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Jan. 26, 2015

94: Employee Advocacy, Social Selling, and The Missing Alignment Between Sales and Marketing

94: Employee Advocacy, Social Selling, and The Missing Alignment Between Sales and Marketing

What is the relationship between social selling and employee advocacy? Neal goes deep into describing the evolution of social business and how it is bringing sales and marketing together with the emergence of these new trends, together with practical advice on how to align your sales and marketing departments for social selling success.

Transcript

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welcome to maximize your social actionable 10 minute advice on how your business can maximize your social media presence. Now the host of Maximize Your Social Social Media Author, speaker, consultant, founder of Maximize Social Business, The Social Media Centre of Excellence and the Social Tool Summit. Neil Schaefer, Everybody, This is Neil Schaefer. Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Social, Continuing from last week's podcast where I talked about those areas where I think you should focus your social media efforts in 2015. I want to touch in more detail upon one of those areas where I see a lot of companies reached out to me asking for help and just general alignment that I see happening with social business and companies utilizing social media internally. And I talk a lot about this convergence of information and communication, which really defined social media. I wantto talk about a different type of convergence and in some ways I am seeing, and I saw this really beginning back in 2011 when I wrote maximizing Lincoln for sales and social media marketing, talking about the need that every outward facing employees should be on linked in and when we think about outward facing employees, we think about sales and marketing. And this is the alignment that I want to talk about. This convergence of trends that we see further developing in 2015 that I covered on last week's podcast. So if you haven't listened to that, I recommend you listen to that because I think it's gonna give you a holistic perspective as to where today's topic is going to fit in the greater scheme of things. I want to take things back, roll back the clock. Some of you that know me know that before Social Media I was in charge of launching. Sales are gonna day since from scratch for foreign equity companies in Asia. So I speak Japanese and Chinese. Japanese. I do use. I do have clients out there in Japan for social media consulting for speaking Chinese haven't been able to use that that much in social media, and there's obvious reasons if you don't know a lot of the social media sites that we love are actually blocked in China unless you're using a VPN or virtual private network. But getting back to the topic at hand, I was really Maur on the sales business development side than the marketing side. Although I had to wear many hats as sort of a regional vice president, country manager and I was in charge of all of our sales and marketing and customer support, all of our outward facing activities in those regions of the world. And I remember that when I was talking to customers about our products and solutions and service is what I talked about that resonated with the customers, was always a little bit different than the marketing materials that we had. And it's just a generalization for all the companies I worked out. In fact, I was often giving input or marketing as to how they can better ally in their messaging with what I saw were the needs in the marketplace. Now there's a lot of reasons for that, perhaps, that marketing messaging was made based on a few of our leading customers, a few of our largest customers that were in a particular industry in a particular region that resonated well with them but not may not have resonated well outside of our target market. Nevertheless, there was always in B meaning from the sales department. There was always a bit of, you know, Haymarket and give us leads. Give us messaging that works. And it was always sort of this internal battle, and I think the battle is greater. Some companies less than others, but I won't call it friction. But obviously, you know, marketing is there to generate leads, generate brand awareness increased, you know, brand equity and sales is there, too. Take those leads and really developed them in to business and to close deals. So there's this alignment that never took place because the objectives of both departments are different. Although from a 36,000 foot view, they're all part of the greater process, which is how does this company increase our revenues, Right? So in that aspect, they are the same. But they've really gone to different ways now with social media. We all know, and and usually I talk about this when I talk about the evolution of social business that social media started as an outward facing effort mean the marketing PR, corporate communications. Hey, we need to get on social media. We start need to start pushing our message out there. Andi, obviously what's happened over time is, people have responded to the message to the point where a lot of the big consumer brands now do customer support over Twitter. They've had some brands have had to open up multiple accounts on Twitter or on Facebook. What have you? And it's not just the outward facing effort. Now it's a two way conversation, and those companies that recognize this earliest, I think, have been able to leverage social media better for their business. But what's happened, obviously, as social media becomes more of an inbound thing, is that it starts to envelope other parts. Your organization. So it might have started out with marketing. But now customers supported saying, Hey, what do we d'oh! Maybe there is an inquiry. You know, Maybe there was new the regenerator from social Media that's not passed on the sales. I was talking about community managers being like the ultimate quarterbacks and your organization having to strategize where to throw the ball. Do I hand it off? Do I go for hell, Mary and then always having to respond back to the social media user as to what the status of their inquiry is. But I'm sort of getting ahead of myself here. I want to get back to this notion of social business and evolving beyond that marketing department. And now what we see. As more and more professionals are using social media, then we're all probably using a little bit more professionally than we did a year or two ago. And with Maur internal departments using it, there's obviously a lot more collaboration. It happens naturally, and I do believe part of that natural collaboration is a collaboration doing sales and marketing. But it's really this push towards employ advocacy and employees. Efficacy began in the block posted, I wrote, and I think I mentioned on the podcast in last week. It really began, you know, 2013 ish. Obviously, there's some companies like the Intel is the world that we're doing it way before we even you used the term a lot in the blogosphere and in social media. But, you know, it started get really mainstream. 13 4014. A lot of tools vendors coming out with solutions it would have you and employ advocacy was really Hey, how do we turn our internal employees into, you know, champions of our brand new brand advocates out there and social, and there's obviously a lot of value in doing that. And I've already written a free book on it, which you can get the link out if you go to my last week's block post. You know last week's podcast. But what's happened with Employ advocacy is that you know who are are most active users and social and who are outward facing users. So it gets back to What I wrote about in 2011 is that if we're gonna do employ advocacy, we can't force people to use social media. We want to be able to work together with those internally that our number one fans of our company, ideally but number two, that already on social media that would naturally see the benefits, the value in sharing our messages to the world because it enhances their personal branding. It makes them look like an expert on what have you and there's no part of the organization outside of marketing, where this is critical for thin sales. Now there's also this history that I see of ah, lot of, you know, marketing executives reaching out to me. Hey, our sales people really don't get linked in. We need to get them on it. And you know, there's a lot of sales methodologies that are out there, the traditional ones, like solution, selling and what have you and these were all created before social media, and we don't really see any new methodologies appear that really incorporate social media for all that you can leverage it for. We do have this concept of social selling, which I define as merely using social media to help enhance the toolbox at a sales person has right to use it to accelerate. You know, developing relationships to keep an eye on organizations you know, to be seen as a thought leader would have you. But without those new methodologies incorporated social media, you know sales is pretty much run like it always has been for a lot of organizations. Now you do have some of the more forward thinking, you know, start up there doing growth hacking what have you? But for the most part, sales methodology is still where waas a decade or two decades ago, even though the market's changed. So that's why I believe that marketing department to reach out to me saying, You know, sales people are still doing it the way you know they've been doing it for the last few years with these great tools. With the advent of social seven, there's lot weaken. D'oh! Can we bring you in to train our sales team on, You know, be to be social selling primarily using linked in. But I talk about how you can use Facebook and Twitter and other platforms as well. So what happens in these trainings and those forward thinking companies to reach out to me say, Hey, we want you to train ourselves people, but we also want you to help enlist them in the sharing of our marketing messages. Okay, so what happens in a sales trading is, you know, part of how you a sort of established thought leadership in your field, how you maintain mindshare, how you build trust, how you deep in relationships and social media, is through content. And so therefore, you know, the recommendation for social selling is that you want to be sharing content. Ideally, you know, part of the content is coming from your own company, and really, ideally, it's even coming from yourself But I don't expect that most salespeople, because I know they're trying hard to close quotas. So you get to the point where social selling requires content and for those marketing department will reach out to me that I didn't already have. This advocacy concept where they sort of seen marketing is marking sales. Does sales I at the end of these workshops and trainings will go back to him in the middle of the training, saying, You know, your salespeople are not going to expect more of you expect you too blob more to deliver more content to them that they can then share with their networks with their customers, partners, et cetera. And now you see how, if you want to jump, start, employ, obviously program, you're looking for a place to start. It's with your sales team. And now sales savvy, social selling sales professionals sound like a tank Buster realized that, wow, it's it's great for me to be sharing content. And once they see the r a y of it because they get your likes and comments and the next time you go to AA sales call their clients is Hey, you know that was a great article. Thanks for sharing it with me. Whatever it might be, whatever anecdotal evidence there is, inevitably I do believe they will see the are doing it. And therefore there's gonna be an internal demand that sales people don't have time to be curating content, even less time to create content. So this is where there becomes an internal need. Four marketing to be delivering more content. And it really fits well into employ advocacy. Right? Let's start with your sales department is part of a social selling program. So this is where we are in 2015. And this is why you see the development of all these different employ advocacy solutions that can help curate contents as a service from your marketing department to all your department's internally. But if you make it primarily focused on sales than you know, the marketing messages have to be tweet. But it becomes a lot easier to do, and you can then calculate you're our life from doing that pretty much directly, you know, with each sales rep. In fact, you could put a unique tracker code with each sales rep that shares it. You can see who shares. Maur. What delivered? More leads and what have you. And once again, this comes down to all those different employ advocacy platforms in the analytics that they offer. But there's one thing missing here. Okay, this is all great. Everybody loves to hear it, but it requires in order to close the gap between the realization of social business, of employer advocacy and social selling, there has to be an alignment done between two organizations and that of sales and marketing. Now there's a lot of different methodologies about their about sales I talked about. I learned sales corporate B to B sales in Japan, and one of the things that I learned Waas when I went to see a customer's is back in the nineties, right? It was a young green, you know, at a liberal arts college sales person. But I realized that I wanted to deliver a little nugget of information to every time I went to a client meeting so that they would be anticipating my arrival. They would want to meet with me. They would make time to meet with me because they knew there was value a meeting with me because I was gonna bring them a little nugget of something that was gonna help them do their work better. That is sort of like content marketing before we had content. Marketing is this is real life, real social interaction in Japanese because oh, Miyake, Oh, Miyagi is a souvenir. When you go traveling somewhere, you bring back Oh, Miyagi or souvenirs for your close friends and close family. That's why you see a lot of Japanese stocking up the duty free stores that international airports across the world by in these, you know, box chocolates that you and I may not might not eat. But when they bring it back, it's definitely part of this tradition. It's custom, and it's greatly appreciated there. So that was my only I get to my clients was always bringing something. And if it meant asking my engineers and totally what they're working on, if it meant, you know, while under N d. A. And not being able to expose customer names, what are some of the things that other companies in the industry working on that they should be looking at? That we had a product or service for these were the things that that I looked at now, I think that most sales professionals would agree that it would be great if they had this type of information, and maybe they've already been doing this. Now what we're doing now with social selling and with the with sales people, actually sharing and publishing content is an extension of that. We're doing it online, and by connecting with our clients and our potential clients, we're giving them the ability to access information. And therefore we become that same thing that I became, which is someone that I want to meet, someone who's wall I want to visit every day, someone who's network updates. I want to make sure appear in my news feed, because I'm getting value from them, and this is where the alignment has to take place. Marketing now have to deliver content, and it's you know, the the alignment is just not about social selling. It's about employ advocacy. In general, you wantto create content that others in your organization want to share because it helps them look better, Whatever it might be. Whatever reason they're in for doing it, you have to make your employees look good, whether it's a really funny and entertaining thing that they shared, Whether it's a cool photo or whether it is an extremely valuable piece of content, right, everything needs to be crafted as if it was an art, because your employees branding are all on the line. And I'm hoping that those and market are opening up to that and taking a lot more serious look at the messages they make for employees advocacy over those general marketing messages that your general outward facing marketing messages that you have. So there's the alignment. Now my advice on the alignment that has to take place is number one. You both have to be on the same page. And I think the Maur that sales people can come and say to the marketing folks, Hey, we were you know, we've taken some trainings. This is how we're using. Linked in maybe some of the other platforms is part of our sales process, and we want to take it to the next step. We want to create a platform purchases to whatever is but we want to be, you know, sharing more content to maintain mind share to, you know, help the folks out in marketing in developing new leads in nurturing the leads we already have and closing business and maintaining customers. And we're ready. If you can deliver the content to us, that makes sense to us. And the salespeople say, Wow, this this is something that my clients would really like to hear. Then it's a win win, right? And therefore it starts with, I guess, before it starts with education that I think marketing needs to be better educated on employ advocacy and how to. It's not just, you know, using your employees to spam their networks. It is a true way of representing your employees to their networks. And hopefully, by showcasing your employees and that content in a good way, it rubs off on them or on their networks positively. So it's good for them and indirectly, it gives your company a more positive look in the market as well, so it requires marketers to be on top of employ advocacy. It requires sales people, especially sales management, to be on top of social selling, and I think once you're at that level right, that's Step one education. One of the nine things I talked about, they need to focus your efforts on in 2015. Then step number two is You have the communication. You're both on the same page. It comes down to maybe an operation issue, which is what's gonna be the process here. Which is another thing of the nine things I talked about that you need to do you need to focus on for 2015. But you know, whether you buy a platform or you send out an email or, you know, put it up on Internet, whatever it might be, that's there is a need not only for marketing to help craft those messages, create those messages, but also to align the messaging. Getting back to that original experience I had in sales, which is the messaging, was never the same as what we ended up using in the field, which we found most effective with our customers is adjusting that messaging so that it really fits the need of the sales people, and therefore they will share it. Maura and your program will be all the more successful because of it. So, education, communication, alignment of the contents and then, as in the spirit of Edward's Deming and P. D. C. a of really going back and having regular meetings, What worked, What didn't work. And the more that the marketers can show. And I'm assuming that marketing is gonna be, you know, managing this employee advocacy program of sharing content for social sudden, it could be inside sales and some organizations, But coming back on a monthly basis, Same wow. Due to your help salespeople, we were able to generate X number of impressions. Accidental clicks, which generates number needs work sexually, has already led to X number of deals in the pipeline with the potential value of whatever $1,000,000 or whatever, hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's that last part of the loop that feedback which fuels the R A. Y, which fuels positive sentiment that's gonna keep sales people doing it continually, and it becomes a natural part of the workflow and of their sales process. Now, some of you may be wondering, Wow, you know, how are you gonna get sales People that are busy trying to close their numbers? They're only as good as you know, their last quarter's numbers. How you gonna get them to participate at all? Well, you know, like I said, If they're not savvy and social, they're not gonna participate. But Maura Maura than are getting severe with the advent of social something they're going to get there as well. And it really comes down to a very, very long term approach, which takes it step by step by step, beginning with the education and not trying to force things forward until you have that in place where then you can move on to the communication, the creation, the feedback mechanism. And there's a lot of other things you can do, like Gamification to try to sort of enhance it. But at the end of the day, if people in the organization don't see the our way of doing it, they're not gonna do it right. They first have to be positive employees who who want to help when we talk about employee of Oxy in general, when it comes to Social Sally and it's even more important that sales people do not want to waste their time. So my recommendation to all my clients is when you talk about this specifically with bridging the gap and a lining your sales and marketing in social business Israel, Listen hey, if you can devote 5 to 10 minutes a week. Just spend one Friday. You can, you know, choose a few messages to share. Maybe she had two or three week put him, but for whatever it is, maybe have a lunch hour. Allow all the sales people to come in during lunch one day a week and let us work together to help you. You know, curate, find share, schedule a message and maybe we train you as part of that and employ advocacy almost. You know, the people that are running the program almost have to become the internal educators. It almost becomes a social media centre of excellence. Activity cuts inherently requires education of employees. And that's why I'm so passionate about the concept of a centre of excellence. That's why I started my own social media centre of excellence. Social media suey dot com that you should look into was well, so you know, some of my podcast or shorter. I wanted to go in a little bit more depth because I think that the subject requires the depths little bit more complex of a concept to convey over a podcast. Be on the lookout for a block post, which will going toe a little bit more detail, which you may want to read after listening to this. But regardless, this is the great alignment, and those companies that are able to make this alignment are going to excel in social business, beginning with alignment with sales. But it's also gonna help there. General Employ Advocacy program in many, many ways. So that's it. That's actually just the beginning of a lot of work for a lot of you out there. But hopefully I have fulfilled my promise of talking about this alignment and how to go about doing that alignment. I wish you all the best election aligning. I'm gonna keep on recording these podcasts as I see them based on the market based on my client's based on what I see. And I'm gonna keep it real and try to give you even though some of these podcasts may go a little bit longer than my promised 10 minutes. Ah, lot of actionable takeaways that you can utilize today in your organization. That's it for this episode of Maximize Your Social Coming to You from Beautiful Orange County, California wherever you are in the world I wish you a great social day, but everybody Thanks for listening to maximize your social. We appreciate all of your iTunes descriptions, ratings and comments. If you would like to appear on the show or recommend content, please contact Neil Schaffer at Neil at Maximize Your social dot com. Please also make sure to check out Neil's new community, the Social Media Centre of Excellence at Social Media, c o e dot com, as well as Neil's first social media event, the Social Tool Summit, which will be in Boston on May 12th. Thanks again and make it a social day.