Koka Sexton: Building Social Selling
We'll bring up our next guest expert panelists he is the senior social media manager at linked in and I was really pretty excited for this because I think I told you guys when I when we were talking about having coca sexton join us is that a lot of times we see these social networks is their logo right? The twitter bird, the linked in thing the facebook and we don't realize that there are actually people that run these things because it it all just seems like it's just this us networking with each other so I think this will be a great opportunity for us to realize that they're actually people in these social networks to coca sexton please join us all right and it's all yours take it away let's hear about lincoln thank you for the great introduction, a little bit of background on me. I kind of had the same type of true actually that jill had I was a sales rep for many, many years and my pain point wass how do I get how do I identify these buyers to identify people who are looking for th...
e products that we were selling? And I eventually just became an expert on my own doing research I had fifty tabs open of my browser to look at people and looking for information that could make a relevant conversation within these within these new buyers in that process, social media started popping up sign for lincoln signed it for twitter. Then I started realizing that I could start seeing where the lines are blurring between the different conversations. People were very polished on lincoln there, talking about things they were doing on the weekends on twitter and when I learned how to blend that together, a bigger picture started opened up, and it allowed for much more relevant conversations, and that eventually led me into becoming an evangelist and building social selling and being standing on that soap box and talking about it and that's when linked and kind of caught wind and said, don't you come to this for us? So that's one of things that I do for lincoln and for most of you already know all about lengthen it was three hundred million members were connecting the world professionals, that's, the goal of the company it's our mission and, you know, we do everything we can to make that mission become a reality. So one of things that we want to talk about outside of the context of social selling is who are the buyers? And we look at social buying as leveraging your professional network to make informed decisions and to make those decisions feel better as you're making them, so this is how we define social buying. And what we found in our research was that the social buyers are making their using social media. These decision makers are leveraging social media what's really profound about this is that there's a lot of questions as we're building out social selling, and you hear people talk about social selling and leveraging social media as a sales person or entrepreneur or small business, I think inherently, we believed it that our customers were out there, and they're leveraging his networks, but there wasn't a whole lot of data around it, so we wanted to kind of find this information, so in the world of b to be what we also found was that buyers for use social media for purchasing spent eighty four percent more, so they're spending more money, and we believe that's because they're leveraging their networks, and they're actually doing a lot more research, so when they end up buying something right, they're spending a little bit more money because they feel that good. They're buying on feeling they feel that good about the purchase there, making that they're actually spending more money. There were also sixty one percent more purchases on average. So what this is saying is that people who are leveraging social media during the buying process actually buying more often, so as a zoo company, you want to make sure that you're invested in this because of these buyers we're actually spending more money and they're spending it more often you want to be in front of them as often as possible and social buyers have a higher level of company influence so as we conducted the research what we wanted to know was are you buying it for your team are you buying it for your apartment or you buying it for your entire company and what we found actually amazed us because this was against what I would have thought what I thought that social the social buyer was buying it for smaller groups we find that big purchasing decisions for entire companies these people are leveraging social media so we're sales and and these buyers khun really start kind of building the foundation is around social proximity and it's been mentioned earlier jill I mentioned before as a sales person if you're leveraging your connections if you're looking at your network in a way that is your net worth you're able to find those businesses that are looking for your product or service your social presence are you out there can they find you and when they do find you are they gonna want to run away are they going to want to learn more or they lean in on that and I think that's one of the things that a lot of companies entrepreneurs all the way up to the big the big businesses they haven't really fully adopted yet and when that happens at scale and we're starting to see it in some industries we're starting to see that a lot more money is being spent and they're investing more in this social presence of their employees and then social capital they're doing their homework just jill it's mentioned earlier when your customers are looking to buy something and you pop up on their radar they're going to go write your lincoln profile they're going to look atyou on twitter they're going to see what and who you're about because at the end of the day they want to make sure that you're not just going to take their money and run that you're in it for the long haul and that because very obvious if your presence on social media is transparent it's going to be very clear them very quickly this person's legit they know what they're talking about they are a resource for me so with that in mind the whole buying process at lincoln we defined social selling and we define it as a leveraging your professional brand so who you are to fill your pipe line with the right people leveraging insights and relationships we chose these words very carefully because we wanted to make sure that the buyers as well as the sales people understood that there were clear lines and there was things that you're not supposed to do as well as the things that you are supposed to dio so your professional brand is who you are. You know, I like to say a lot that all of you know when when you're a small business or entrepreneur or you're in a big business, you are the ceo of me ink, everything you do should be around building your own brand, and when you have your own brand, you're you're conveying an emotion upon your buyers and that's what makes them want to come back and make someone to spend more money? If your brand is solid, people are going to talk about you, people are going to echo your voice and it's just gonna be a natural reflection of who you are. So this is your this is your own personal brand, your professional brandt to fill your pipeline to actually get business with the right people, you don't want to target the wrong people know there's no business in that with insights we always talk about leading with insights, the more you can tell and address the needs of your buyer and lean into that the better as well as those relationships. So who are you connected with? Are you leveraging those connections to actually get business done so who's responsible for lee generation in most of these? Mostly cos well, we keep hearing is that marketing is on ly responsible for thirty first in fact, this is really high if marketing's producing thirty percent of the lead volume, they're actually doing really good, the other seventy percent is supposed to be on the individual wraps the people who are actually front line within the companies. So how are these seventeen? How is the other seventy percent gonna take place? The only way to do that is if they're literally hunting for this business, they're looking for it, and if they're looking for it in the wrong place, or they're looking for it, saying or doing the wrong things, there's not gonna be any business to be had there not been paying attention, your customers going toe unfollowed you un connect with you, they're going to run away from you and eventually being the ceo of meek this's going toe translate your entire company, and people are going to look at your brand, you're bigger company and say I don't do business with them just from one bad rap, so building that culture and getting them to understand that this is important, if this is the reality of the seventy percent having to be driven from the individual within the company. So what makes social sellers more successful? Let's use aaron is an example, some research that was conducted by the cb showed that sales people need to personally own they're only generation based on what I have just shown you as well if market is one producing thirty most of it's happening to be done, my salespeople lead with insights how are you adding relevant conversation into that into that stream? You can't go right after the buyer and say bye for me, bye for me they're going to turn you off in this day and age, the buyers are so well educated that if you're not the one educating them, you might as well not even have a seat at the table and then using social media describes a critical channel most most reps in order to scale their business. Most businesses in order scale need to be leveraging social media that's the greatest part of social media right now is the fact that any small business and I've seen it time and time again, it doesn't matter if you have one employee, ten employees, fifty employees you can look and act as big as a two, two thousand employees business if you leverage social media the right way if scales wonderfully. So lincoln, looking at the sales ecosystem, said we need to build a product that actually helps sales people perform better outside of just what lincoln dot com has, but a product that actually leverages your insights in your networks in a way that helps you do more business so as lengthen three hundred million members to billion member updates a week. Two billion people on our network are talking about the things that are of interest to them, because in the context of lincoln, they're not talking about what they have for lunch. They're talking about the things that are affecting their business. They're talking about incites around their industry, they're sharing information that on in a professional context will actually be of value to you and there's. Billions of connections out there, I've got it, I've got a large network, my team has got a large network if I look into the second and third degree of my connections, start realizing that we're all connected in some way, there was actually a study done not too long ago, and it's it's amazing that they were actually able to get to these numbers, but the whole seven degrees of separation is a myth. Now we no longer have that, we're all I think I think the data was showing that it's like three point six degrees of separation between anybody in the world, just based on all the social grass. If you overlay them together, that if I need to get ahold of somebody, I'm really only less than four connections away to finding a way to get in touch with whoever that person iss it's it's amazing what social media is done for the business process so who are the right people? So if I'm married and I'm looking for someone leveraging using lincoln, I'm ableto find based on company based on geography found seventy nine thousand lincoln members who worked at microsoft and that's really nice because it's a really big bucket that I'd go after, but the reality is that's almost too overwhelming as a as a business person, how am I going to go after seventy nine thousand people? Then I start identifying the key decision makers using advanced search, I start drilling in very specifically tio people, individual roles that I'm looking for toe actually solve and selling to and using these search filters, I get down to six hundred thirty people, so from seventy nine thousand six hundred thirty seems a lot more digestible for a business to handle using the free lincoln network. What we're able to find is that my connections kind of limited I'm able to see some people that may be able to give me an introduction because we know that leveraging introductions has an exponentially higher rate of return when it comes to getting into introduced into new business, then by trying to go in cold, we just know that people don't answer their phones, people aren't responsive to cold emails or cold calls, we're all busy and if I get an email for somebody, I don't know, not trash it and spend time on the things that I don't matter to me, but if somebody sent me and says, hey, I know john or what johnson's been able says coca, I want to introduce you, so and so I'm gonna reply to that because relationships matter and stronger your relationships and the stronger connections are the better you're going to be, but looking at the entire social graph as a business and tying in all of the networks. So again, going from a business of five employees up to a few thousand, if you leverage the networks of everybody that you can connect with, you start realizing that you could have the ability to find people within companies that by yourself you would not have had access to so discovering actual insights, how do you leverage a platform like lincoln to get insights on these individuals? You can see it in the streams. What news air the updating? What kind of things are they talking about things specifically from their profile? What schools they go to? What are they? What are their interests groups that there, ah, member ofthe you feel was mentioning earlier about how people have really just have built their business by literally going into groups and finding interested people who are asking questions in these groups and then leverage a comedy connection celebrity lincoln erin would be able to find no one he have any catchers maybe in the microsoft but when he starts looking at his entire company to his connections connections he's able to find that he's gotten thousands he's able to now connect with many people and we were talking earlier about single threat versus multi threat this is the importance of it being able to go in and know that here's seven people that I need to know in this company and not just the one because if you have multiple connections into place you're able to get a lot more business on you'll find out your champions are you're gonna find out who's who's actually pulling the strings who can sign the check and if somebody leaves the company for one reason or another you're not kind of left holding the bag they're still business that we had because you have multiple connections in that organization and we say that when you when you go in you should get at least four to five decision makers because what we're also finding is that most bigger purchases there are upwards you know? I think it's just under its right around five I think based on the research decision makers in a company and if you only have two connections or one connection into that business the chance of you when that deal is less than like six percent you have to multi threat into businesses, you have to get to know as many people within your customers as possible, so that when business is being done, the bright people are talking to each other so leverage common connections. How are you leveraging your connections, your connection to you? I'll say it time and time again, relationships matter ifyou're not leveraging your lincoln network and fostering it and communicating with it, and having good conversations with your network, they're basically collecting dust, so you have to find a way to engage them on a regular basis and finally so leverage that information to get referrals into new businesses. If your connections are happy with you, if they're getting value from the things that you're sharing that they're getting value from, you know, other outputs that you have through the network, be it through group conversations or your status updates, they're going to be more invested, and when you reach out and say, hey, I see that you're connected with so and so would you mind giving me an introduction? So we have something called team link that goes from work overlap all the way through your individual connections, and what this will tell you is, I don't know somebody at microsoft, but using team link john over on the other side of the office at us. So it's not just your immediate network could be the person in accounting that went to college with the person you're trying prospect into and if you realize that hey the guy in accounting who I wasn't a connection with because I'm not connect with my county department which a school was so and so and it turns out that they have shared classes and they used to hang out on the weekends in the chance of that individual that you're trying to contact answering the phone for their buddy from college is much higher, so I learned to leverage your connections and build those relationships relationships matter one of things we also able to do because we have so much data is do lead recommendations, so when you're looking at companies you no longer have to guess you know, we call it the difference between serendipity and science. Most businesses are going through serendipity waiting for the right person to show up they're walking through a desert waiting for the right buyer to raise their hand versus science. When you look like a topographical map like a heat map and shows you exactly where things were happening that's the data that we're able to provide you I mean all of your connections are part of this graph that you're able to look at say, this is the one place I want to spend my time as opposed walking around aimlessly looking for someone so what leader recommendation doesn't uses that data and says you're looking at john here's for the people in john's company that you made into no based on title and some and some other algorithms that we're taking the guesswork out of there for a visit for businesses we're making us so that when you go to somebody's profile, you're able to see not just the one person who you've already identified for one reason are there, maybe they've come into you, but who are the other people that you need to multi threat into based on their connections and things that they've engaged with it? It's, it's, powerful stuff, and then you end up getting a meeting, we're having them come in, it was realized that the relationships matter when you're leveraging those connections that actually pays off at a much higher rate than if you're just trying to connect with them outside of the network. So with that open to questions very happy to talk about lincoln social selling for you when it really seems very sales oriented for a sales person, a lot of us sitting here are solo producers my husband has paid for the premium linked in what about somebody say, I have a marketing consulting business, and I work with much smaller businesses and, you know, I have over five hundred contacts how would paying for linked in benefit may great question, you know, in the world that I live in is the bee to be in the enterprise, but because of the work that I d'oh, I gotta talk to a lot of solo preneurs I get to talk to a lot of small businesses have to talkto, you know, the mom and pop shops all the way to, you know, start ups, which is still technically a small business because they're still growing, but it becomes very powerful for you because you're well start building that network and it doesn't matter. So, you know, there's a lot of people that say I need to have one hundred million followers on twitter, it doesn't matter. It's garbage if you have fifty people that care about what you're saying fifty connections on linked in one hundred connections or one hundred, people following you on twitter, on instagram or whatever social channels your buyers are spending time on that's all that matters you praise them, find ways to for your connections, for the people who are following you finally has to elevate their voice. One of things that we do it like that we have what we call the poison remember we're trying to elevate the voice of our members as much as possible, and I think that that is a great business use for anybody who's leveraging social media and I've actually tried adopting that even maurin my own personal life even with all the connections that I've gotten through whatever social network I'm part of it was usually just me either talking about things that I was doing or talking about no things that I may be involved in our places I was going or whatever the event was at the moment but then I started realizing that all these people that were engaging with me I wasn't really doing a whole lot for them and it fell little selfish on my side so why not use my network to elevate my network and I think that again it doesn't matter if you've got fifty connections or one hundred or you've got one hundred people following on twitter whatever the channel is again finalise to elevate them finalise and bring them into the conversation and that's we're going to see all the value and you're going to see that when you're engaging this way that your network starts to grow very quickly because as I engage with you and your engaging back all of your followers start saying that eventually they want to know what's going on then you start becoming a resource and people will keep keep coming in to you most of my connections are not processed yes but by engaging with them spending time elevating them then that gives me visibility to their networks more light and more likely to get a referral absolutely okay, and you know it, you linked in you when I look att social networking landscape here, there's a big three facebook, linkedin, twitter and facebook you know, in in the bbc space works very well, your building's still building relationships and especially the soul open your you're using facebook in a much different way than I would when you look at twitter, it's all about news, you're pushing stuff out, you're having some fleeting in conversations with people and then there's link and lincoln is the only network that any activity that is taking place on your updates actually spreads through their networks. So if I see an update from you and I give it a thumbs up, my entire network sees that I think you gave that thumbs up if I comment on an update that you have it's gonna show up in my stream as well on twitter, that doesn't happen in order for you me to elevate your voice on twitter actually have to give you a re tweet, which, you know it happens a lot. Lincoln is the only one that any activity, any action you take on somebody's update actually spreads to their network as well, so it really depends on where your buyers are, it may not be linked in it, maybe instagram finally elevate them on instagram if it's on twitter find as many mean, this is why I love twitter. Fact, if I wasn't lincoln, I would be a twitter because I'm you know, in many ways, I'm addicted to it. Because on lincoln, I have to be connected with you in order. Have a conversation on twitter. I just have to know what you are, and I can engage you. And you know, you may not even be a you know who his buyer is yet. But you confined based on conversation, search streams, other things that are happening and start engaging with them in that way.