a decision need to have to make a good decision to overcome those obstacles. And then lastly, the client success team, they bring in the how-to's.
So this is logical. This is how you start. So basically, you find out what level someone is at, and the content you would give them is just one step further down the funnel. And that moves them down the funnel, and educates them, and remember, it's education that causes people to change their opinions. And that's what content's is trying to do.
So here's the questions you would ask for the basic overview. Influencers would be famous people that people in your audience care about. In our world, the industry is the inside sales industry. The company is our company name. Then you start moving into specific content that precurses [sic] the products you developed. Give them the why. In our world, for example, we built some technology around responding immediately to web leads. And we tell them the research and share the research behind it. We've had over 330,000 companies download the MIT research that was done when Dr. James Olroyd was at MIT. So anyways, these are some great questions that you can answer to determine what level the content is at that you're trying to promote here.
I'm going to move to another content strategy. This one is more around the world of social nurturing even. It's even further up the funnel. I love that it's an acronym. It's called the ACQUIRE model of social nurturing. And think about it, it's a real easy model to understand. Would someone ever consider buying from you if they don't know you exist? Heavens no. So the first stage of social nurturing and social media is awareness. And that's the stage of PR has filled over the years. So social media at the entry point is really about publicity and PR. The next level is curiosity, and in fact, I'm going to skip ahead because the next slide gives you some specific details on how to approach this. But curiosity answers the question, did you know? My favorite way to invoke curiosity is with research. The next is to qualify, and that's where we find out what do you do, and we match our content to your title, function, and need of your company. Then we help you understand what we do; that's the next level. Then we try and pique your interest, make sure it's cool. And the real key is R for relevancy that's also is need, and that is "do you need it?" And if that's the case, if your need is strong enough, you will engage, and the conversations will begin, and the social selling is now underway. ACQUIRE, that's the model I recommend. Look at your content, categorize it by these levels, use it in that order, and great things start to happen.
So let's talk about the tools are used in the social selling space. Oh, I hit the wrong button, sorry about that. Okay, here we go. All right, so the right tools are critical. In fact, the inside selling space is all about the leverage with the right tools. I've mentioned the power of LinkedIn. I want to talk about that. Almost everybody in the social selling space use the basic or premium versions of LinkedIn. The new sales navigator is incredible with the team links feature.
Most people don't know about this connections app. It's also from LinkedIn. I'll show you that in just a minute here. It's pretty cool. It lets you do some pretty amazing things. There's about four great tools that can help you build your Twitter base. I'd recommend that you look into these.
Again, my 31 Twitter tips article on Forbes gives you a real deep dive into this whole thing. In fact, back in the day, Gabe Villamizar and I worked together on that, it was awesome, with some great help from Leo Dirr who is our corporate journalist in-house. The guy is brilliant. But let's talk about a new approach to social selling that people haven't really thought about here. And I start with this metaphor. So you've got a pitcher and a catcher. And the game can't be won without both of them. But the problem is that most people in social selling are only pitching. They're only sending out content and hopes something happens without putting a lot of thought into the catching. And I've found that the catching is really key to success. In other words, you've got to put a model in place that captures a lead to allow you to then follow-up and make sure that happens.
So I'm going to give you a couple of fun examples here. So one of the most recent ones we've been playing with in-house is a lot of our social media. Whenever I do a webinar and many others in our organization, when you're done, you have these great slides, right? Well, slideshare.net is the great catcher's mitt. And one of the favorite things you can do is keep mentioning some of the old webinars that you've done using the different social media like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. But you've got to send them somewhere, you've got to send them to a place that's easily done where you can capture a lead if they're really interesting.
So we love SlideShare, of course the blog, and the website's the core as we mentioned earlier. But SlideShare is another fun one that you ought to look into if you haven't to drive a place to capture leads. It's very powerful. I promised earlier we would talk about the little app that's called LinkedIn Connected. It's free out on the app store. I would recommend that you go look into that, because it does some pretty amazing things.
You remember that section in LinkedIn where you get the prompts of people you ought to reach out and communicate to? Birthdays, work anniversaries, and job changes. I've been trying to tell these guys at LinkedIn they need to let me turn some of this stuff on and off. I want to try and do that. Maybe it's already been done. I haven't figured it out. Jaime could probably tell me. Jaime maybe you get this stuff. Because I don't think the work anniversaries are all that strong. They tend to clutter everything up. The one that is really strong is the job change alert. That's where the magic is, and this little app on your phone will share with you whenever someone in your network changes jobs.
I did a great webinar, not from my part, but from Craig Elias. He taught us trigger event selling, really, really powerful, and he found that in his world, that a lot of purchase decisions are made when a vice president of sales changes jobs. And the fun thing is that if you're calling in Company A and that vice president has just started, well, the first thing you would do is you see who left that position and find out where they went because they're looking to probably make some purchase decisions as well.
And then if you look at that VP of Company A, you also could check out their LinkedIn and see where they came from, and now you've got a third lead. Vice Presidents of Sales in the first 90 days, that's when they're deciding what they're going to buy for their sales teams. Let's talk about three other really cool strategies. Some of these our teams use in-house. In fact, our number one sales rep in the small business area shared a couple of these strategies. I think they are very, very powerful.
One is inside of LinkedIn, he watches closely the job postings. Now, why would you do that? This is the derivative of a technique I used for years where I would go out to the classifieds on LinkedIn, excuse me, Monster.com, CareerBuilder, and I set up job listing notifications in my target market. So for example, if I am selling in the inside sales space, I look for new job postings by signing up as if I am a rep looking for a job. And then every morning in my inbox, I get e-mails from Career Builder and Monster and local classifieds, digital newspapers, where they will send you the listing of all those new companies that just posted an ad.
Now, why is that cool? Well, if they've posted an ad to hire, they've got money and they're growing. That's one of the key indicators of the ability to purchase. So there you go, look for the job postings. He does it in LinkedIn, very, very powerful.
The next one is customer referral, but in a whole different way. Most people think referrals the way Joanne Black, probably the best in the world at generating referrals. She and I did a webinar together down at Salesforce at the Dreamforce show this past year. And she wrote a great book. You can check that out. So this is a different model. What you can do, is go get connected to all your existing customers and the people in those accounts, and then when you are out prospecting, you look for prospects that are already connected to your existing customers. In other words, that referral is already built in. So when you are calling the prospect, you can say, "Oh, by the way, I noticed you are already connected with these three of our customers. Are you aware of that?"
"Oh, yeah. I know those guys." "Great."
Well, there's your built in, automatic easy referral without having to go through the normal model of generating referrals. It's already built-in, it's very powerful, and we're getting great results from it.
So the next one is probably the best of them all, we've already mentioned it earlier, it's called job change alerts. LinkedIn is still the best platform for that because people maintain their own information. It's the crowdsourcing model on steroids because people want to make sure that their information is correct. And a fun little app called IFTTT. I was introduced to this years ago from Gabe. It will allow you to be notified whenever someone in your network changes jobs if you're not using the connected app. Both of those are very, very powerful.
So let's move to the last screen here. This is my content information. I want to take a little time to talk about best practices, some of the questions that have been asked, and what I wanted to do is open that up a little bit. We've had a lot of Twitter feed come through, and some questions that have been raised.
And the first one . . . oh, this is funny. How much do you pay to get Billy Beane from the Oakland A's? Well, he was really expensive. He was really expensive. If you're serious enough to have him come speak at your company show, then you can track him down. But let's just say one hour of his time is about the same of a lot of reps make in a year. So anyways, I'll tell you what, it was worth it, absolutely worth it. It was very, very incredible.
The next question is tell us more how we can get involved in this trends report with Barry Trailer. So again, in fact, let me move ahead. I think I've got it on the next slide here. I'll come back. And there it is. So that's the link, it's Bit.ly/CSOSurvey and this is the first survey of the year that Barry and his team do every year. Now they're doing a special segment around inside telesales and inside sales and this survey will be open till the middle of February. And if you'll take this survey, you can get the whole copy of it. The full copy about 214 pages last year. I'm not sure how big it will be this year. But I want to talk about that for a little bit. There's some really interesting stuff.
You can go read my Forbes article on 2015 Trends Report, but the biggest landmark bit of news that came out of this was for the first time in 15 years, CRM utilization has actually started to down. Now that's really alarming everybody, because what that means is, in fact, Barry showed me that right after the crash of 2008, everybody tightened things up. They started increasing their process definitions, they worked their process, they trained their people. You know they cut costs, but they really . . . that was the toughest economy of our lifetime. And sales process and great people are the way to work out of it.
Well, the numbers started going up in 2009, 2010, '11 and '12. They peaked in 2012, and all of a sudden, the most amazing thing in 2013, they started going back down. In fact, Barry said just about every one of the numbers started going back down. Reps hitting quota, companies hitting plan, average sales timeframe, so it's a big concern. This year, I won't spill the beans, but you better look out because sales process is decaying. What that really means is we're taking our eye off the ball. We're getting complacent, you guys. Things are a bit easier. The Federal Reserve has been pumping money into the economy for a long time. Right now the price of oil is really, really low. So everybody's thinking things are looking good.
In fact, Barry, he said the Cadillac Escalade manufacturing plant has got backorders like never before. People are spending money like crazy, but they're forgetting what got us where we are. The discipline of working our process has started to decay. We found it in our own business. Dave and I laugh, probably not, we cry. We sat down and we have re-defined our own process internally probably four or five times in ten years. And here's some things that we've learned. We've learned that you've got to have a quarterback. You've got to have someone on that process who owns it, who is paid to maintain it, who will make sure those numbers are promoted each week. You've got to map out your process. That's a big, big deal you guys. You've got to visualize the process and make sure everybody standardizes on how it works because if you haven't mapped it, and you don't have an owner, it's going to decay. I'm busy writing an article right now where I will list Seven Best Practices to Avoid Process Decay. It's going to be one of the next things that I do because it's rampant. It's scary.
Now, the good news is from that report, as Barry said, social media is getting traction. Social selling is really picking up. It's interesting, though, I went out to Google, and I searched on the trends social media and social selling. And social selling is almost non-existent still on Google. Now, it's pretty hot in the world of social, but there's still not a lot of content out there being searched on Google. In fact, if I remember, there was only like 10 or 20 searches a month in the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool, whereas over ten thousand searches on social media. So it's still not mainstream. There's still a lot of head room and impact thought leaders can make. So this summit is pretty exciting.
What I'm hoping people will do, though, is remember that you have to bridge from the social world to the more assertive media and search engine is where you want to put it. So make sure all those great articles and the research that you're doing is being put out on Google and that you're really getting the traffic that will cement and bring you the mainstream. So that's critical. I think I'm running out of time here, you guys. I've got a couple more quick questions. Let's see what we've got here.
So you mentioned you hired Jim Steele from Salesforce. What kind of impact does he make in your organization? Oh boy, that one's cool. Jim Steel was head of worldwide sales and over customer success at Salesforce.com. We just announced right after the first of the year; it's out on some pretty big digital sites. And he is such a wonderful person. We've been so excited. He has already made a massive impact here in our organization. He, of course, I'm sure Salesforce was concerned. Marc Benioff worked very closely with Jim.
Jim wanted to get back into the startup phase and really look at doing again what he did ten years ago where he helped grow . . . in fact one of the articles talks about the revenue growth has been160X from ten years ago when Jim started to what Salesforce is now. And he wanted one more round of doing that. So we're really excited. It's interesting, he's extremely well-known in the traditional outside sales world. He's one of the kings of networking. In fact, if you go out and search Jim Steele on Google, his brand is up there with our corporate brand. And our corporate brand is pretty significant.
But Salesforce, of course, just dwarfs. They're the big gorilla in the space. Jim's personal brand is gigantic on search. But on social, this has been a bit new for him. He is lighting it up. You're going to see him really light up his LinkedIn and his Twitter and his blog presence, and we're excited to do that. So we're plugging him into our approach and our methodologies and it's been fun to see how much impact he's already having on our sales teams. He's met with our teams, he's got some great strategies, things we knew and things we didn't know. So look for big things there.
The next question. I've got time for one more. Okay, the six core skills. If you were to recommend with how to proceed with learning the six core skills, what would you do. So I wrote an article out on Forbes called "How to be a Social Media Missionary." Again, social is just that. It's social. It's about converting other people. It's sort of like Guy Kawasaki and Steve Jobs converting people to the gospel of Apple. They were an evangelist model where their leverage was through the college campuses around the world. The United States especially. And they shared what they have learned with each other. That's really what social is all about. Again, the first step is just complete your profile, make sure that you have targeted your purpose. Remember the six P's of completion: Know your purpose, pick your platform, define your plan, prepare your resources, then write your profile, you guys. And once that's done, you can persist and just work weekly, and good things start to happen.
A lot of reps are using the posting function on LinkedIn for their own blog, and they're own content. They're taking the corporate content. Making sure that it's right out there on their own profile. They're using SlideShare to put together the presentations and generating their own leads. It's pretty powerful. Now, of course you want to make sure the content is approved through the marketing department so you're not putting out content that doesn't represent your brand correctly. But the first step is just completing what you're trying to do with your purpose.
The second step is content. And once you've completed your profile, then you want to start gathering relevant content that adds value to your followers based on your purpose. So if your purpose is to generate leads, you want to become a master at providing valuable content to those people who would be interested in your product based on your purpose. And those reside in different communities.
One of my favorite examples there is Inside Sales Experts. It's the top community in the world on the topic of inside sales. It was founded as a LinkedIn group by Trish Bertuzzi and boy, I don't know how many are out there now. It's gigantic. I'm going to look while we're talking right now. But the inside sales community was actually a very hard to target early on. You could go to a list company and say I want a list of all the people in the inside sales space. But what we would do is we would go out and we would learn to get to know people out there in Trish's group in inside sales.
Now, there's all kinds of groups. There's local groups. If you sell product regionally and local, then you're going to have a geographically based group. Okay, here, there's 43,291 members. Oh, my gosh. This thing's amazing. It's still going crazy. Flynn Pen [SP], he's probably the top poster out there. He's top of the list right now. Mike Holders [SP]. Ralph Barsee [SP]. Ralph is great by the way. I had the opportunity to do two webinars with him in San Francisco, and he's third on the list right now. Anything he says, write it down.
But go out there, become a member of Inside Sales Experts, and join the conversation. That's the model of joining the community. Then learn to connect. Now don't do what I did where you just connect with everybody on LinkedIn, because pretty soon if they don't know you . . . in the early days people didn't know who I was, and still sometimes they don't know who I am. So make sure they know who you are, and connect with them first in another form of media.
So for example, if you're discussing by e-mail, then respond back by e-mail and say, "Oh, by the way, would it be okay if I connect with you and I add you on my LinkedIn network?" Then they're looking for your name, they'll approve it when you get it. Facebook and others aren't nearly as concerned about connection rates as LinkedIn is. But make sure you get really good at connecting with very, very targeted people based on your purpose.
Now, my favorite methodology is using tags in LinkedIn. That's why I'm a Premium member. I'm not a Sales Navigator member, because LinkedIn, the tags feature is most prominently used and available in the Premium product. So I use that. I am really impressed with Sales Navigator. I think we're looking closely at what we ought to do there. The team links function is incredible, but learn to connect, do it well. Don't do it just like spam. But be really careful and specific and warm people up first so they're expecting it when you connect and then everything starts to work.
Next level is comment. So these are the six C's - Complete, content, community, connect, and comment. Comment is where you reach out and start having a conversation, or a one-way conversation is a comment. A two-way conversation is where they respond back. And the way you get them to do that is you ask a question. And then they will respond, and now you have a conversation going.
My best articles out on Forbes are ones where I can start conversations. They're evocative and interesting and valuable. But the core skill that everybody forgets, you guys, and this is the magic here at InsideSales.com is a call to action. Okay, this is critical. You've got to get good at getting people to do something. If you don't do something, nothing happens, nothing happens at all. I think I've got a skipped a little bit here on a slide. I'm going to go back to it just for a minute. I've got one more minute. See if I can pull it up for you guys. It was slide 42. And well, I'm not going to be able to do it. So look at slide . . . actually, no, that wasn't it. It was the one with Jeffrey Harmen [SP] and the oxen. It's slide 43 actually. And I'll make sure it's out there. So basically what you've got to do is the old saying is content is king. Well, guess what folks, in the world of social selling, that's no longer true. Content is king, but distribution is just as important. You've got to align your distribution strategy around your content.
So if you don't have a way to get your content out and to respond to it and generates leads, you don't have distribution. So content by itself is the pitcher, distribution is the catcher. You've got to have both. You've got to have a way to capture those leads and turn them into leads, or all the pitching in the world has no value at all.
So anyway, I really enjoyed spending time with everyone today. Social selling, extreme social selling, that's the concept. I am going to end right exactly on time at exactly one hour in one second, so here we go. Thanks, everybody. Make it a great day and hope to interact with you. Please connect with me on LinkedIn and let's keep in touch. Thanks again. Bye-bye.