Brynne Tillman webinar RECAP social selling

Webinar Recap: Social Selling: Content to Conversations

Brynne Tillman webinar RECAPWhen people hear the word “marketing,” they often think of print or TV advertisements that encourage you to buy one product over another. Those ads infiltrating our subconscious are indeed one aspect of marketing, but there is waaaay more to it than just that, especially since the advent of the internet and social media. That’s why I was especially excited to lead a conversation recently with social selling guru Brynne Tillman.

Brynne, a former banker and current sales trainer with St. Meyer & Hubbard and CEO at Social Sales Link, has literally written the book on how to use social media as a tool for your sales and marketing efforts. The strategy of “social selling,” Brynne explains, is all about building relationships, providing real value, and being a resource.

She drives home this key point: “It’s not about what the client is worth to you, it’s about what you are worth to the client. … How can I be a resource? How can I bring value? How can I show up in a way that is meaningful?” When we do this enough with the right people, the sales will come when the time is right.

Conversations must be earned

What does it take to get a conversation with all of those would-be clients on social platforms? A warm introduction or engaging with their content isn’t enough. You have to earn a conversation.

Brynne explains why it’s important to master the Ask-Offer Ratio in order to earn that conversation. If you pitch your product too soon in your online interactions, it’s likely that the prospect will feel like it is a bait and switch, and you are going to scare them away.

Instead, you must first share something of value with them — a news article relevant to their industry, for example. You want to be compelling — offering them value in the form of education or insight — in order to get them to “react” in the form of a “like,” a comment, a connection, or even a request for a conversation.

The right Ask-Offer Ratio means that whatever you are sharing should provide them with a resource that is more valuable to the prospect than the amount of time they must invest in reading it.

“Slow down the outreach to speed up the outcome,” as Brynne says.

Your profile matters

Brynne shares some best practices for improving your social media profile (specifically on LinkedIn) and converting it from a resume to a resource.

In order to attract the right prospects, your profile and content must resonate, spur curiosity, and educate, getting the viewer to think differently about their current banking relationship. Then, use an effective call to action on your profile to get them to take that next step to begin the prospect to client conversion process.

Social selling mistakes

Brynne notes a few things to avoid when it comes to social selling.

  • social selling mistakes, by Brynne TillmanLeading WITH your solution instead of TO your solution

This comes across as a pitch, and prospects will glaze over. Instead, talk about things that matter to the prospect. Get them “leaning in” because you’re sharing things they care about and want to consume. It’s not about developing leads; it’s about developing relationships.

  • Random Acts of Social

Logging in occasionally to “like” something or share a post isn’t an effective social selling strategy. You need a consistent, regimented process with defined steps and templates in order to be effective.

  • Connect and Pitch

The top social selling mistake people make is leading with their sales pitch — it’s off-putting to nearly everyone. Again, you must earn the right to a conversation by providing value that’s not about you, but rather that’s about what matters to the prospect.

  • Connect and Forget

It’s an innocent mistake that many people make: ignoring the people who are already in our network. Think about your current clients, past clients, prospects, partners, vendors, and community leaders. Ask yourself: Who have I been ignoring?

Connecting with insightful content

Brynne recommends exporting your social media connections, as well as using the search/sort functions within LinkedIn, to initiate conversations based on sharing industry-focused, valuable content (a relevant news article, for example). This enables you to essentially create a “template” to share that piece of content with multiple people in that industry with only minor tweaks to personalize it.

When you share that article, be sure to include your thoughts and insights on why you thought the article was of value to the recipient. This shows that you took the time to consume the content as well. And don’t forget to invite them to respond as a way to initiate a back and forth. This can be a high-impact means of outreach.

You can take your discussion to the next level by next sharing content about your prospect’s customer, i.e., the industries that your prospect sells to. This creates a truly customized experience for that prospect — one that adds value and resonates.

Industry content for the win

A big aspect of successful social selling is giving the prospect a compelling reason to switch to your company. This is where adding value, becoming that trusted advisor by sharing industry-specific insight, like the shareable Industry Intelligence you’ll find on Vertical IQ, can be crucial.

Brynne explains: Adding value by sharing industry content “proves that they matter to you, that their industry matters to you, that their client’s industry matters to you, because that is how you are going to connect to them differently than any other banker.” In short, sales pros need their social selling outreach mindset to shift from price/rate-focused to value-focused.

>> Request a link to the Social Selling: Content to Conversations with Brynne Tillman video replay.

Earning the right

As we learned from Brynne, when you bring value to those you want to start a conversation with, you can earn the right to take a few minutes to share with them what you do. If you think we’ve earned the right to tell you more about Vertical IQ, then please consider signing up to get a brief demo:

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b2b technology sales marketing man on mac photo by Austin Distel

Personalize Your B2B Sales and Marketing with Industry Intelligence

b2b sales marketing man on mac photo by Austin DistelIf we learned one thing from the events of 2020, it’s that businesses must be agile in order to succeed. From adapting product offerings to shifting to remote selling, nearly every business had to make some type of adjustment to cope with the challenges created by the pandemic.

LinkedIn recently published their annual survey of B2B technology buying and decision-making. Synthesizing data from nearly 6,000 respondents (people who had researched, evaluated, bought, implemented, or renewed a new technology solution in the last 6 months), the survey found five key recommendations for technology marketers to succeed in what the researchers call the “Age of Agility.”

You can access full details about the LinkedIn survey here, but there were a few statistics in particular that jumped out at me as relevant to those selling and marketing B2B technology products.

Speaking your audience’s language

The LinkedIn survey found that 52 percent of technology decision-makers collaborate most often with their IT partners during the buyer’s journey, but nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of buying decision influencers are outside of the IT department. Additionally, more than half (54 percent) of technology decision-makers are responsible for identifying new problems that can be solved by technology.

These are important facts for B2B technology companies to understand as they can (and should) impact their marketing strategy.

With so many non-IT people involved in the buying decision, tech companies must find effective ways to appeal to prospects’ diverse array of internal gatekeepers. One simple way to reach these stakeholders is to speak their language. Using Industry Intelligence about their prospect’s niche, sales professionals and marketers can make personal connections between the prospect’s unique industry pain points and the solution they offer.

For example, by using Industry Intelligence to prepare for a call with a law firm, we learn that many law firms are using technology solutions to improve productivity while also reducing costs and addressing client information security concerns. For those in technology sales and marketing, this industry knowledge can help them ask more tailored questions and explain their value proposition in a way that is easy to understand for their specific audience, such as a law partner.

The conversation might begin like this:

“I know that a lot of firms like yours are implementing new electronic documents software to increase staff productivity and reduce overhead costs from delivery/courier services and records storage. Have you considered how technology solutions might be able to boost your firm’s productivity while lowering overhead?”
“Many smaller law firms, like yours, are adopting software-as-a-service practice management systems to eliminate the cost of maintaining in-house servers and software. At the same time, firms are being forced to invest in enhanced information security systems and develop new policies on proper use of emails, electronic documents, mobile computing, and social networking tools. What challenges do you face in protecting the confidentiality of your clients’ information?”

By speaking their language and framing your prospect conversations around day-to-day productivity, cost, or IT security concerns — rather than leading with your specific product — you help someone like a law partner connect the dots to how a technology solution can address an issue that might be keeping them up at night.

Stay in touch after the sale

The LinkedIn survey also uncovered the importance of continuing to nurture clients even after you close the sale. In fact, nearly half (46 percent) of technology decision-makers noted that an existing vendor’s knowledge of their company’s unique needs is a key factor when awarding new business.

This is another area where Industry Intelligence can help technology marketers and salespeople stand out from the crowd and drive cross-sell or upsell opportunities. One way to continue to nurture your customers is by sharing timely news about their industry. And it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time when you have the right Industry Intelligence tool at your fingertips.

Let’s face it: Many business decision-makers (especially small to medium-sized business [SMB] owners) simply don’t have the time to proactively seek out the latest information pertaining to their industry. As a result, they may be missing out on current trends that can help their business succeed or risk factors that can sink the ship.

A simple but effective client touchpoint is sharing a relevant news article about their industry and including a personalized note. For example, the communication to the owner of a commercial printing company might look something like this:

“Hi Sarah,
I saw this interesting article about how direct mail companies are increasing the number of campaigns they are sending out amid the pandemic since people will likely be on lockdown for a few more months.
More and more commercial printing companies like yours are offering variable data printing, which allows personalized content to be added to these types of direct mail campaigns. Do you have the technology in place to offer this type of custom, one-to-one marketing?
I’ll call you Tuesday to discuss how this service offering can boost your print volumes…”

Again, with a message that focuses on an industry-specific issue, you aren’t leading with product, but you B2adding value to the relationship and offering solutions. It shows that you have your finger on the pulse of your customer’s industry and are looking for innovative new ways to help their business succeed. It’s a great way to stay top-of-mind and increase the likelihood that they will come to you with their next technology opportunity.

Personalized communications yield customized technology solutions

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, right? As this LinkedIn survey reveals, however, technology decision-makers are increasingly looking for more than just a tech product or service. They want to work with a vendor who understands their business and can help solve their unique problems.

For technology marketing and sales professionals, incorporating Industry Intelligence into your customer and prospect communications is not only a huge time-saver, it can also be a game-changer.

When you understand the underpinnings of a niche, you can have more personalized conversations and ask better questions that delve into the challenges your customer or prospect may be facing. And armed with this critical insight, you can provide the tailored solutions that today’s technology decision-makers demand.

If you are interested in learning more ways that Industry Intelligence can deliver results, check out this infographic on Using Industry Intelligence Throughout the Buyer’s Journey.


Image credit: Austin Distel, Unsplash

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unsolved mysteries ebook cover

Last Seen Leaving the CEO's Office (Part 3 of 3)

Posted by David Buffaloe
Private Investigator – Name Undisclosed

>> Related: Unsolved Mysteries of Losing a Sale (Part 1 of 3)

>> Related: Solving the Case of the Frozen Sales Pro (Part 2 of 3)

Another serious opportunity has disappeared in a decade riddled with mysterious sales losses. Witnesses reported seeing a seasoned sales team leaving the office of a CEO. Yet, when asked about their last interaction, the executive had no recollection of the sales team or their offerings. It was if they simply ceased to exist – and their potential deal was pronounced dead on arrival.

No need to call in the search party on this one. While sales notes reveal the team was armed with traditional sales tools, they lacked the Industry Intelligence required to make a memorable first impression, confidently close deals, and deliver measurable value. Their CRM system and old-fashioned sales intelligence tools failed to equip them with the ability to understand their prospect’s strategy, competitors, regulatory issues, industry risks, and market trends. Without that critical information and insight, they quickly became invisible to their prospect.

A Shocking Number of Sales Losses

Shocked by the sheer number of avoidable sales losses, Vertical IQ is now leading an investigation into the Unsolved Mysteries of Losing a Sale. In today’s far-from-normal business climate, top sales and marketing professionals are discovering they must go well beyond identifying WHO they want to do business with. The tools they’ve relied on for years are failing to help them win businesses.

Without Industry Intelligence, even the most experienced sales pros can’t fully understand or articulate the essentials, including:

  • WHAT is impacting prospects today, in a succinct and easily consumable (and shareable) format
  • WHERE businesses are positioned in a prospect’s regional and local economy to deliver highly relevant insight and targeted solutions
  • WHEN current events are impacting customers and prospects along with directions for moving their business forward
  • WHY prospects should choose their solutions and services to secure a more profitable business future

Explore our free eBook, UNSOLVED MYSTERIES of Losing a Sale, to unlock the missing piece in securing new business, conducting more productive sales conversations, and building stronger customer relationships.

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unsolved mysteries ebook cover

Solving the Case of the Frozen Sales Pro (Part 2 of 3)

Posted by David Buffaloe
Private Investigator – Name Undisclosed

>> Related: Unsolved Mysteries of Losing a Sale (Part 1 of 3)

It was a typical day when Michelle logged into Zoom for a meeting with a potentially huge new client. In calls to friends earlier that day, Michelle said she felt good. She had a broad understanding of their business and thought she had all the info she’d need to make a solid connection – and maybe even close a deal.

To prepare for the meeting, she’d cobbled together some basics from her trusty (though dusty) CRM and SFA systems and even stayed up late the night before Googling away hours hunting for reliable business data. She’d stumbled upon a few articles from business websites, newsletters, and industry publications she could share. Sure, they were dated, but they were about the same industry. So, she thought they should be good enough. But Michelle was not at all prepared for what would happen next…

Missing in action: The WHERE & WHEN

Just a few minutes into the call, her prospect asked for her perspective on their local economic business climate. This last quarter had been extremely difficult in their area – and they required highly specific and timely strategic insight tied to their regional and local economy to make accurate decisions now.

As the question was being asked, Michelle felt her body go numb. Frozen in place, she suddenly realized the outdated articles and general business info she’d spent hours searching for on the Internet were worthless. This prospect wasn’t going to rely on a generalist during a time that required current local and regional economic data to improve, if not save, their business.

To her absolute horror, Michelle lost the deal. She wasn’t truly ready for her call. She didn’t have any insight into the WHERE and WHEN so vital to addressing her prospect’s challenges. Lacking up-to-date and regionally specific information, she could not:

  • –Articulate local economic trends impacting their business
  • –Explore opportunities for business growth and transformation
  • –Align financial projections with today’s local economic realities
  • –Share insights on the impact of real-world events when they are happening

Sadly, Michelle is far from the only victim. Far too many sales and marketing professionals are missing the opportunity to help clients stay ahead of rapidly shifting markets and trends in their region. But Vertical IQ is on the case.

Explore the UNSOLVED MYSTERIES of Losing a Sale to find out how you can save yourself from a similar fate – and get a powerful checklist to take charge before, during, and after your customer and prospect meetings.

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unsolved mysteries ebook cover

Unsolved Mysteries of Losing a Sale (Part 1 of 3)

Posted by David Buffaloe
Private Investigator – Name Undisclosed

Reports of strange occurrences in the world of sales and marketing are on the rise. For decades, dedicated professionals relied on a standard set of skills and sales tools to capture the attention of prospects, close deals, and keep customers coming back for more. Terrifyingly, those traditional tools and outreach tactics are failing, opportunities are disappearing – and sales pros are afraid. This is no time to lose sales.

Unable to ignore an escalating number of sales losses and growing unease experienced by so many across the business landscape, Vertical IQ stepped in to help solve this mystery. We managed to delve into a level of intrigue and sales insight you won’t believe – and are giving you unfettered access to the incredible secrets they’ve uncovered.

The usual suspects

Recognized sales enthusiasts and marketing leaders are emerging from the shadows to share their experiences. They’ve all encountered something strange – and their stories share remarkable similarities.

Using their tried-and-true Sales Force Automation (SFA) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems or even Sales Intelligence tools for data on leads, accounts, and contacts, they identified what seemed like the perfect prospect. After hours combing through tons of information on the web, it seemed they could make the case that their products and services would meet the needs of those potential prospects. Yet, for some unknown reason, they continually failed to win their business – and no one could figure out why.

Could it be possible that basic business data is no longer enough to adequately prepare you to seek out and secure the new and long-lasting customers you need to drive revenue? All the clues pointed in that direction, but many remained firmly convinced that a name, title, and a bit of business history should be enough to start, if not seal, a deal.

Facing the facts

As the facts of this investigation rose to the surface, everything became clear. If you want to win in 2021 and beyond, you must recognize the vital pieces missing from your sales and marketing processes.

While CRM, SFA, and Sales Intelligence tools tell you WHO to call, that’s not enough. You must know WHAT to say to capture their interest and win their business. That means fully grasping the complexities that shape how your prospect views their business, industry, and the world at large. The only way to do that is through Industry Intelligence.

With Industry Intelligence, you can go beyond WHO and get to WHAT is impacting prospects today, in a convenient and easily consumable format. But there’s a lot more to this story. While speculation still runs wild and theories abound regarding every lost deal, Vertical IQ is sharing all the secrets they’ve uncovered in a new eBook: UNSOLVED MYSTERIES of Losing a Sale. Read it to discover what’s missing in your sales process and unlock the nearly inconceivable value of Industry Intelligence across the entire sales cycle.

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I’d Like to Live in a Fisher-Price Town

2020 has been a year packed full of crazy, and this week’s elections are likely to serve up more chaos. I’m not much for conflict. I am certainly not going to dive into a passionate political discussion in a blog or even conversation this week. But I will likely reach out to friends, co-workers, and clients to touch base and let them know I’m here if they need anything.

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Welcome to Prospectville

September saw NFL and college football starting to come back to life, bringing a much-needed boost to many people’s spirits as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Along with many other Americans, I spent last weekend cheering on the guys from my fantasy football team.

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