Social Selling And The Modern Sales Rep In The Age Of Advocacy

Social Selling And The Modern Sales Rep In The Age Of Advocacy

“Organizations need to give sales reps the tools and training they need to build their personal brand and connect with buyers in every way, shape and form to increase credibility.” –Jeff Linton, National Channel Sales Manager – Agency at Act-On Software

Jeff Linton, National Channel Sales Manager – Agency at Act-On Software, explains what it takes for B2B sales reps to truly embrace social selling and engage with buyers in social channels

Jeff is well positioned to understand how businesses need to adjust to engage today’s B2B buyers.

With vast experience in both marketing and sales, he has a strong sense of how B2B organizations need to think differently about customer referrals and references.

“Experienced buyers are looking for nuanced opinions. They probably heard about you from someone they know and want your help, as a strategic partner, to achieve their goals,” he explains. “They might even be coming from a competitor, feeling desperate, cheated or burned.”

Because so many customer referrals are funneled via social networking, sales reps need to establish a presence there. But, he says, true social selling goes beyond just posting content on social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn.

According to Jeff, “If a sales rep is a buyer’s first contact with your company, that sales rep needs to be connected within – and trusted by – the customer community.”

Enter the modern sales rep: Social selling

As Jeff sees it, today’s sales reps need to extend themselves and their company’s services into the social realm. They can do so by engaging in conversations and sharing their expertise in that space. Even more important, they need to direct a customer into those conversations at just the right time.

“Social selling, customer references and advocacy have merged, and sales and marketing will have to work together to get the best possible results,” he says.

“When you start merging social selling and customer references, you get away from a ‘true’ reference program. The electronic reference boards are the future. Providing a reference to validate what they’ve said is no longer good enough.”

Social selling requires a focus on personal branding

With that in mind, it’s easy to see how important it is for sales reps to manage their reputations and personal brands online. After all, there’s a direct correlation between reputation and credibility.

“In the social realm, potential customers can determine who these sales reps are that they’re dealing with and just how credible they are,” he says. “Organizations need to give sales reps the tools and training they need to build their personal brand and connect with buyers in every way, shape and form to increase credibility.”

The next evolution of customer reference programs

Grow Your Customer Base: Cut Your Customer Reference ProgramThis post is an excerpt from Grow Your Customer Base: Cut Your Reference Program, an eBook about transforming B2B customer reference programs in the age of advocacy.

Find out how other customer success, marketing and sales leaders are transforming the way their companies harness relationships with loyal customers in the age of advocacy.

Featuring: Bill Lee, Liz Pedro, Rhett Livengood, Pascale Royal and many others.

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One Response to Social Selling And The Modern Sales Rep In The Age Of Advocacy

  1. […] Sales reps should build their networks by connecting with every single existing customer via social selling – whether or not they are the ones who made the deal. Then, they should act as a matchmaker […]

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