Five Basic Social Selling Tips

by Gini Arnold

social selling Social selling has definitely taken off in the last year, and many sales reps are beginning to find tangible success directly related to their social sales activities. These success stories are leading companies to mandate social selling as part of their sales force’s daily activities, but oftentimes this mandate comes without much guidance.

rFactr is dedicated to arming sales reps with the basic tactics they need to find success. The tips below are designed to help both the sales rep that is just getting started with social sales and the more seasoned social seller who wants to refresh their strategy.

1. Fish Where The Fish Are

Before jumping into social sales, research which networks your prospects and clients are on. You may have a great Twitter presence, but if all of your prospects are on Xing, then that’s where you want to be.

You should also know which networks are driving the highest participation from your prospects. Check out everything from LinkedIn Groups to industry-relevant hashtags on Twitter to find out where conversations of importance are occurring.

2. Know The Network

Each social network has its own “code of conduct” which dictates everything from how users interact to the language they use to the overall tone of the site. For example, acronyms and shorthand phrases are perfect on Twitter, which only allows users 140 characters per tweet.

There are also a number of network-specific actions and language markers that you’ll want to understand, such as mentions, hashtags, likes, and favorites, before you dive into engaging with prospects.

3. Focus On Making Quality Connections

While a large network is something to strive for, social sellers should focus on growing a valuable network filled with prospects, clients, and industry thought leaders. These types of connections are better suited for helping sellers reach their goals.

4. Value Participation Over Promotion

Instead of flooding their social networks with shameless promotions, social sellers should instead be focused on sharing content of value to their prospects. This is not to say that there isn’t a place for promotion, but it should be done subtly and at a lower frequency.

5. Leverage Engagement Opportunities

One of the greatest things about social media is that it offers sellers a way of communicating and interacting with their prospects in real time. Social sellers can take advantage of this opportunity by engaging with users that comment on or interact with their content and by forming and sharing an opinion with content shared by others. This type of one-on-one engagement offers the sales rep a perfect forum for starting a conversation with an engaged prospect and increases the chances of setting an appointment.

GiniGini Arnold is a digital and social strategist in Charlotte, NC. She has a strong background in developing and implementing social media strategies for companies in a variety of industries. Her true passion is providing companies with successful social media strategies and campaigns based on data analysis and a mutual understanding of their goals.

This post appeared originally on the rFactr blog; this slightly modified version is used here with permission. Join rFactr at the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on May 5-6

[Image: Flickr / mkhmarketing / CC by]

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What B2B Customers Expect in a Mobile World

By Loren Alhadeff

mobile deviceRemember when a sale was entirely manual and paper based? When you had to print documents and fax contracts, and weeks separated stages of the deal?

Today, businesses operate in a cloud-based world, and digital transaction management (xDTM) is synonymous with efficiency. This is especially fortunate for sales teams, whose quick response times can mean the difference between making or missing quota.

In fact, the marriage of xDTM and mobile solutions has set off a domino effect of efficiency. The major benefit: time and resources saved. For example, with DocuSign’s sales use case deployments, customers see, on average, an eight-day reduction in document turnaround time and a $15.68 savings per document. Eighty-six percent of documents are completed within one day, many within an hour.

With xDTM and mobile solutions, sales professionals are able to cater to customer needs better than ever, as well as have more time to focus on securing successful deals. Customers crave the added ease of mobile integrations, and they increasingly expect easy mobile transactions as table stakes when doing business. In particular, here are two things customers want from you in a mobile interaction:

Shorter and more efficient communication. Most email (approximately 70 percent) is read on mobile devices. Moreover, email communication must hit key points and include hyperlinks to cloud storage or external sites.

Secure communication. Customers want to complete business workflows from their mobile devices in a safe, secure, and legal manner. They’ll be looking for xDTM functionalities, such as those found in DocuSign, built with iron-clad and bank-class security. They also demand legally compliant templates and processes.

For sales professionals, xDTM and digital business offer the key tools to ensure a seamless sale while reducing paper clutter, wasted time, and wasted money. Furthermore, mobile integrations can vastly improve both the customer and selling experience. After all, if customers are free of the hassles of analogue processes, so are sales professionals.

Sales professionals and customers alike hope for a win-win situation, and that is what xDTM offers business today and moving forward.

Hear DocuSign’s CEO and chairman Keith Krach present “How Going 100% Digital Delivers Competitive Advantage” at the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on May 5–6, 2014. To attend, register here.

Loren Alhadeff DocuSign  Loren Alhadeff is vice president of corporate sales at DocuSign.

[Photo: Flickr]

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Two Things You Should Know about Today’s Buyer

When Dave DiStefano, CEO of Richardson, took the stage in Philadelphia at the Sales 2.0 Conference in March, he pointed out that many companies get off on the wrong foot with customers because they make the sales process all about themselves and not the customer.

One of DiStefano’s biggest points was that sales leaders need to figure out how to create a dynamic sales process. He quoted research from the CSO Insights 2014 Sales Performance Optimization survey showing that salespeople who rely on a dynamic sales process achieve quota 64 percent of the time compared to reps who rely on a “random” process (and  achieve quota only 52 percent of the time). According to DiStefano, a dynamic process allows salespeople the flexibility to meet customers on their terms and adapt to their needs and expectations.

To create a dynamic sales process, understand that buyers expect salespeople to bring value right out of the gate. That means sellers must understand their customers’ business challenges before they embark on a conversation. According to IDC’s 2013 IT Buyer Experience Survey, customers face a number of unique needs and pressures:

* Thirty percent report longer decision cycles.

* Ninety-five percent require financial justification before buying.

* Twenty percent report a decline in deal size.

Also, a high percentage of survey participants reported that sellers were unable to successfully articulate their value. As DiStefano said, this is a problem for sellers, but it shouldn’t be. He told the audience, “We all have passion for what we do and what we sell. It’s important to keep in mind that people buy from you when they trust you enough to help them solve their problems, when they know that you understand their business, and when they know that you understand them.”

With this in mind, DiStefano offered two takeaways for sales leaders to consider:

1. Know where the buyer is, and begin the sales process there. Focus on moving the buyer through his or her company’s process, not yours.

2. Avoid asking the buyer to take too big of a leap. Don’t close in your time frame. Take into account the risk the buyer is taking. For example, don’t ask buyers to take a leap of faith on price without ensuring that they understand the value you bring.

Join Richardson at their next post-conference workshop on May 7 in San Francisco at The Four Seasons Hotel. 

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Discuss the Future of Profitable Selling in San Francisco this May

This May in San Francisco, speakers like David Meerman Scott will be talking a lot about new, real-time solutions that can help sales leaders make big improvements to all areas of the sales organization.

Here are three presentations we’re looking forward to. Haven’t registered yet? There’s still time. Book your spot by April 15 and save $130.

Sell Smarter: The Future of Sales

Chuck Penfield, Regional Vice President of Sales, Cloud CRM Applications, Oracle

Today’s sales organizations are rapidly changing, and they’ll continue to face challenges and unprecedented competition to achieve increased performance and higher levels of effectiveness. Join Oracle’s Chuck Penfield, Regional Vice President of Sales, Cloud CRM Applications, as he shares insight and best practices from Oracle’s top sales executives. Learn proven strategies that can help transform your organization and drive better results. In this session, find out

  • how to build a modern sales organization that leverages the power of analytics and forecasting to help win more deals,
  • ways to maximize revenue potential and improve cross-sell and up-sell opportunities,
  • strategies to optimize sales performance and productivity by adopting an effective mobile deal-management approach,
  • how to improve sales alignment and effectively manage incentive-compensation plans.

Moneyball for Sales – Predictive Scoring

Jamie Grenney, Vice President, Marketing, Infer
Jim Herbold, Executive Vice President, Sales, Box
Suresh Khanna, Senior Vice President, Sales & Operations, AdRoll

The easiest way to increase the batting average for all your reps is to ensure they’re swinging at only strikes. Today forward-thinking sales organizations have figured out that they can use data to accurately predict which leads or accounts will turn into great customers. What is so exciting is that it’s easier than you think. Virtually any company can do it. But those who get there first will likely come out on top. Hear from two highly respected sales leaders about the impact that predictive scoring has had on their business and why it has them one step ahead of the competition.

Unquantified Value: The Greatest Threat to Profitable Sales Results

Jeff Thull, President & CEO, Prime Resource Group Inc.

If you are investing heavily in creating and selling high-value solutions, but your organization is finding it increasingly difficult to defend your solution’s value to customers, the lack of value clarity is preventing profitable sales results. Your solution has no value until your customers understand its financial impact on their business, invest in it, and can measure the results – their net profit. Absence of value clarity leads to more proposals ending in no decision, losses to competitors with less value, or sales with painful discounts. Today’s buyers require professional guidance in order to make quality, business-level decisions. Sellers require the next level of comprehensive tools and diagnostic skills to carry them out. Meet the challenges of today’s turbulent business world with leadership strategies that will take you and your organization beyond sales process hype and into the reality of your customer’s business. From strategy to process to execution of complex sales, Jeff Thull, CEO & President of Prime Resource Group, will show leaders how to turn this difficult situation into a powerful competitive advantage.

What sessions and presentations are you most looking forward to? Check out the full agenda here

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Maintain Your Sanity in Times of Change

By Kevin Warren

It’s no secret that we create opportunities when we do things differently. When you make a change, reinventing yourself, your business, your workout, your outlook, your career, your sales strategy  – whatever it is – is typically a tightrope walk that balances the energizing with the scary.tightrope walker

Let’s face it, we’re not usually big fans of change; we’re almost hardwired to resist it. It’s difficult and threatening , and yet we can’t avoid it, especially in business today, where transformative change is more than a buzzword, it’s a survival skill.

Our company has undergone some seismic shifts during my tenure. I keep my sanity by thinking about the opportunities this kind of shift presents – and remaining focused on how we stay nimble enough to capture them.

While each challenge is unique, there are three key tasks transformative leadership undertakes:

  1. Determine strategic imperatives and the operational drivers that can get you to your goal.

  2. Be clear about where the old mind-set undermines effort and prevents you from moving in new directions.

  3. Be certain that everyone at all levels is vigilant about keeping to the strategy and focusing on the operational drivers.

I firmly believe that reframing changes as opportunities creates an energy that helps drive success. Leadership that challenges that “muscle memory” – doing what we’ve always done – is at the heart of it, but you have to demonstrate reliability to get people to follow. They need to know that the things they know and trust aren’t about to completely fall apart while you’re focused on metamorphosis.

Knowing that we are all walking that transformative path together gives me the confidence to be optimistic. Here are critical checkpoints to consider throughout the course of a dynamic shift:

Focus on the right things. What customers want today is different from what they wanted 75 years ago, and they will want different things in the future. Being in tune with the changing needs and expectations of those we serve is vital to corporate success, and it requires the discipline to stop, listen, and adapt.

Make the change sustainable. Initiating change is one thing, but sustaining it is another. In fact, according to McKinsey, only 30 percent of all change initiatives are successful. So what does one do? Have a vision. Make it relevant. Keep it simple. Execute well.

Communicate early and often. Culture is the biggest make-or-break factor in the mix. You have to be ready for the resistance – the people who’d rather have you wake them when it’s over. The challenge is to help them focus on the opportunities the change offers instead of what they think they may lose in the process. It’s not quick, and it’s not easy, but it’s possible. Make the case for change with a vision that grabs people.

Remember, people are your driving force. Talent is the critical element to carrying out the strategy and structure you’ve so carefully carved out. Take a hard, honest look at your resources and determine who can make the journey, then get the right people in the right roles. Determine the thinking and skill sets people are going to need, and make plans to coach and teach those skills continuously.

Managing change is difficult, but change isn’t going away. We all have to keep pace with it. So wherever you work, whatever your role,  accept the challenge to wrestle muscle memory to the ground and become a change master who creates your organization’s next great leaps.

Kevin Warren XeroxKevin Warren is president of Xerox Strategic Growth Initiatives and a former Sales 2.0  Conference speaker. Join us at any of our upcoming events in Boston, Las Vegas, or San Francisco in 2014. See a full schedule at

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How Much Do We Spend on Sales Compensation?

How much do you think sales leaders spend compensating the 14 million salespeople currently working in the United States? According to Sales 2.0 Conference speaker and Xactly chief marketing officer Scott Broomfield, Harvard Business Review puts the figure at $800 billion.

“That’s four to five times the amount of money we spend on advertising in the United States,” Broomfield said during his Sales 2.0 Conference keynote presentation in Philadelphia on March 10, 2014. “The amount of money you pay to your reps far surpasses any that you spend on any other of your marketing programs. It is a huge area to pay attention to.”

 An Issue of Trust
Broomfield challenged audience members to think about the level of trust their salespeople have in their compensation plan. Reps often engage in “shadow accounting,” keeping track of their compensation-plan payouts in their own spreadsheet. When their numbers don’t add up to what they’re paid, they go straight to the CIO and ask why that is. Broomfield says this is a telltale sign that reps don’t trust the company. “If they don’t trust the company, you’re not going to get the behaviors you want that align with the overall company goals,” he said.

Generational Differences 
Broomfield implied that some sales leaders aren’t acknowledging the massive changes that are affecting the way sales teams are run. He shared a story about recent changes to Xactly’s letterhead; he noticed that the social-media icons hadn’t been incorporated. “Also,” he explained, “I mentioned to our employee, who happens to be 24 years old, that we had left off our fax number. Guess what she asked me? ‘What’s a fax?’”

Broomfield encouraged the hundreds of sales leaders in attendance at the conference to pay attention to current U.S. workplace demographics:

Xactly sales compensation Sales 2.0

Image courtesy of Xactly

Fax machines, when they first came out, were transformational. The same can be said about email and social media. As Broomfield asserted, these major shifts can be scary, but with the right mind-set, tools, and skill set, it’s possible to manage change effectively among different generations.

“You have to motivate salespeople and incentivize them where they are, no matter what demographic they’re in,” Broomfield said. Xactly data has shown that incenting right yields a 19 percent reduction in sales turnover, 88 percent fewer disputes, and 37 percent quicker sales cycles.

Bottom line: when you incent right, you get the behavior you need and can inspire performance to higher levels.

Do you know how much you spend each year on compensation? Are the demographics of your sales team informing the way you incent? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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How B2B Sales Leaders Should Think about Change and Transformation

Today in Philadelphia speakers and attendees at the Sales 2.0 Conference are talking about transformation and leading change.

As part of his keynote address, Selling Power founder Gerhard Gschwandtner talked with attendees and showed several videos featuring insight from leaders like Bill McDermott (SAP) and Keith Krach (DocuSign). Check out some of the top takeaways we sent and saw on Twitter.







Author, blogger, and sales leader Anthony Iannarino (who will be speaking later today on our panel, “Using Real-Time Data to Innovate and Drive Revenue Growth”) summed up what many other leaders said about change and transformation when he pointed out that sales organizations want to go from point A to point C without taking the steps in between. “No one has the capacity to make change that quickly. You need to gain the mindset of the organization first and the leaders of the company need to believe in where you’re going.”

Subscribe to this blog and track hashtag #s20c on Twitter to join the conversation.

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Sales 2.0 Conference Preview: Xactly’s Scott Broomfield Talks about Change

We’re looking forward to hearing a lot about sales transformation strategies next week at the Sales 2.0 Conference in in Philadelphia. Get a preview of what Xactly CMO Scott Broomfield will share about sales compensation and strategic change in the video below. (If you have not registered, there’s still time.)

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Leading Change with Social Selling: Sales 2.0 Conference Q&A with Anwar McQueen

Anwar McQueen

In this on-site Q&A from the October 2013 Sales 2.0 Conference, Anwar McQueen, Vice President of Sports Business Development at Sportstec, shared with us some of his takeaways about social selling and leading culture change.

Why did you decide to attend the Sales 2.0 Conference?

Anwar McQueen (AM): One reason I would go to an event like this is so I can see what is applicable to my job and company. Our solution is aligned with Sales 2.0 principles, and some of the panel speakers here have touched on some hot topics in my company, like how we [can] change our culture and how we [can] prepare our sales force for future needs.

What are those needs?

AM: My company’s solution is forward thinking, and my goal is to have our team culture and processes in sync with technology and selling trends. In my industry, the future needs are Cloud solutions versus the traditional marketing and reaching out to customers.

What takeaways will you share with your sales team?

AM: In my company, currently we’ve been focused on ABC: always be closing. But today, I heard a new definition of ABC: always be connecting. I never would have thought of it that way, but that’s a small example of something I could introduce on my next team call to move my sales force to think outside the box.

How do you think that would help your team?

AM: “Always be closing” is a driver that’s coming internally. It’s an old model that emphasizes selling to people and chasing down [purchase orders] and asking, “By when can you pay for this?” Connecting is a different mind-set. You try to connect with people first, build a relationship, and the selling takes care of itself.

If you’re always closing, I think you can inadvertently be a turnoff. People don’t want to be around people who are always trying to sell to them. Like the speakers said during the panel discussion here, the people you connect with can essentially start selling for you, because they spread the word about you to their own networks.

Are you currently using social to connect?

AM: Yes, I’ve created that vision of what that means for me, and I’m in tune with Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. But I’m not 100 percent convinced that my sales force is. From what I’m hearing here at the event, we absolutely have to be. What I also got is that [social selling] is a potential culture change and learning curve, and I get that people might be afraid of that.

Good luck, and thanks for your time today.

AM: Thank you.


Watch this Bloomberg TV interview with Anwar McQueen to learn how Sportstec works with organizations worldwide (including NBA and Olympic teams) to help coaches and players analyze performance.

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3 Ways Leaders Can Create a Culture of Purpose

According to a Deloitte survey, 66% of employees don’t believe their companies are doing enough to create a culture of purpose.

That’s a shame, because businesses that can instill employees with a sense of purpose and meaning can see a jump in motivation and loyalty. To quote Punit Renjen, Chairman of the Board of Deloitte, “Take a look at companies whose success is perennial. They sustain themselves by generating significant, positive impact for everyone their operations touch. For successful organizations, creating meaningful impact beyond financial performance is becoming the new normal … a business imperative.”

In the video below, Lisa Earle McLeod, author of Selling with a Noble Purpose and upcoming speaker at the Sales 2.0 Conference in Philadelphia on March 10, shares three things leaders can do to start transforming the culture of their organizations and use purpose to motivate their teams to greater success.

1) Reframe your language. Most leaders talk about revenue targets, profits, and shareholder earnings. Instead, talk about the impact your employees have on your customers and how your product or solution is helping them. “Last month we helped 2,000 new customers create better, faster proposals,” is more effective than, “Last month, we achieved 80% of our revenue goal.”

2) Find your noble purpose. Every leader must be able to articulate a “noble sales purpose.” For example, “We build a better world by creating software that helps buildings go up faster and safer.”

3) Get emotional. In a business context, the word “emotion” gets a bad rap. But what are excitement, happiness, and pride if not emotions? These are good things to introduce to the work environment. As McLeod says, “People are desperate to be a part of something bigger than themselves. When you give them that purpose, they will be on fire for you.”

You can catch Lisa Earle McLeod live in Philadelphia at the Sales 2.0 Conference on March 10. Register before February 12 for discounted rates.

What does your company do to inspire a culture of purpose? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


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