Every 2 weeks I interview someone who’s innovative and who has left a lasting impact on the social selling space. Today I got to interview one of my friends and influencers Mario Martinez Jr. More about Mario below.
Mario, you’ve managed to put yourself into one of the hottest spaces in social media this year: Social Selling. You’ve spoken at some of the biggest sales conferences including LinkedIn Sales Connect about the value of integrating digital and social into the sales process.
I’d like to help our audience understand what your views are on the topic…
Q1: How do you define the buzz term “Social Selling”?
A1: First off thanks my brotha for the compliment. I’ve only learned from the great social sellers like yourself! Your question though is a Great Question Julio. So many are confused by this term and they immediately think of sending an inMail from LinkedIn or they think “yeah my Marketing team handles social media.”
So let’s define it correctly. As my friend Jill Rowley says, Social Selling is Leveraging Social Networks to do RESEARCH, be RELEVANT, build RELATIONSHIPS, which drives REVENUE. Simple.
What I just described as Social Selling, is not the function of a marketing or sales operations team. It is a function of Sales. Sales, researches their own prospects, tries to show relevancy to their buyers, must build a relationship with the buyer and ultimately is responsible for closing net new revenue.
Simply put what I am suggesting Sales Leaders and reps do today is augment the traditional prospecting methods with Social Selling.
Q2: Is Social Selling now mandatory for a company to stay competitive? What if you don’t have the resources?
A2: Well, I would argue depending on the brand of your company you might be able to get by without implementing Social Selling in 2016. This is possible. However, most organizations are not without competitors. Add in, 90% of most buyers say they don’t respond to cold outreach (Harvard Business Review). So, can you afford to not invest, learn, and understand? I would argue no.
Therefore, Sales leaders need to understand where their buyers are at and “GO” where the buyers are. Think of it like this – would you buy flank steak at the car dealership? Of course, not you would go to the butcher shop or the local grocery store. So where then are your buyers if they are not picking up the phone or their spam filters are filtering out your email?
Also, think about how many times you check your personal Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts in a day… That is probably around the same number of times your buyers are doing the same exact thing.
So I would argue within a year, yes Social Selling will be mandatory for a company to stay competitive.
Q3: Can you talk about some the results you’ve seen, either personally or in some of your social selling projects?
A3: With the last organization I worked with, I implemented a full-scale social selling program. The company attributed $1.4 million in annual contract value (ACV) of pipeline in the first 45 days out of the gate to Social Selling. In 6 months, they attributed nearly $4 million in ACV and they closed over a $500K in ACV. These were staggering results given the average deal size.
On a more personal level, when I left my last company as the VP of Sales to start my own practice, two Fortune 100 organizations reached out to me directly to ask me if I would consider helping them launch a social selling program. Just prior to leaving the last company, the CEO of another Fortune 100 flew me to corporate headquarters to discuss with the CEO and the executive lead team enabling a complete Digital Sales strategy.
It’s important to note these individuals found me. How? They either noticed me on social or found me via my content, interviews, video’s or speaking sessions. Remember, I was not a known entity on Social 3 years ago… However, I took the time to brand myself via Social and as a result, my new buyers started coming to me.
Now, I’m advising some of the highest levels of Sr. leadership at some of the world’s largest brands. Social is fast and it all started with a decision I made to engage with Social Selling. Then the results came in!
Q4: You and I see eye-to-eye when it comes to the big picture. We both believe that silos don’t work in the long run. What do social selling programs need to succeed and how important is working with other departments like Marketing?
A4: Great question Julio. Running in a silo can work for a very short period. However, it will quickly catch up and your Social Selling program will become a #FAILURE. I believe 49% of Social Selling is taking content and mapping it to your buyer’s journey within your network. For that reason, you need to have Marketing’s involvement to ensure they are producing enough of the right content that can help you target your buyers once they enter into your network.
Furthermore, you want to ensure you engage your Marketing, Enablement, and Salesforce team to help assist with the tracking, reporting, measuring, communications, and creating & driving the adoption program. Marketing & Enablement are key departments to help you.
Q5: You are one of the better sales leaders I’ve seen at finding and sharing content valuable to your target audience. How do you keep the content wheel spinning while maintaining your busy schedule?
A5: The first thing you have to do is decide what your social personas will be. Most think they need to find ONLY content which maps to their buyer. No. You don’t want to do this. Your buyer does not want to see content only related to what you sell. They want to get to know you. Now that I have my own firm and I am doing Social Selling training, coaching and development, I made a decision to have 3 social personas. This means, I post content surrounding three areas only:
1. Social Selling & Advocate Marketing (Employee, Customer or Partner Advocacy)
2. Leadership Development / Motivational in Nature
3. Sales in General
From time to time you will see me post content related to Technology trends.
I spend at a minimum 30 minutes in the morning, noon and evening sourcing content. On a personal one off basis, I’ve used tools like Hootsuite, Feedly or Sendible to source and schedule content delivery. I hate to say this – but nearly everyone does it, so let’s keep it real… Use your bathroom time wisely! LOL!
Of course, if I was working for a corporation we would look to leverage tools like Social Port from rFactr for a full company-wide Employee or Sales Advocacy solution.
Q6: Is there anything else you’d like to mention about your 2016 outlook?
A6: 2016 Outlook is all about learning how to leverage Social to grow the pipeline. If it were me and I were a rep or a business owner who doesn’t have a formal training program, I would I would spend up to 5K of my own money learning how to leverage Social to advance my own sales. Period.
Of course it’s better for the org to invest in you, but if they don’t believe in it or don’t want to invest then I’d do it myself with a coach. If you do it, you will catapult yourself to the top and be found.
Mario Martinez Jr. is a sales leader, speaker, social selling & LinkedIn evangelist. He has 18 years of experience managing sales activities & customer satisfaction within the Global, Enterprise, SMB and Public Sector channels. In addition, he is a Keynote Speaker with a LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI) score of 99 out of 100! As a Speaker he teaches, trains, motivates sales leaders and teams on how to take themselves & their pipelines to the next level. Follow him on LinkedIn, on Twitter at or view his website.