How Process Drives More Sales
by Koka Sexton
In this presentation Koka Sexton talks about the growing list of thought leaders that talk about big ideas and the lack of real impact. Instead of being a thought leader, become a Do-Leader that makes things happen by building a process of success. Filled with actionable insights on how to build a plan regardless of what stage you are in and how social media and content marketing can be turned into a revenue machine. This video will get you excited to start DOING great things.
Hello everyone. My name is Koka Sexton and thank you for watching my episode inside this amazing social selling consortium of speakers for the social selling summit. You are in for quite a treat. Within the summit you're going to be talking with some of the greatest minds in sales like Jill Konrath, Jeffrey Gitomer, Ken Krogue, Anthony Iannarino, Craig Rosenberg, I mean the list goes on and on. But of all these speakers who are going to give you great insights and great information and nuggets that you can pull and take into your jobs, I wanted to talk to you today about something that is very near and dear to my heart and I think that it's something that resonates with the thought leadership space as well as the rest of the social selling ecosystem that we're all working in. Because let's face it, the social selling ecosystem is growing and it's growing fast. And everyday I see more and more people jumping onto this bandwagon. Not in a bad way, like people that are actually honestly excited about leveraging social media in the context of sales. One of these things that I keep talking about is the difference between thought leadership and do-leadership. And what do I mean by that?
I think it was about a month ago, I was sitting on the couch, it was a weekend, I was going through my different social feeds and something popped into my head. I think it had been burning inside of me for a while but I think at that moment I was actually sparked into action. It was around this whole concept of what a thought leader was and do I really think of myself as a though leader? What do I think about the though leaders in space? What do I think about though leadership in general? And I came up with this idea that came out of all these comments from this post I made. It was around do-leadership. And it's not so much that you can be a thought leader. I think that what really matters, what we need now in this day and age, in this new digital economy where everything is online and things are moving so fast and information is so readily available, is that we don't need thought leadership. We need do-leaders. We need people who are actually willing to take these thoughts and these visions and move them into some direction.
So I want to explain to you what the difference is between thought leadership and do-leadership from my point of view. Let's start with this, let's start with vision. Thought leadership supplies the vision. It's what they do. They get up on a stage, they have videos, they have blogs, they have other speaking engagements, and what they're really doing is finding ways to supply a vision to an audience. Be it around some marketing concept or some sales concept or the state of the industry. Whatever it may be, there's a time and a place for thought leaders because they're supplying that vision. They lay that foundation for what the rest of us should be aspiring or at least inspiring to go and do. They should be making you ask yourself what is it you want. What is it that you want? Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. When you break that down, it's not something that you have. It's not something that maybe tangible and actually in front of you. It's a vision. It's an idea that something could be better. Years ago, let's call it four or five years ago, when I made that shift from sales into marketing, it was one of the hardest decisions I had every made. It was difficult for me to think of myself as a marketing professional. I had been a sales person for years and I had built, I wouldn't say a reputation, but my own ego around being a good salesperson.
I was doing things and I was interested in things that other sales leadership was not too excited about. That's when the opportunity arose to take my interests and my passions and my thoughts around what social media could be for a salesperson. Then how do I convey that to others? I had the opportunity to take that vision and make it tangible. A vision only takes you so far. You can only do so much with a vision that is supplied to you, that you have on your own. It takes action. Vision without action is just merely a dream. Action is the key to all success. It's true. If you are not acting, you're never going to achieve what it is that you really want. So just imagine what it is that you want. Do you want more money? Or do you want a better house? Do you want a car? What is it that you want and what are you willing to do to go out and get it? If vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others, action is making it visible. It's doing what it takes to make it explode in front of the people in front of you.
When I was in sales, I was laughed at. I was written up in some cases around my obsession. I think that's what they called it, my obsession with using social media. Because I knew that what marketing was handing me as a salesperson wasn't generating what I needed. I needed to go out there and find a way and generate the business myself. For many of you that have heard my story, and for those of you that have not, I started leveraging social media in a way that was completely off the charts to my sales management. They had no idea or no understanding of what a social network can do and how you can build your pipeline with that.
Because of that my talk time was low. My number of dials was way below what the average was. But I believed that if I could crack this code on how to use social media to generate my own leads, to generate my own leads, to generate the awareness of people that were in my market to become a thought leader in the space and become a resource to my customers, I knew that the compound interest on that would pay massive dividends. My management thought it was a joke. But I had a vision and when you have the opportunity to make that vision a reality, you have to take it. When that door to success is standing in front of you, you can't just stare at it. It doesn't work. If you're just staring at a door and you know that there's something greater on the other side of it, you're in the wrong. You have to actually open it to walk through it. It takes action. The fact or process of doing something typically to achieve an aim.
Interest. So what is different between though leadership and interest? It's the same thing. Thought leaders make you interested in something. An interest is something that you want to do. It should ultimately be something that you are going to be doing to make you more successful. You should be interested in your job. You should be interested in your career. You should be interested in these things that are going to be helping you move forward in your life.
So what is it that you want to do for real? What are you interested in? Your interests determine your direction. They set your eyes on something that is in the distance. It might be at the end of the day. It might be at the end of the week. It may be at the end of the month. But you need to start having some long term goals. What's your plan? Where are you going to be in two, three, five, ten years from now? You have to have a plan and that plan had to be based on whatever your interests are at this point in time. Your interests will change over the course of time. What you want to do, what you think you want to do right now, could be totally different from what you end up doing two or three years from now. But unless you start moving towards those interest, you're never going to know if you don't like it. You're never going to open that next door that's going to show you some new opportunity, something else that you're going to become interested in. Do you like your job? If not, then do something about it. You have to be able to take action on these things. If you're interested in something new. If you're interested in another line of work. If you're interested in another industry. You have to take action to go do that.
At the end of the day it's all about doing. What do you want to do? If your interests determine your direction, you have to do something in order to get to those. You have to be able to find those interests and start moving towards them in a way that's going to make them obtainable. Learn some new skills. Meet some new people. Sharpen the saw. You have to be able to do the things that matter to achieve the success that you want in your life. Do you think you're worth more than what you're getting paid? So with that as a foundation, I know that was a lot but that was the foundation, let's talk about the four pillars of management. I'm assuming that most of you are either sales managers, marketing managers, or you are individual contributors that at some point want to be a manager. You're not listening this because you're trying to waste your time. You're trying to get better. You're trying to obtain the skills to make you do better things.
There is people. There's process. And there's technology. You are the people. Who you hire are the people that are going to get the job doing. Let's not focus on people. Technology, those are the tools. These are the things that you are handed to help you get your job done. For a carpenter it's the ax, it's the hammer, it's the saw. For a salesperson it is a computer, a phone, an email address. and high speed internet. Every sales person I know can be successful with just those things. But let's not talk about technology because just by giving sales people, by giving professionals great technology, isn't going to make them successful. Jill Riley, who you're going to hear from in this summit, she's got this great saying. A fool with a tool is still just a fool. I don't know if she actually coined that or not, but she says it all the time and it's true. If you think about it, if you just start handing technology to your teams, if you just start seeing the next shiny object and playing around with it, you're never going to be successful. Technology is great, don't get me wrong, you need it. It's going to help you. But it's all about the process. So let's focus on process.
What is process? It's a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. The process is being overlooked. This is what's actually getting done. When we talk about doing, it's all in the process. The process is the planning, it's the execution, and it's the measurement. The measurement is another thing that's being overlooked most times. Especially when it comes to the process. When you start out planning you need to understand what it is you want to achieve. What is that goal? We were just talking about this. What is that north start that you're going towards? Is it a sales quota? Is it a number of leads generated? Is it a business impact that you're trying to change? You need a plan to get there. Once you set that mark and say this is where I want to go, back plan it until you can figure out where you are today. Then it's all about execution. But you have to also measure that stuff along the way. Most people don't measure it fast enough and they get off course. The next thing they know they have to correct it and they've lost months, years of their lives.
Let's look at a typical sales process. You go from generating interest to maybe marketing through your own activities, bringing them into the funnel. You give them a demo to become a qualified opportunity. You work that opportunity. You close the business. You deliver the service or product and then you make them extremely happy customers. That's the process. There's lots of little stuff in there and you're going to hear from all these other speakers about ways to make that process more bite size, but at the end of the day you're trying to get somebody that is interested or has a problem that you can solve. And you're trying to deliver on that issue and solve their problem. Things aren't very different in the social selling world.
Within the social selling process, you have social, you have all these tools. You have LinkedIn, Twitter, every other social network out there that your buyers are spending time on, just out there working in the ether. When you learn to leverage social media in a way that continues to broadcast and engage your audience, you start realizing that your funnel starts opening up. Once that starts happening, in the social selling process you grab their attention and then you move to a traditional sales model. Get them on the phone, set an appointment, sending emails. At some point you have to take it out of social and move it back into an offline capacity.
Deals aren't being closed on social media. Sure, there's going to be examples of where that happens but most business is not going to be done on social media. Social media is the entry point. It is the moment that you are able to understand and listen and engage with the people who are in your space in a way that allows other people that may have a problem that you can solve find you, or you can find them. And then once that happens you move into these other models where you get them on the phone, you set appointments, you go meet them. Whatever that may be, whatever falls within the traditional sales model within your company, you don't change that. Because that process is probably working well. If not then your sales manager is working on that, working that through. Social media is all about you. It's all about how are you leveraging these tools that have been given to you that you have access to, these social profiles, these networks that you work in to pull these people into the traditional model and eventually into a close.
Social media is the building block. You should be learning to leverage these tools and understand them and hack them and manipulate them and dominate these spaces. When I was in sales I made most of my number through social media. And my bosses were--well, one--were appalled, but at the time they were amazed at it. They just didn't understand it. They thought it was a trend. That is was some fluke. That I was somehow gaming the system. But it works and it's continuing to work. We have data, we have case studies, and we're seeing more and more about this online every single week.
Social media has an ROI. When you're leveraging tools like LinkedIn to build your profile, to connect with buyers, to find the industries that are interested in your product or service. When you're on Twitter listening and engaging and posting and getting updates that are getting engaged. You're continuing to widen that funnel and to drive awareness. You're building your own though leadership in the process but you're doing something with it. There's actually a business value that you're trying to accomplish. That is another difference between though leadership and do-leadership. It's not just about talking. It's not about the last selfie you took. It's not about what you're eating for lunch. It's not so much about you as it is about how you're changing the industry. How you're helping your customers do something great with their own business.
When I first got into marketing I was a sales person at heart and I didn't really understand what it was that I was supposed to do. I knew that I was brought on to help build social marketing campaigns and to help the internal sales people understand how to use social media, but I didn't know the first thing about marketing. But with that sales mentality, with the drive that I knew in my DNA that I had to carry a bag. That if the average of a social media manager was six to eight months, which at the time was what it was, I had looked into it because at that point I was even more afraid to jump into marketing in a social aspect. If the lifespan was six to eight months, I had to learn to find a way to create value out of the gate. So I worked really hard to find ways to map social media to revenue. I knew it as a individual sales person. I knew that when I was in sales, if I did 20, 30 posts a week into social media that would drive people into my profiles. I would be able to engage with them. I would somehow hit a portion of my number outside of the other things that were happening. I knew that social media could do that for me. I didn't know if that could work for everybody else. I assumed that most were doing that on some level but I had to find a way to measure it.
So going from a blog post or a social update into the funnel and being able to track that within the CRM, that's when the light bulbs went off. That is when we realized that social selling actually had an ROI. But even then it had its issues. How often can you be posting updates? How often can you be engaging with your audience? How do your curate all that content without repeating yourself over and over again and sounding like a broken record? Because at that point people put there hands up and say, "Enough is enough." So I looked around and I found out that there was this new thing, this new trendy topic on the internet called content marketing. And I went out and I found some of the greatest people doing content marketing at the time. I saw companies that were doing this well and I saw individuals who were able or willing to share their research and their understanding. There were tests on what was actually driving value for either their companies or the companies they worked for within content marketing. Then that is when the next light bulb went off. And I said if I can generate content, if I can create stuff that is valuable to my audience and I leverage social media as my amplifier, leads will start pouring in. I just believed it. At face value all these other companies were saying it but most of them were still really determined and fixed on email marketing. Social media was still a part-time job for most people, but I knew I had to add value. I knew that I had to find a way to generate revenue in access of what my company thought I was capable of. I think at the time they weren't expecting very much. They wanted me to build a social program for their company.
They wanted me to drive awareness and to build their place in the ecosystem, I was able to do that but at the end of the day the pressure was on me to actually find ways to track this back to revenue. I talked to other social media people and some of them had some great insights, some of them still hadn't figured it out themselves. So I took this concept of content marketing and social media and brought it together. I started finding ways to create content that I could then broadcast through social media, leverage the employees, leverage my network in a way that then expanded that reach even further. That then drove those inquires, drove those interested parties back to a landing page that I had created and then tracked those individually within a social stream of the CRM. So at any given day, week, month, quarter, I would run a report and say, "What happened from social media? What hit the specific landing page and then generated leads?" Now we have much more sophisticated processes in place but the idea was that we had to find a process. If you don't have a marketing automation tool or if you don't have the resources to build specific tracking mechanism, have one landing page for your social channels. Drive all the traffic from social media to those channels, then watch what happens. Because anything that touches that landing page you know came from a social channel. Because that's the only way that you're pushing traffic to it. And if you're seeing it convert then you need to find ways to invest in that. And I'm telling you it will convert if you're using social media in the right way, if you're building the right audiences, if you are engaging those people in a better way, in a way that is authentic and is education to them, they're going to want your content.
Because what I found at the very end was that it's not magic. It's not rocket science. Content and social media is a revenue machine and you just have to understand it and embrace it. I went to talk to other companies, I went talking to other customers of ours, and I was explaining to them the things that we were doing within social and content marketing and many of them jumped on it. And I took the best practices. If you don't know Jason Miller, he's here at LinkedIn as well, but he used to work at Marketo. Brilliant mind in the space of content marketing. How do you create big rocks and then break them down and then distribute them to generate revenue? I took that model and then applied it to social. How do I create content and then it can get broken down, pushed down through social channels, and then drag leads back? You have to find a way to generate content in enough of a capacity that you can distribute it. Distribution is the hardest problem for most companies, and turn it into revenue. You have to embrace this. It is a winning combination for any business. Social media and content. Email open rates are declining every single year. You have to find ways to engage your audience in such a way and social is that place.
It comes down to training. At the end of the day with all the stuff that's being talked about in the social selling summit, the stuff that I'm talking about, though leadership and do-leadership and how you leverage social media as a sales person as a marketing professional, it takes training. You're going to get 15, 20 hours of content within the summit. And you're probably already listening to a number of other webcasts on a regular basis. You're reading e-books. You're reading blog posts. This is all training for you. You have to be able to find ways to apply this to your existing company, to your existing job, your existing career path.
Skills are only developed by hours and hours of repetition. That's the training. The object of training is to develop skills and when you become extremely skilled in manufacturing or producing content that generates revenue, when you become extremely skilled in leveraging your social media channels because you've built an audience that is receptive to what you're saying, that takes the training to get there. And once you train hard enough the skills