Personal branding, employee advocacy, and social selling are all the rage right now, but what social selling actually is and what the impact that it can actually have can be fairly elusive. Social selling has actually been around for quite a while, and Alex Low has been evangelizing it since 2015. How would you like to drive $5 million in pipeline? That is what Alex was able to do with his social selling pilot way back in 2016, for JLL.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How to pitch a social selling/employee advocacy program to executive leadership
  • How to measure success of a social selling program
  • How to scale 1:1 conversations social selling
  • The core principles of social selling (hint: they are the same now as they were back in 2015)
  • How things have evolved in social selling over the past 5 years
  • What changes need to happen in corporate leadership to facilitate and empower people to be active on social in the future

Alex’s Recommendations:

  1. Don’t force people to do something they really don’t want to do
  2. You need to make your social selling program and related training all about what’s in it for each seller individually. It needs to be relevant to them.
  3. You need to shift your mindset from broadcasting to engagement and conversation, to be successful on social.
  4. Don’t overdo it with employee advocacy technology as that can actually be detrimental on LinkedIn
  5. If you are passionate and care about the company you work for, you should be proud to share content about it
  6. If your employees aren’t willing to talk about your company’s ESG initiatives online, you likely have a bigger problem than implementing an employee advocacy program.
  7. Read Timothy Hugh’s book about social selling
You’ll need to listen to the full episode if you want to hear the Lightning Round, but here are a few highlights:
  • Alex hates the word “pivot”
  • Alex is very particular about how he takes his tea…  Tea (PG Tips or Yorkshire Tea), milk and one sugar, and the milk goes in once the tea bag has been taken out. None of this horribleness of putting the milk in while the tea bag is still in there.

Proofpoint’s POV:

We are all-in on personal branding and social selling at Proofpoint! LinkedIn has been responsible for the vast majority (90%) of our pipeline and in this most recent quarter has driven close to half a million in closed won deals.

There isn’t much of what Alex talked about that we can argue with. The one thing we can expound on a bit more though is the mindshift that needs to happen from interrupting and broadcasting to engaging and educating.

Platforms like LinkedIn have made it much easier for us to have direct access to our peers. This has created a shift where B2B buyers put much more stock in what their peers say than what they read from other 3rd party sources online. This means that people want to hear opinions and learn new things on LinkedIn. They don’t simply want to see/hear a regurgitation of the corporate message. They want to hear from you – the person.

This means that content creation has to evolve to support this, and what we are generally advising and what we are seeing work wonders for us and our clients is leveraging video as the content engine. Whether this is a video podcast, webinars, lives or recorded events, video allows you to put your full self out there, and build trust with your audience and prospective buyers. Video can then be repurposed into a variety of other mediums which can also be disseminated via social and other channels.

And as Alex mentioned, we are also starting to see more and more B2B content happening on TikTok, and we believe that it will be the next platform that B2B marketers will need to focus on as LinkedIn becomes more and more crowded over the next 6 – 12 months.

A bit more about Alex:

Alex is a sales transformation expert who has been championing social selling since the early days. He is a consultant as well as an advisor to a number of tech companies in the UK. Even though he hales from the land of football (the real kind… the one that actually involves kicking a ball) he isn’t much of a fan, and instead follows Formula 1, with Nigel Mansell (“and his mustache”) is his favorite.

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