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Feb. 4, 2015

96: 5 Things You Need for a Successful Social Selling Infrastructure

96: 5 Things You Need for a Successful Social Selling Infrastructure

Neal has talked a lot about the benefits of social selling and some of you are farther down the road of creating a successful social selling program than others. Social allows you to create connections faster and contact prospects you otherwise might not have been able to. If you haven’t started your social selling journey yet, this week Neal wants to help you begin. It can seem overwhelming, but Neal breaks it down, starting by creating the infrastructure and leveraging LinkedIn profiles, connections, recommendations and groups.

Key Highlights

[01:18] What Is Social Selling

[04:45] 5 Things You Should Be Doing For A Successful Social Selling Infrastructure

[04:57] Why Your LinkedIn Profile Is Important

[05:53] Connecting Your Database

[07:16] Get Recommendations!

[08:26] What Do You Need To Do TO Get Recommendations

[10:26] Rules for Endorsements

[11:25] Setting Up Your Infrastructure Group

Notable Quotes

  • Social selling is not social media marketing, you know, selling marketing sort of the same. It is equipping your salespeople with using social media as another tool in their toolbox to help them do whatever salespeople do, find new leads, get referrals, introductions in the organizations, map out organizations, trying to close deals faster, try to get more money for deals or whatever it might be.
  • So your social selling infrastructure begins with your LinkedIn profile. We all know that more business decision-makers yours use LinkedIn for professional purposes than any other social network, right. So with that in mind, everything you do within that LinkedIn environment, all is going to link back to your profile. That's what your profile and I always say, it's like your websites, for your professional career, it really is.
  • The value of networking is in networking outside of people in your network, because you already know the people in your network, but you connect with them on LinkedIn, that's great. But it's who they know.
  • And we never know were the people we partied with in college, you know, our roommates, people in the high school with people that we started out working with 125 10, 20. 25, 30 years ago, you never know where they end up in life. But once you connect with your database in LinkedIn, you've now created a way of always being able to contact them, regardless of if their email changes, and discovering those hidden connections when we do the advanced people search.
  • The thing with endorsements, though, is they're attached to skills. And if you say you have experience in something, and it's not showing up and skills, and on the other hand, you know, underwater basket weaving is showing up as a skill that you have 99 endorsements for, there might be a branding problem there.
  • In recommendations, you're not going to ask people for endorsements, it is not that value, if you're going to ask someone for their support, you want to ask them for recommendation, because the endorsement really is a Facebook like, but you know what, whenever you go to a LinkedIn profile of a connection, LinkedIn is always beckoning you to endorse them, endorse them, it sends a social signal, it's not going to do any harm, because hopefully, you know them well.
  • But what's important to realize is, it's not just in the joining of groups, that gives you leverage in social settings on LinkedIn. And obviously, the ability to send a message, but it's really in the engagement inside of those groups where you have value.
  • Because LinkedIn is the center of social selling, you know, suffice to say it really is the centerpiece of your social selling infrastructure for each and every salesperson, whether you're a salesperson or you're a manager for your team, is updating your profile, connecting your database, making sure that you have that robust network of connections.
Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

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 Center of Excellence, and the social tools Summit, Neal Schaffer. Hey, everybody, this is Neal Schaffer, and you are listening to maximize your social, had a great week last week, I hope you all did as well. And now it is February 2015. Were the second month into the year. And I don't know about you, but it's been an extremely busy first part of the year, which is good. Last week actually did a social selling workshop for a corporate client in Baltimore, Maryland, where, despite what they said, there really wasn't that much snow. But I know my business partner from social tools Summit is still digging out of snow from Boston today, as we speak. So today, with that comment that I was doing a social selling workshop last week, I want to talk a little bit about a social selling infrastructure. Because I go through, it happens almost every time I do it. Now, when I talk about social selling, I'm talking specifically in my own background, as a b2b sales executive has helped shape my view of social selling, but social selling is not social media marketing, you know, selling marketing sort of the same. It is equipping your salespeople with using social media as another tool in their toolbox to help them do whatever salespeople do, find new leads, get referrals, introductions in the organizations, map out organizations, trying to close deals faster, try to get more money for deals or whatever it might be. So that's what it's about adding social media to the salespersons toolkit. And as I like to say, social media replaces nothing but compliments everything. And this is a great example outside of, you know, PR, corporate communications marketing, where social media can definitely help salespeople, and there's already a few different data points out there. And if you do a search, you'll find the data that also suggests that those salespeople that are using social media end up meeting their quota, as well as outselling their peers more often than not. Now, there's a lot that goes into the social selling works out that I'll talk about. And I can't go through everything, because this is obviously a short podcast. And obviously, the content that I deliver for my clients is always customized for their particular situation, because every customer really is unique in their internal culture, in the people and their sales team that sales management, how they aligned or are aligned with marketing, and in general, their understanding and aptitude of social media, I have some clients were outside of one or two or three salespeople, none of them are on LinkedIn, or they just built a profile and did nothing. And on the other hand, I go to some clients where a majority of their salespeople already signed up to Sales Navigator or a premium LinkedIn account. So really, just as whenever I start a speech on social media and say, hey, you know, one of my two speaking roles is that there is no embarrassing social media question, because if you've been working nine to five, and you haven't had time for social media, this has just come and gone over your head. And you might have no clue what's going on. And I totally get that now, the listener of this podcast, I think you're all a little bit more experienced social media professionals. But nevertheless, I know some of you are still beginners and are looking for insight. So this is going to be that insight geared towards a general situation of I have a sales team, what are the things we should be doing visa vie social selling. So I look at it as a two fold problem. Now I understand them the mentality of salespeople, they're busy, they don't want to do extra work, they want to spend as much time as possible with clients, or talking to people closing deals, so they don't want extra stuff being burden on them. So there's two things you need to do. One of them is in light of I don't want to be burdened by things, there's a little bit of time, you're going to need to spend just once and I call it the infrastructure phase, preparing yourself for social selling that requires you to do some things. It doesn't require a whole day of work, but it's gonna require an hour or two. But once you do it, the beauty is you just sit back, you don't have to worry about it. And you don't do it again, maybe you check up on it every quarter or every six months every year. But it's something you don't need to waste your time on. So what I'm speaking about specifically in this case, is well, I should say are five things. So your social selling infrastructure begins with your LinkedIn profile. We all know that more business decision makers yours use LinkedIn for professional purposes than any other social network, right. So with that in mind, everything you do within that LinkedIn environment, all is going to link back to your profile. That's what your profile and I always say, it's like your websites, for your professional career, it really is. And you think about the amount of money that you know, from small businesses to enterprises that invest in their website, okay, you need to really put an hour of investment into your profile. Because if you're a six figure salary executive, or even making, you know, 3550 grand, and in an entry level position, that's a lot of money. And if your LinkedIn profile is your homepage, you deserve a few $100 to hire someone part time or to spend an hour or two of your time, which is probably worth that much money, to think of the keywords and all the other things you need to do to optimize your LinkedIn profile. So that's step number one. Step number two, is in connecting your database, the power of LinkedIn is of the hidden connections that exist between you. And second degree and beyond connections. It was Thomas Power, who first said, Well, the first one I ever heard, say, the value of networking is in networking outside of people in your network, because you already know the people in your network, but you connect with them on LinkedIn, that's great. But it's who they know. And I always, you know, I give some specific examples when I do my workshops, but I may be best friends with the CEO of a company that you've been trying to sell to. And you may be best friends with the CEO of a company that I've been trying to sell to. And that's just the way it works. We, we all move around in our life. And we never know were the people we partied with in college, you know, our roommates, people in the high school with people that we started out working with 125 1020 2530 years ago, you never know where they end up in life. But once you connect with your database in LinkedIn, you've now created a way of always being able to contact them, regardless of if their email changes, and discovering those hidden connections when we do the advanced people search. Make sense? Awesome. I don't expect you to answer that or be able to hear your answer. But let's move on. Number three, recommendations, social proof. LinkedIn is full of fake profiles. It's almost like saying you're a successful company without showing logos of customers or not having any proof that you're successful. So if you've been at it, 1020 years in your career, and you don't have any recommendations, I'm sorry, there's something wrong, right, you should be able to contact your x report to contact your colleagues reach out to any professional associations you're a member of, and be able to say, hey, you know, having a few recommendations on my LinkedIn profile is really important to me, I hope that you can spend a minute of your time to recommend me. And if you need any of my help, this is a reminder as to how I helped your organization or what I did for you, way back when. So in order to get recommendations, I'm always and those of you that have followed me from my Windows networking days, it's really about paying it forward. And I do believe it's human nature that if you give recommendations, you will get them. And I'm not by any means saying you should do quid pro quo things, or with a quid pro quo objective. But it's going to be human nature. So if you want recommendations start by recommending others, which moves to number four in the setting up of the infrastructure, which is endorsements. Now, hopefully, some of you read a blog post, I wrote a while back on maximize social business, on getting the most value out of LinkedIn endorsements. Nothing has gotten so much uproar or, you know, attracted so much attention, both positive and negative, mainly negative than when LinkedIn introduced endorsements some time ago, I think we're quite used to them now. And I think it doesn't take a PhD to understand that they obviously do not carry the weight that a LinkedIn recommendation has. It's a person. In essence, it's like a Facebook, like for your LinkedIn profile right? Now. The thing with endorsements, though, is they're attached to skills. And if you say you have experience in something, and it's not showing up and skills, and on the other hand, you know, underwater basket weaving is showing up as a skill that you have 99 endorsements for, there might be a branding problem there. So you want to go in and manage the skills and you can go in and edit, delete out ones that are irrelevant. You know, LinkedIn is automatically with their algorithms trying to figure out the best ones for you. They may not be appropriate first, go in there, delete out the bad ones, find the good ones, and just make sure you're better represented when people endorse you. But the other thing about endorsing others, and I do think that you should have a decent number of endorsements like you know, you have a decent number of connections, you have a decent number of recommendations. I don't know what the number would be, you know, let's I have the number of you should multiply your age by 10. And that should be how bigger LinkedIn network is right, those of you who see me speaker, or saw my YouTube video know that I believe in that. So let's, let's make a rule for endorsements then, right. So if I have 500, connections, let's do 5%, I would hope to have 25 endorsements for a skill, I would hope that out of 100 of my friends, five of them would endorse me. Now, just like quid pro quo. In recommendations, you're not going to ask people for endorsements, it is not that value, if you're going to ask someone for their support, you want to ask them for recommendation, because the endorsement really is a Facebook like, but you know what, whenever you go to a LinkedIn profile of a connection, LinkedIn is always beckoning you to endorse them, endorse them, it sends a social signal, it's not going to do any harm, because hopefully, you know them well. And you, you are endorsing them out of out of honesty in and out of how you feel about them. And like I said, you're always going to get people that are going to endorse as a result of receiving endorsement, even though you're not asking for it. But endorsements are also you know, this is in the second part of sort of what you need to do for successful social selling on a daily basis. We're now on the infrastructure part of the equation. But it's easy to say that endorsing someone is one of the quickest and easiest and least risky types of social signals that you can send on LinkedIn. So in terms of its engagement value, it does have a decent amount of value more than you might think. Okay, let's move on now, number five, and setting up your infrastructure groups. Boy, you should all know this, by now, you remember the same group, you're able to send each other a message, regardless of your connectivity, assuming that both of you well assuming that they and I guess you as well have that default setting on. But what's important to realize is, it's not just in the joining of groups, that gives you leverage in social settings on LinkedIn. And obviously, the ability to send a message, but it's really in the engagement inside of those groups where you have value. But in order to do that, you first need to find the groups and join them. Now you could do an analysis, if you're connected with a lot of your clients, even if you're not, and you can view their profiles go in there, do Italie, you know, have your assistant go through 100 profiles. And of those 100 profiles. You know, what are the groups of people are putting the groups on their profile? What are the top groups that your clients are members of what are the top groups that your partner's a member of do a keyword search? What are some large groups out there in your territory in your industry, alumni groups, there's no lack of groups you can join, do a search on maximize social business.com For what LinkedIn groups that I joined, because I wrote on this several years ago, and it's still valid today, right? So join relevant groups. And you do it once and you forget about it. And these are the five points of setting up your social selling infrastructure. And it deals specifically with LinkedIn. But because LinkedIn is the center of social selling, you know, suffice to say it really is the centerpiece of your social selling infrastructure for each and every salesperson, whether you're a salesperson or you're a manager for your team, is updating your profile, connecting your database, making sure that you have that robust network of connections. And regardless of your LinkedIn connection policy, make it a habit, when you meet people go back in there, people join all the time, there's always new people that are there that when you did a search a year ago, two years ago, that did not pop up. So there is no lack of people that you can be connected to. And with each one, you get the ability to uncover this power of hidden connections that we all have amongst each other, recommending others and getting recommended endorsing others, which also includes sort of managing those skills that are on LinkedIn, and indirectly being endorsed for going out and endorsing others. And then joining those right groups. Okay. So once you do this, you're set every three months, maybe at the end of each quarter, a lot of salespeople are sort of judged by their quarterly performance. Let's make that the rule. And remember, multiply your age by 10 for connections, multiply your connections times five for the amount of endorsements you want to go for. So in the course of recording this podcast, I realized, well, this is a lot of content that is going to be way too much for me to cover in the entire, you know, originally, this is a 10 minute podcast, it's slowly becoming 15 to 20 minute podcast, just trying to deliver more content for you here in 2015. But what I'd like to do is let's take a pause here, I want to make sure I know you're all doing well what is going to be the daily workflow of a social selling professional. And before I do that, let's walk before we run. And I want to make sure that you have your infrastructure set up so and it's funny because the title of the slide in which I present this information, at the end of my social selling workshops is literally called your homework. So this is your homework for the next week. I really want you to go in there. There's a few posts I've written on maximize social business, you can do a search under the category of LinkedIn as well. But a lot of advice on setting up your LinkedIn profile, who to connect with about recommendations Look at that post about endorsements. Look at that blog post I wrote about LinkedIn groups, there's just a tremendous amount of information that I've already shared with you. I've also written a book called maximizing LinkedIn for sales and social media marketing. And although it was written a few years ago, the information is still valid, despite the fact that the user interface might have changed the basics that we're talking about gear, do not change much like a lot of the sales principles like solution selling, customer centric selling, that some of you may have learned about, if you have a sales background, a lot of that really hasn't changed over the years as well. So that's your homework. I'm going to be coming back to you next week. And the preview is we're going to talk about what this daily workflow, what should you be doing on a daily basis in social media, to leverage social selling as a sales professional. Now remember, with social media in general, or you know, social media marketing, you have the inbound and the outbound, a lot of salespeople like to say push and pull. So there's two sides of the picture. But that pole, right, where you have people coming to you and the inbound, where you're the magnet, attracting others, part of that is going to come down to the quality of that infrastructure. And hopefully, through this podcast, you're able to set up successfully. That's it for another episode and maximize your social next week, I'm really excited to be going to the social media strategy summit in Las Vegas, Nevada. I'm giving the closing keynote on sort of where to focus your efforts in 2015. I have a blog post of the same title that you should have read already at the beginning of the year. If you haven't go to maximize social business, check it out. Also, an exciting week ahead. We've been signing on new sponsors, new speakers of the social tools summit, I want to thank you all for your support, it's going to be an awesome event. If you haven't gotten your ticket yet, do make sure that you get that early bird special because it's not going to be around forever. And obviously, if you're looking to sponsor, if you have a social media speaking track record, you'll want to contact me as well and we'll see how we can fit you in but that's it for another episode of maximizing social wherever you are in the world. Make it a great social Day. Bye Bye, everybody. Thanks for listening to maximize your social. We appreciate all of your iTunes subscriptions, ratings and comments. If you would like to appear on the show or recommend content, please contact Neal Schaffer at Neal at maximize your social.com Please also make sure to check out Neil's new community, the Social Media Center of Excellence at social media ce o e.com. As well as Neil's first social media event, the social tools Summit, which will be in Boston on May 12. Thanks again and make it a social day.