As social selling is currently the big buzz term, I interviewed a social selling expert for this blog post to find out what is fact vs. fiction.
The following is an interview with Julio Viskovich, VP Marketing at rFactr, who has been involved with social selling and employee advocacy programs since 2012.
Julio and I are also participating in a social selling webinar on February 24th, 2016 and invite you to join. Register here.
Julio, you’ve managed to put yourself into one of the hottest spaces in social media this year: social selling. It looks like your company has been getting some great traction and reviews in the market. Help “the rest of us” to understand social selling better.
1. How do you define “Social Selling”?
Social Selling is simply the strategic use of social media channels to positively and strategically impact the sales process. Like it or not, buyers have changed and now use digital channels to research products/services but also to communicate – sellers have to be present.
2. Who can benefit most from Social Selling?
3 Audiences Benefit Most:
- Sales Reps and Sales Leadership – We solve the problem of getting optimized content in front of the sales rep so that they can share it easily on the right social channels at the right time.
- Our product was created to allow sales reps to make efficient and effective use of social media. The benefits come in the form of increased leads, opportunities, revenue, and quota attainment. Since it was built for a sales-first audience, it’s the only social communication platform with deep CRM integration and reporting.
- Digital/Social Marketing Practitioners and Leadership – Our product is equally helpful to marketers because they can finally monetize the library of content they’re sitting on. SocialPort controls the message, syndicates the content with complex workflows, and tracks both internal and external activity.
- Shareholders – I also have to include shareholders as major beneficiaries because in each deployment we have shown cost reductions and a strong multiplier in additional revenue.
3. Is Social Selling now mandatory for a company to stay competitive? What if you don’t have the resources?
It is absolutely mandatory. Social media, like it or not, is a channel that every single buyer is using in some way – whether it’s to research solutions or engage with their peers.
“If in 2016 you have not empowered your sales team to use social media in their process, it is no different than not providing them a phone or email system.“
Companies who don’t are at a disadvantage and on the sidelines while competitors are social selling. Whether it’s having someone in-house, engaging 3rd party content services, or choosing a platform that can provide content and training – either or all can help solve many of the initial roadblocks to getting started right.
4. Can you talk about some of your customers and what benefits they have derived from your solution? As you know, I like numbers and ROI.
One of the reasons I knew I liked you right away when we met was because you tell it how it is! We at rFactr are the same – we don’t use fluffy metrics when discussing results. We have had some amazing successes with some of the F1000 companies, but some impressive results came from the mid-market as well – in particular involving B2B sales organizations.
- In 2015, we worked with Force Management to layer social into their sales process with the goal of driving additional leads and revenue. With the help of our platform, social became their number one lead source doubling inbound leads and helped to drive an additional $1.3M in new revenue last year.
5. You and I see eye-to-eye when it comes to the big picture. We both believe that silos don’t work. How do you see social selling fit in with the rest of an organization, e.g. their marketing, customer service and other departments?
I totally agree. Right now departments like sales, support, and marketing are still figuring it out. It’s like swinging at a piñata, if you can work together with others results will come quicker.
- The aforementioned are all customer facing roles and either of them could be the 1st touch point with a prospect online. As a sales leader, you want other employees sharing company content, even if they’re outside of sales, to generate top of funnel awareness and inbound leads.
- Getting other departments onboard as content sharers Having a system in place that helps measure the sales impact of a Twitter share from customer service, or the ability for a customer service rep to identify a lead and push it instantly into the CRM system for a sales person to follow up will be conversations that start to happen soon.
6. You knew I would ask: How do companies find the content that keeps the social selling wheels spinning?
Since lots of crap content is everywhere, it has become increasingly important to:
- a) Share content that adds value to your buyers
- b) Share content when it’s timely
- c) Share content that’s optimized better than your competition’s.
Most companies or individuals are still figuring out the first step – understanding your specific (niche) buyer persona and what sources of content they read and trust. That will be a good start in understanding where to find consistently impactful content and something we’re trying to solve with our Forbes partnership.
7. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Social selling is not difficult; it uses many of the skills we use in regular conversations each day. Find out which networks your buyers are using, create a professional profile, and share valuable content. Results will happen!
And don’t miss to sign up for our upcoming social selling webinar.
Top sales performers are leveraging social sites to create more opportunities, nurture leads with content and accelerate the sales process. rFactr partners with clients to scale the best practices of these top performers across the enterprise. rFactr also partner with Forbes to offer content and thought leadership out of the box.
About Julio Viskovich
Julio is a social selling thought leader currently acting as VP of Marketing for social selling platform rFactr. Forbes featured him as a Top 25 Social Selling Influencer in 2014 and as one of the world’s leading thought leaders in the social sales space. Connect on LinkedIn or Twitter @JulioVisko.
If you’d like to learn more, tune in for our webinar on Feb 24, 2016:
Social Selling in 2016 – A Virtual Roundtable Expert Discussion
The event is hosted by SEO guru Chris Raulf of Boulder SEO Marketing and also features Social Selling expert Jasmine Sandler, CEO of Agent-cy Online Marketing, as well as Julio and yours truly.