By Dave McLaughlin, CEO at Vsnap
Yesterday, Mike Sadeghpour (LinkedIn, Twitter) led a discussion at Vsnap about understanding the role of emotion in sales, both for buyers and for sellers. The participants were from sales teams at a range of companies, from startups on the rise to a multi-billion dollar business with a thousand-plus reps.
A bit of background on Mike. He began exploring the mental and emotional aspects of high performance in the context of competitive sports. He won the NCAA hockey championship at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, then stayed at RPI as a member of the coaching staff. At the same time, he earned his Masters in Performance Psychology.
After school, Mike entered the sales realm, and over the years he has sold everything, from class rings to competitive research. And he’s held every role, from individual contributor to VP, SVP and EVP. Today, Mike is a sought-after speaker, mentor and coach through his consulting practice, edgeThink (www.whatisyouredge.com).
Yesterday’s conversation was called “Thrive in Q4” and it was framed around what sales leaders can do right now to impact 2014 revenues. We covered too much to recap, so here are just two big ideas I think are worth highlighting.
Q4 Pressure Vectors
Mike deconstructed that pressure that creeps up in Q4, breaking it down along four key vectors where pressure builds — the pipeline, the forecast, the quota, and the W2. All of that bubbles up to the overarching pressure around job security.
What is the effect of rising pressure? Well, think of it as a pipe that is constricting. Your brain actually begins to behave differently, explained Mike. In high-pressure contexts, people have a tendency to rely on intellectual shortcuts, or what Mike calls “thinking traps”. He spelled out eight of them for us, things like Tunnel Vision, where reps start to see only the negative aspects of a situation. Or Mind Reading, where the rep unwittingly begins to invent the details of what the buyer is thinking, creating a false basis for their next actions.
The takeaway here is two-fold. First, you need to recognize how real the pressure is for your reps, and where it’s coming from. Why? Because that helps you watch for the patterns that will probably start to play out. And understanding those patterns gives you the ability to help your reps rise above their thinking traps and all the misleading, counter-productive emotions that go with them.
Fixed Mindset or Growth Mindset?
This is less of a Q4 comment and more of a framework for thinking about the connection between emotion and achievement more broadly. Mike referenced a concept from the work of Stanford professor Dr. Carol Dweck, author of the book Mindset (video). In short, the idea is that we are either Failure Avoiders or Success Seekers, and the distinction comes down to mindset. Failure Avoiders have a rigid or fixed mindset. They believe they know what they need to know, full stop. Success Seekers have a growth mindset. They have high self-confidence, but they also believe they can become better at what they do — and they actively look for learnings to help them do that.
For sales leaders, this idea offers another lens for looking at your team and identifying how to help them succeed. The mindset lens helps you identify what’s going on internally in those situations, and it connects you with a resource — Dr. Dweck’s book — that you can explore more deeply.
Also, since my company advocates a new behavior — one-to-one video messaging — for our clients, I see this mindset lens as valuable relative to identifying our most likely buyers. After all, fixed mindset “failure avoiders” are very unlikely to take on the risk that comes with being an internal champion for a new tool, even one as powerful and impactful as Vsnap.
Let’s Do It Again!
The people who sat at our table yesterday are Success Seekers. They are growth mindset people. They want to learn and they want lead their teams, whether by authority or by example, to bigger and better outcomes. Personally, I love to be around people like that. As Mike said at the start of his talk, emotions are contagious!
So we’re going to do this again — we’ll host another conversation on the same topic, right after Labor Day. Because we’re going to keep it small, we will ask you to fill out this form if you’d like to participate. We just want to be sure we’re involving people who are committed to participating with that all-important spirit of learning and enthusiasm, and the desire to put new ideas into action and capture the benefits.
By Trish Fontanilla, VP of Community & Customer Experience at Vsnap
Last week I had the opportunity to go to the #satechBos UnConference at Simmons College. As some people know, my past life was in higher education, first at Emerson College and then at Berklee College of Music. So I jump at opportunities to combine my love of video and the higher ed community whenever I get a chance.
If you’ve ever been to an unconference, you know that the energy is palpable. It’s great to see people jump in to suggest or lead sessions to help their edu peers be more successful at what they do. And while I didn’t get a chance to attend both days, I still had a few key takeaways from the event.
Stop dreaming big, start acting big.
Ed Cabellon of Bridgewater State University challenged the audience in his keynote: “What have you set into motion thanks to last year’s conference?” Most people admitted that not much had changed. But it’s not just this audience, this reaction is quite common. You go to a conference, get incredibly inspired, and head back to the office talking about how moved you are instead of putting together a set of action items that make the conference more applicable to your team. And not only do you have to take time to figure out how to apply it to your work, you need to figure out how to communicate that set of actions to your internal audiences. Ed’s suggestion is to lose the boring Powerpoint explanations and make the information more visual with the help of some resources like Nancy Duarte’s slide:ology and Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen.
Stop asking for permission.
Another point that’s applicable to all organizations. Sometimes the instinct is to immediately pitch an app or program to the whole department. Instead, focus on small scale implementation before bringing it up the ladder. So if it’s a new Facebook app, don’t play around with your institution’s main feed, experiment with a specific program’s feed instead. And whatever you do, don’t go into a decision-maker’s meeting empty-handed. Make sure you’re measuring all your initiatives and how they relate to your students. Talk about data instead of only sentiments. I’d even suggest asking the app / program maker for help too. Most companies are more than happy to help you sell to your organization, and may even have a Convince Your Boss doc.
At the end of the day, for folks in education, if the student is at the center of the project, no one can fault you for trying something new.
Know the difference between non-literacy, literacy and fluency.
It’s important to realize what people bring to the table. Just because a colleague has never been on Twitter doesn’t mean she can’t be good at it with a little training. And just because a student has a Twitter account doesn’t mean he’s trained to manage a brand. Take time to train your team and help them understand the underpinnings of why you’re doing what you do, not just how to use a product. Another one of Ed’s suggestions is to measure how your trainings are going, so be sure to test their aptitude before and after the training.
I want to say thanks to Thomas Kelley for allowing us to partner with the SATechBos unconference, Eric Clark for the introduction, and to all the hard-working professionals in this community that showed up and shared all of their learnings!
For those of you interested in using Vsnap in education, we’ve actually got a case study coming out soon. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send it over when it comes out.
For other recaps of #satechBOS, check out:
Paul Gordon - #satechBOS Day 1 Twitter Recap
Paul Gordon - #satechBOS Day 2 Twitter Recap
Ask five people what they mean by “social selling” and you’ll get twelve different answers. At Vsnap, it’s not just a buzzword, it’s a series of specific tactics that our team practices daily. Generally we break down social selling in three parts: listen, create and engage. Each step influences the one that follows. And when executed properly, they help salespeople build relationships that turn prospects into buyers.
A salesperson is first and foremost a good listener. It’s the most effective way to personalize your engagement with prospects and start building a relationship. The challenge, however, is to hear clearly amidst all the noise inherent on social media. On Twitter, you can remedy this issue by creating lists of your prospects to quickly check on their activity. On LinkedIn, you can filter your connections’ most interesting updates by clicking the All Updates button on the top right corner of your feed and changing it to Recent or Shares.
Other tools to consider: check out HootSuite or Tweetdeck to easily visualize multiple social media feeds/lists. Google Alerts is also great to keep track of specific keywords related to you, your prospects or competitors.
Now that you’ve got your ear to the ground, use the information you’ve gathered to create content. That’s how you’ll establish your reputation with your tribe. Obviously, blog posts are the most substantive but they can be a time sink. A good alternative is to answer questions from your community on Quora — it’s amazing how often major influencers do so. The easiest way to contribute is probably Twitter. Even 15-20 minutes each day will go a long way to let others know what you believe in, whether you’re tweeting your own thoughts or sharing articles by others.
Other tools to consider: HubSpot is great to centralize your content writing. Medium and Tumblr are effective for shorter or visual-heavy content, respectively.
You know the word around the campfire. You’ve created content. Now’s the time to engage prospects directly. LinkedIn direct messages can be a good alternative to email since they won’t get buried in an inbox. In our case, we reach out via Vsnap. It works. It’s personal, concise and grabs people’s attention in a way that email simply can’t. But no matter which outbound medium you use, the most important thing is to track that activity through your CRM. This is especially important for larger sales organizations. To that end we use ecquire, which automatically creates records in SFDC for any LinkedIn or Twitter contacts.
Other tools to consider: Buffer can help optimize your social media engagement by scheduling shares during the most productive times of the day.
Over to you Vsnappers — how do you define social selling? Are there any other tools you’d throw into the mix? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or drop us a note on Twitter @Vsnap!
Read more on the Vsnap Blog:
Author Bio: Rachel Miller is Chief Listener at Pipeliner CRM. Pipeliner is a fresh take on CRM — using insight-driven visuals to empower salespeople, focus sales teams, and drive more business. Follow her adventures on Twitter: @rachelloumiller
There are three very important components of successful social selling: Discipline, Listening, and Engagement. Noisy platforms and busy schedules make augmenting the traditional tasks of a salesperson with social activities difficult, but with the right tools at hand you can identify, engage, and nurture prospects online. I love talking about my favorite tools, and today I am excited to share some of my must-have business applications for social selling success.
Bundlepost: Sharing great content builds relationships
Personal branding and thought leadership are an integral piece of your social selling strategy. Admittedly, content curation is one of the hardest tasks on a salesperson’s to-do list. To stay top-of-mind and to add value to your network and prospects, it is important to stay aware of industry trends, hot news articles, and actionable advice. But where do you find all this great content? Answer: Bundlepost.
Bundlepost makes content curation and sharing easy. It’s quite literally a three-step process. One, add the RSS feeds from your favorite blogs, online publications, and other news sources into Bundlepost. Two, select posts to share with your network. Three, export a .csv file to upload into your favorite content sharing application.
I was an early adopter of Bundlepost and now my account boasts several hundred RSS feeds. What used to take me hours weekly now takes minutes. My absolute favorite thing? Bundlepost automatically appends tweets with the author’s Twitter handle and turns words into hashtags with the click of a button. What’s not to love? Content game over!
HootSuite: Listening and engaging creates revenue
Once you have your content sharing schedule under control, it’s time to focus on social listening and identifying prospects who are sending out buying signals. What is the most effective way to do this? Answer: HootSuite. While you can most definitely type search terms and hashtags into Twitter and view the results a couple times a day, I highly recommend investing time in a social media management tool like HootSuite.
By design, HootSuite makes social listening and engagement painless. The multi-tab, multi-column display makes digesting massive amounts of data manageable. At a glance you can view the latest tweets for any hashtag and search terms that matter to you, see the most recent posts in your favorite LinkedIn groups, manage your Google+ business page, and more. HootSuite is a dynamic tool that ensures that the social activity that matters to you will not go by unnoticed.
I heard this saying a couple months ago, “It’s not about the wand - it’s about the wizard.” This holds true for HootSuite and other applications like it. Whichever social media management tool you choose to use, absolutely make sure you dedicate the time to mastering it and using it to its fullest capacity.
Vsnap: Personalizing your messages brings the human back to business
So, you’re sharing great content. You’re identifying prospects and engaging in meaningful conversations. But how do you make sure that you’re memorable? Answer: Vsnap. Take that feeling you get when someone sends you a handwritten note and amplify it by ten with a personalized video message. Boom! You’ve just made someone smile.
Engaging with prospects and customers online can at times appear sterile. With Vsnap, you avoid that challenge. When you create your 60-second personal video message, you are telling the recipient something — and that is “you’re important to me”. You can use Vsnap online or by pointing your phone at yourself, pushing a button, and sending the video. It could hardly be simpler — or more powerful.
These social selling applications are just three of many great choices available today. The fact that there are so many tools to help us socially engage is proof that there is a new business model — one that uses the best of technology combined with the power of human connection to drive a company’s success.
Read more on the Vsnap Blog:
Trish Fontanilla, VP of Community & Customer Experience at Vsnap
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