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The 5 Pillars of Social Selling to Re-Energize Your Pipeline w/ Tim Hughes [Episode 157]

Tim Hughes, one of the world’s leading experts in social selling, is the founder of Social Selling Lounge, author of Hacking the Buying Process and co-author of a new book you can pre-order called Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers.

In today’s episode, I talk with Tim about the five pillars to success.

Bullet Points

  • What are the best processes to use for moving through the funnel?
  • What is social selling and why is it so misunderstood?
  • What are the five pillars of social selling?
  • How to use LinkedIn properly.
  • What is the biggest mistake sales make when it comes to social selling?
  • The importance of sales and marketing is working together.
  • What does marketing automation mean?

The whole process of sales is hard, developing new business and moving prospects through the funnel. There is a lot of controversy around what are the best methods to use – proactive outbound, inbound, cold calling and social selling. Most things in life are not about doing one thing or another; you need to sort through the noise to find the right strategy to connect with decision makers.

Social selling is misunderstood. There are a lot of people out there that think it is just LinkedIn and Twitter. We are living in the digital era which requires changing behaviors, cultures, and strategy. Social selling is a way to move offline life to online; even if it is being misused, it is still embedded in the modern sales process.

There are 5 pillars of social selling: LinkedIn, Social Media Listening, Influencer Marketing, Collaboration, and Marketing Automation.

  • LinkedIn is all about personal branding. Customers are more engaged and know more about the products and services you provide. Your profile needs to be buyer-centric by providing content that makes people curious and want to consume content further. Personal branding is not about touting your accomplishments; it’s about triggering curiosity on the part of the buyer. Don’t just pump out corporate stuff – you are trying to build personal trust.
  • Social Media Listening – the first step is listening to your customers and prospects before sharing anything. Salespeople need to seek out the people that work at the organization, not just the company website. There are individuals in businesses that aren’t high up in the organization who don’t have the rank but have the element of authority. Senior people in companies don’t make the decisions; they listen to and confirm the recommendation of individuals down lower in the organization.
  • Influencer Marketing is about building a network and creating an influence map to find certain influences going on in social media. Salespeople need to throw a wider net to see what affects their prospects.
  • Collaboration is essential to marketing and sales – they don’t understand each other. In the digital world, they both have to work together and have a common form of technology.
  • Marketing Automation is a sales tool that should be used for the clients that aren’t going to close their deals within three to six months; freeing up time for salespeople to be in front of the customers that are currently closing.

Implementing one of these is fine, but companies need to use all of these throughout the entire funnel. However, you still can’t forget to use these pillars in conjunction with the phone and email.

Learn More About Tim Hughes:

What’s your most powerful sales asset?

Rapport building

Who’s your sales role model?

Miller Heiman & Jim Holden Sales Methodology

Tony Hughes and Jack Kruske

Name one book that every sales person should read.

The Connected Customer: The Changing Nature of Consumer and Business Markets by Stefan H.K. Whets, Marnik G. Dekimpe, Els Gijsbrechts, and F.G.M. (Rik) Pieters

What’s your favorite music to get you pumped up?

David Bowe, Led Zeppelin, and Thin Lizzy (All on Vinyl)

What’s the first sales activity you do every day?

Checking my Social Media

What’s the most frequently asked question you get asked by salespeople?

What’s the ROI of Social Selling?

What’s one tool you use for you now sales management that you can’t live without?

Social Media