[Episode Fourteen of ‘The Employee Advocacy and Influence Podcast] 🎧👇
Empower your employees like NEVER before!
Organizations all over the world in every sector are driving strategic competitive advantage by scaling the impact of their employees’ voices… and now YOU can too! As we delve beyond the why and get straight to the how so that you can put employee-driven growth at the heart of your organization.
Hosted by employee advocacy practitioner and CEO of DSMN8, Bradley Keenan.
So in today’s episode, we are going to be talking about sales.
I know that in a previous episode we already spoke about social selling and why people should do it and actually that’s been one of our more popular episodes. So I thought I would spend a little bit more time on sales, specifically around onboarding salespeople into your Advocacy program.
So something that might be of interest is that DSMN8 is coming up to about six years old and when we originally built the business or originally had the idea for the company, it was actually born out of a previous business that I had built and sold back in 2014.
I sold a previous business to a much larger organisation and went from essentially a startup into a publicly listed company, and being the Founder of the startup there’s an expectation that you’ll stick around for a couple of years, to make sure nothing goes wrong.
But outside of that, there’s little use for you in most situations so you’re in this weird position where you’re there to help the company that has acquired your business, don’t want to get to rely on you because the expectation is that you’ll probably leave.
So what happened was we wanted to help people in the new organisation sell our product and it was a piece of e-commerce technology. So what we thought about doing was creating content that was essentially designed to help people close deals. So that might have been something like an interview of an existing client, case studies, all these things that if you’re a B2B marketer, you’re going to know lots about and essentially we invested loads of time producing content and then once that content was ready for people to start distributing I found that it was really, really difficult to get salespeople to share content and to me, that was well, partly it was a eureka moment to build a business that addresses this problem.
But I found it more shocking because the interesting thing about that is:
Salespeople Have the Most Vested Interest
Salespeople have the most vested interest in being part of an Employee Advocacy program. But they can be the most difficult people to bring on board.
Because if you’re a Salesperson and you’re looking to win business, then it makes sense to have content that helps educate your market.
Because the more people that are aware of your products or service, the more inbound inquiries you’re going to get, the more deals you’re going to close.
Yet there was still this element of resistance that was met when we wanted people to share content. So when DSMN8 was built, it was actually originally built as a sales tool that would be used by sales teams and that was before I’d even before I was even aware that the term Employee Advocacy existed.
So why is it then that Salespeople have any vested interest in becoming part of an Advocacy program? Yet they can sometimes be quite difficult to sell the value on why they should essentially participate?
There’s a stereotype that comes with salespeople in that they’re driven only by money and in most cases that isn’t actually true.
But there’s certainly a large factor of their motivation is driven by money. So when you create your communications plan for your employees, if there isn’t a specific way of addressing how an employee advocacy program can ultimately help someone close more business, then from a salesperson’s perspective, it will be seen as something which is actually detrimental to their ability to hit quota.
Because it’s taking time out of their day to post on social, when maybe that old school mentality says, “well, the way that I closed deals is I’m on the phone or I am sending emails” or all of the other activities that the salespeople do.
So when you’re approaching groups of salespeople, I would advise that if you’re doing onboarding, training, or if you’re doing some kind of introduction of course when you launch the program, it might be done in your company all-hands meetings so everybody’s going to be aware of it.
But I would say that there’s a lot of strength in building an onboarding program specifically for your salespeople, where you talk about social selling as a key component.
The Easiest Way To Get Sales People Onboard
So the easiest way to explain the benefits of sharing content on social media with salespeople is that: unless you have total market domination then you have competitors who are contacting your same buyers, so the more that you can frequently engage with your prospective buyers in a way that adds value, the more you’re going to be seen as somebody who adds value and for a salesperson that’s huge because when you have people in your pipeline, you want to communicate with them.
But it’s very difficult to communicate with people in your pipeline without just saying, hey any update? How are things going?
So we want to add value and do that through email more than say even once a week and can feel a little bit much for a prospective client by sharing content onto social you’re able to do that in a passive way. Assuming that you’re connected to your prospective buyers on LinkedIn, which of course a salesperson should do.
So as you go into this training, before you conduct the training and whether that’s done in person or more likely to be done over a Zoom call:
Do THIS Before You Carry Out Any Training!
The most critical part of this is getting strategic alignment from whoever leads the sales team.
So if you’re working with a CRO or Sales Director or what have you and they don’t see the value in social selling, then that’s a battle that you really need to take on prior to doing the training with the salespeople because it doesn’t matter how well your training goes and your onboarding goes in that session, once they come out the Sales Director or CRO needs to value that activity because if that salesperson starts to miss quota, one of their reasons might be – oh, I spent some time inside the Employee Advocacy program and that took 10 minutes of my day – and maybe they’ll use that as an excuse. So what will happen is they will default to the things and the activities that are valued by the Head of Sales.
So you have to get that strategic alignment.
Your EA Training MUST Include This!
When you conduct the training, everything has to be focused around buyer engagement, pipeline development and ultimately how Employee Advocacy is going to help that person hit quota. And as I said I’m not saying all salespeople are 100% motivated by money but I would say almost all salespeople money is a very, very key factor to them.
So you have to make sure that is fundamentally addressed.
So step one is contacting the CRO and having a session with them directly I would say that if you can’t get alignment with the CRO then you may have a bigger problem.
So there are two factors in Employee Advocacy and I have somewhat strong views on this:
Follow These Steps to Effectively Onboard Your Salespeople
If you can’t get an alignment of social and have social seen as important by the senior level executives inside your business, I would say that you’re better off looking for another job than you are trying to convert them. Obviously if they’re open-minded to it, do try to convert them but if social is seen as nice to have and something that maybe you can do, maybe you’re inside the wrong organisation.
So assuming that you can step one is getting the alignment from the Head of Sales. Step two is conducting sales training that is focused around the Employee Advocacy Program and the value of social selling, and try and do that in partnership with the Head of Sales and then the third step which I’m going to say is almost a nice to have if you could do it, but it could be tough to talk to get this done having content sharing part of a KPI for salespeople will make all of the difference and we’re not saying share every single day, but if it can be part of a salesperson’s role is to share at least two or three pieces of content a week and then measured on it then that’s going to make such a big difference to the activity because even if somebody doesn’t fully buy into your Employee Advocacy Program they’re going to participate because they see a value and normally I wouldn’t say mandate Employee Advocacy across the company because it can create, I guess, poor execution of social but I think with salespeople having some kind of KPI can be the exception to that rule.
So I hope that was helpful and as always, I hope that gave you something to think about I’ll put some additional resources in the footnotes of the show, specifically around social selling and in the meantime, please do connect with me on LinkedIn. Any feedback you’ve got regarding this or questions you have about social selling? I’m always open to hearing about them and as one final ask of this podcast, we are now at Episode 14, so we want to start generating the reviews so we can rank higher and, all of the things that as a marketer, I’m sure you appreciate. So if you, do get a moment and you can drop a review into Spotify or Apple Podcasts, that would be absolutely fantastic.
Again, thanks for taking the time and I look forward to doing this again, same time next week.
VP of Marketing at DSMN8. With over 20 years of experience in marketing and advertising, Jody leads the DSMN8 marketing team, covering brand, demand, and product marketing.