How B2B Companies Can Use Social Selling to Build Relationships and Growth
Social selling is another one of those terms that is frequently heard in conversations and quite often misunderstood. On this week’s episode, we talk to Connor Dube (Director of Sales and Marketing, Active Blogs) about what social selling is or isn’t, and how marketers as well as salespeople can leverage this approach to build more meaningful relationships with potential customers online. Connor also elaborates on some common mistakes, shares his tips on how to engage customers and prospects through social media, and discusses how to utilize social selling to build thought leadership.
Topics discussed in this episode:
Christian Klepp, Connor Dube
Christian Klepp 00:00
Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for B2B marketers that helps you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry, and take your marketing to new heights. Each week, we talk to B2B marketing experts who share inspirational stories, discuss their thoughts and trending topics, and provide useful marketing tips and recommendations. And now, here’s your host and co-founder of EINBLICK Consulting, Christian Klepp.
All right, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast where you get your weekly dose of B2B marketing insights. This is your host Christian Klepp. And today, I am truly excited to welcome a guest into the show who is in so many ways, at least in my opinion, a B2B Marketers on a Mission, his mission, in fact, is twofold. One is to continuously improve the way that marketers use social selling properly, and to improve quality, save time and achieve better results. So Mr. Connor Dube, welcome to the show, sir.
Connor Dube 00:58
Yo, what’s going on, man? Appreciate you having me. I think you encapsulated that pretty well.
Christian Klepp 01:04
Yeah, I hope so. I mean, like, you know, based on our previous conversation, that’s pretty much what I gathered, you are on a mission to do. So I am truly thrilled to have you on the show. So let’s get this conversation started, man. Let’s have some fun.
Connor Dube 01:16
Yeah, sounds lovely. Absolutely. Where do you want to start, brother?
Christian Klepp 01:20
I mean, you know, Connor, you do a lot of things. But I believe one of the things that we talked about during the previous conversation, I’d like to zero in on that. Because let’s just face it, it’s on the topic of social selling. And if I’m going to be honest, a lot of people are using that term quite loosely. And some people are saying that they’re using it, but what it actually ends up becoming as a veiled sales pitch, right? So just for the benefit of the audience, help elaborate on what you believe social selling is, and most importantly, what it isn’t.
Connor Dube 01:54
Yeah, social selling is not sales or marketing, which is interesting. It’s kind of a misnomer. And I love using the term because you get two audiences, people either immediately tune in and focus or they go like, Oh, this again, social selling, right. So social selling is not sales or marketing. It’s really the marriage between the two, it’s really the bridge between the two as especially the pandemic has exacerbated this quite a bit. Sales and Marketing, really have to work in sync with one another, in order to make social selling work, which is simply I mean, think of the word social, social applies to social media, digital channels. And selling means you get sales out of it, but it doesn’t mean going to social media and selling people. It’s about being social. And there’s this weird conflict where a lot of folks have had basically the rug pulled from under them in terms of how they’ve done business in the past. So many, many may have put millions of dollars into tradeshows, conferences, traveling, flying, you know, their sales people all over the place to meet with prospects, what happens when you can’t do that anymore. Social selling, man, I mean, you got to be able to apply the same principles. If I went out, I was meeting people in person building relationships, turning that into business, how do I apply that to the digital world, and all of the tools that I have available to me from, you know, LinkedIn, email, text message, video messages, there’re so many different ways that this applies, versus just going to LinkedIn and sliding up in your prospects DMs and saying, hey, dude, do you want to buy from me?
Christian Klepp 03:44
Boom! I think you hit the nail right on the head there, man. And you’re absolutely right to say like, Look, there’s different mediums, right? social selling is not like, okay, you just use one channel. And that’s it. Right? So it could be one, several, or a combination of some of these, you know, these platforms that you mentioned, and I think it’s, and I think it’s also like, to your point, it sounds like it’s here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. It’s not like okay, when everything rolls back to what it was pre-pandemic, people are just gonna drop social selling, at least, I don’t think so.
Connor Dube 04:16
No, because if we live in a world where we’re doing interaction through virtual reality, and it feels like we’re literally sitting in this room together, that social selling still applies. People, whatever you want to call it digital selling or digital sales or social selling is all the shit’s the same man. I just like the term social selling because I’ve been using it aggressively for years. And I was talking about this and writing articles on this years ago before you’ve seen now the huge uptick in this conversation because I’ve actively been applying this so I think the nuances and you touched it is it’s not about like cold calling is dead because it’s not. Cold calling still works. So does cold emailing. So does social media. But the question is, are you thinking if you’re a salesperson listening to this, are you thinking like a marketer? In terms of, you know, how do I, number one reach people, which is the number one factor of social selling is I have to be able to reach enough of the right people that just applies in sales in general. Number two, how do I consistently stay in front of them. Reach and consistency, we live in the noisiest, busiest most distracted world ever. If you’re in sales, your impressions upon your prospects are big, you know, have to be more than ever before 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 touchpoints, sometimes before you get someone to buy from you, so you have to think like a marketer. That’s what social selling does. If you’re a marketer, you got to realize at some point, getting likes on posts, and getting comments on posts doesn’t mean if it’s not turning to sales. So that’s where they really have to be cohesive and marry one another and not be kind of siloed out. That’s what I love about social selling. Oh, and one thing I mentioned too, is that you touch I don’t know, if I brushed past this but it again, it… people get too hung up on the channel, I don’t care what the channel is, what I’m going for is omni presence, right? What every company, no matter what business, if you’re selling B2B, you should be identifying the ways that you can be in all places at all times and the minds, the, in the eyes and the ears of your target accounts.
Christian Klepp 06:47
That’s absolutely right. And I mean, like, you know, to your point, reach and consistency, I mean, is the name of the game. But, that was a perfect segue into my next question, and you’re gonna have a field day with this one, I can tell, the most common mistakes and misconceptions you’ve seen out there that B2B companies make when it comes to social selling, and what you think they should do to address these?
Connor Dube 07:13
They try to improve, they try to get everybody doing it, which always fails. Start with one key person on your team, make it successful, that’s going to be easy to have a framework to apply to the rest of your, you know, group. So I would say people fail, because they try to roll out social selling initiatives amongst everybody, you know, marketers are like, Dude, you know, they’re talking to their VP of Sales like, Dude, why aren’t you guys engaging with the content I put out? Why aren’t you sharing the posts? And they’re sitting over here like, well, it, we’re not even talking to our prospects about this. So like, why would we use this. So implementing and trying to roll out too quickly amongst everybody, but also not marrying the two departments together, you have to marry sales and marketing, if you’re going to do social selling effectively. And then I would say, third, sharing a bunch of random ass blog posts from the internet is not social selling. So people are like, Dude, I’ve been sharing all this content, social media, I’m not getting sales. Or I’ve been, you know, connecting with prospects on social media, and I’m not getting sales, right, there’s actually a framework that has to come together cohesively, because if you’re doing one thing or the other, you’re also going to fail, you’re gonna fail drastically, you have to have the right messaging on your social media profiles, that connects up with your website, with the other digital channels that you have available to your prospects, then you also have to connect, communicate with your prospects, you have to engage. Engagement is what brings the eyeballs to your messaging. But you can’t just do that and not have content, right? Videos, podcasts, articles, stuff that’s coming from you, your voice, your personality, your company’s, you know, kind of brand voice has to be coming from you not just sharing a bunch of, again, random posts into LinkedIn and being like, hey, why aren’t I just why aren’t, why aren’t sales just raining upon me right now? So you got to have the messaging, got to have the engagement and you got to have consistency in all three of those have to work in cohesion as well. Otherwise, another reason why I often see, you know, people fail at implementing social selling.
Christian Klepp 09:51
Yeah, absolutely, man. I mean, those are such great points that you brought up and there was one that jumped out at me like wow, and I think this is probably the third time that you’ve in the past couple of minutes, you’re talking about the marriage of or marrying sales and marketing, and how important that is in order to make social selling work. So let’s jam on that a little bit more, if we can, how do you think that should be done properly?
Connor Dube 10:14
Well, it depends on how your organization is set up. But I think it starts with sales people should every single, I’m sorry, every single person in marketing, whether you’re a two person marketing, and sales, you know, company, there’s two people in both departments, or there’s 100 people in both departments. Every marketer should be listening in to sales calls, attending meetings, and learning from sales people, um, marketers should also be held accountable for profit, for revenue growth. And that has to work in better cohesion and communication with sales, vice versa with sales, they need to communicate better with marketing, hey, these are the trends that we’re seeing on the front lines, these are the questions that prospects are asking us, these are the concerns that my recent customer had before he purchased from us. And then marketing needs to be turning that into content, which is currency for your social selling efforts, the content that you’re putting out. So sales and marketing teams, you find they don’t even meet with one another. If you can find a way to get together once a week, once a month, couple times a month, once a day, you know, however, works for you to get in alignment, but you can’t not be communicating with one another. And it seems so simple. But God dang, you’d be so surprised how many companies I talked to, and I go and I’m, you know, doing a consultation with the marketing team. I’m like, when’s the last time you guys did an interview with your sales team? Like when’s the last time you got your sales team together for a workshop? And had your salespeople all express and communicate with you? The different concerns, questions, pains, problems that their prospects are having?
Christian Klepp 12:12
And the answer was a long time ago in a galaxy far away. (laugh)
Connor Dube 12:16
Always, almost always, and it blows my mind.
Christian Klepp 12:19
Yeah. Yeah. No, but that’s that’s so true, though.
Connor Dube 12:22
I mean, such social selling aside, that’s just bad practice and marketing, because you wonder why the hell is the sales team in the company overall, not using the content that we’re creating, or the content that we’re putting out? And come to find out. That’s, that’s one of the big reasons is they don’t feel like it’s actually relevant.
Christian Klepp 12:40
Yeah. And it’s crazy. How much of this disconnect there still is, in these organizations, even sometimes, regardless of the size, right?
Connor Dube 12:46
The bigger the size, oftentimes the worse it is.
Christian Klepp 12:49
Right. Right. Exactly. Exactly. You know how they’re always talking about, like, you know, drawing influences from B2C. So I guess if we’re thinking about social selling, what lessons do you think B2B marketers can take from B2C? Specifically, with regards to social media and apply that to social selling?
Connor Dube 13:07
Well, I think B2B and B2C are exactly the same, because at the end of the day, it’s human to human. The difference in the nuances are, it’s not a quick sale that someone’s going to buy, like, nobody is going to purchase your B2B product or service just directly from LinkedIn. Unless it’s like maybe a $20 product or service, right, but when I’m talking about social selling, and B2B, I’m talking about 50k, 100k, 7-8 figure deals. That’s pretty much the most of like our clients, they sell these massive deals, right? So at the end of the day, you’re selling to humans, so you have to be human, whether you’re selling consumer or you’re selling business to business, what I’ve seen, and this is from my own interviews that I’ve done through our podcast, is some of the most successful B2B marketers, right now, CMOs, directors and marketing marketing coordinators, they’re applying different principles of consumer marketing into their mix. So they’re treating a lot of the way they’re communicating and more fun in interesting ways. B2B marketing has been very traditionally dry, and boring. And so I’ll give an example, if you look at some of the articles I put out, I don’t put a dry standard. Um, you know, like a stock photo, I use these really funny gif’s and humor, and a lot of the content that I put out, and articles that I write, and that’s a big pivot I’m seeing is treating, you know, your marketing like it’s a consumer brand, but realizing that you’re also selling to 5, 10, 15 different people in leadership. There’s long sales cycle. Social selling doesn’t mean you’re going to go out to LinkedIn and someone just gonna buy your product or service off of LinkedIn, you still need to consult, you still need to uncover problems, the pains present the gains, and, you know, go through a traditional B2B sales process. But the acquisition of that conversation is definitely changing.
Christian Klepp 15:24
Absolutely, man. And I gotta say, at least from the content, your content that you put out that I’ve read, boring is not one of the things that comes to mind. I’m gonna say that.
Connor Dube 15:33
Christian Klepp 15:34
And to another point, and I’d like to get your thoughts on that, you know, you just made me think about something because, you know, you see a lot of this chatter in the grapevine. So whether it’s on LinkedIn or other channels, that people are saying, oh, you got to keep the content short, because people’s attention spans are, you know, they’re not that long anymore. And whereas I’m of the opinion that if the content is interesting, relevant and helps them, then it could be, it could be, in fact, a longer piece of content, so your thoughts on that?
Connor Dube 16:06
Well, yeah, I mean, long form content, short, short form, content is the precursor into long form content. So once you have someone’s attention, you can definitely keep their attention. I mean, think of a show that you binge recently, but you had to get your attention hooked within the first few minutes of that show. Otherwise, you probably would have just, you know, went watch something else. And then come to find out, you end up bingeing eight hour’s worth of XYZ Netflix show happens all the time. Same principle applies with your marketing. Now, what you need to realize is that you’re not marketing to logical human beings, no matter how smart, your potential customers, CTO, CIO, CSO, CEO, you name it, you’re not marketing to the logic in their brain, right? If you’re trying to get long form content down people who consume long form content, people consume with their primal brain, which is 500 million years old, your frontal cortex is only 3 to 4 million years old. So when people initially see your article, or see your video, or see your podcast, or see your graphic, or a logo that’s going to hook them in, to consume longer pieces of content, you have to realize that you have to visually appeal to that primal brain first and foremost, before anything, because we try too much to sell through text. On our website, we talk about what we do at the beginning versus what the pains and the problems are of your customer that you can highlight. If you notice the content that I put out, I never really talked about we, we, we, I, I, I me, me, me, I talk about you, you, you, you, you. And there’s a psychological reason behind that. Because people are selfish. People are selfish by nature. And that’s how they’re going to consume your content and look at potentially working with you.
Christian Klepp 18:14
And that is such a great answer. And I would say like, you know, to your point about like writing it, like where you’re directing it at that target audience, you know, the you you approach. I mean, at the end of the day, the kind of response that you want to elicit this like, hey, Connor is talking to me, Connor is talking about my problem, right? This is this is definitely relevant to my current situation, let’s have a conversation, right?
Connor Dube 18:36
Look at the most successful marketing campaigns Got Milk, right? It’s asking, do I have milk, you got milk. Just do it. Nike, and the list goes on and on or even just look at visual successful campaigns. This is from a scientific level not like just, you know, whoo. This is data and neuroscience that shows first off we try too much to sell and communicate with our buyers by trying to make sense and being logical. We, as human beings are not initially logical when we see something cross our eyeballs, our desk, our lizard brain is the first thing to consume and elicit action, right?
Christian Klepp 19:23
Yeah, that’s absolutely right.
Hey, it’s Christian Klepp here. We’ll get back to the episode in a second. But first, is your brand struggling to cut through the noise? Are you trying to find more effective ways to reach your target audience and boost sales? Are you trying to pivot your business? If so, book a call with EINBLICK Consulting, our experienced consultants will work with you to help your B2B business to succeed and scale. Go to www.einblick.co for more information.
That’s absolutely right. Hey, Connor, I’d like to get your thoughts on these statistics. So there’s an article that zoom info pulled out right and they dropped a lot of numbers, I’m gonna pull out three. Okay. So, point number one. And this is all with regards to social selling, by the way alright. So as part of the sales process, 73% of sales people use social selling to outperform their sales peers. Alright, point number two by using social selling techniques 79% of sales people achieve their quotas. Hmm. Point number three, for professionally relevant content 91% of executives, at least the ones that were interviewed by zoominfo, rated LinkedIn as their first choice. So here comes the question. And I and I believe you brought up some of the points already, in the first couple of minutes of this interview. Why do you think social selling has taken off? Like so suddenly? I mean, like you were… in the beginning of the conversation, you were saying something to the effect of you’ve been talking about this for years. But people haven’t really been using social selling for years? Not not many. Right? And how do you see this trend evolving? Like, where do you think it’s going to go from here?
Connor Dube 21:07
Well, I think eventually, we will be in virtual reality, meeting each other doing events communicating with each other, it’s going to feel real, it’s going to look real, but it’s going to allow you to reach people. But then the after effect, like if I go and meet somebody at a, let’s say, I’m still going out and meeting people in person, how do I take advantage of those connections versus anybody else who’s at the network networking event? I will connect with you on social media? What do you use most Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Cool, let’s connect there. And then I use content to maintain presence with them. So I think more people are going to catch on to this, I think, um, everyone being shut down from the pandemic has exacerbated and accelerated this. Because even a year ago, before, like in 2019, I was telling people, you need to build your personal brand. I know you’re selling manufacturing services, or logistics or telecom. Telecommunication deals to small businesses, right? I know, that’s what you’re doing. You need to build your personal brand, because how do you maintain presence, and engage and interact with your buyers when you’re not in front of them? Which if you’re not going to do, your competitors are more than happy to take up that whitespace for you. So in terms of trends, I think it’s just going to continue, I think the people who would say, Oh, my prospect isn’t on social media, which believe it or not, people are still saying that, which is ridiculous. Everyone’s on social media, whether it’s on email, form, or online platforms, or it’s LinkedIn or it’s Facebook, look at the numbers. I think people are going to catch up to that. And I think it’s just going to continue to accelerate from where it’s at right now.
Christian Klepp 23:07
Yeah, those are some great observations. And I love the one that you brought up about building personal brands. And I think there’s been so many reports that have come up about that. You know, about like people, especially moving forward that people are gonna, like, you know, follow personal brands as compared to like, following company brands, right.
Connor Dube 23:28
Big time. Look at what John, John Legere did with a was at AT&T, not AT&T, T-Mobile.
Christian Klepp 23:38
Connor Dube 23:38
He did like live streams every Sunday, slow cooker Sundays, and he did like cooking, and stuff like that. And that built his personal brand, exploded his personal brand, and also gave people a little more intimacy with the leadership and the company, and their sales went up. So, you know, from small company to large company, um, personal branding is, is the precursor to social selling.
Christian Klepp 24:03
Well, thanks for bringing that up. And, you know, let’s, let’s give our audience some practical advice when it comes to social selling. I mean, you’ve done some already, but like, just two things. Alright. So one thing that you think people should start, and one thing you think people should stop doing, when it comes to social selling.
Connor Dube 24:16
One thing you should do is, start, like, that’s my start. You have to… there’s no perfect formula, you’re gonna have kind of find your strides along the way. But you have to start taking action today. So get started on it ASAP. And then, what was the second part of the question was stop doing. So stop overthinking it, stop thinking that engaging online and engaging with your prospect, whether it’s on a call or on email, stop thinking it has to be dramatically different than if you’re meeting somebody in person. And stop thinking that you have to give it all, all the information all your product benefits and, and features and everything of what you’re doing. People don’t, from a scientific level, consume information that way. In fact, you’re having the opposite effect. You’re, you’re you’re making people run away from you.
Christian Klepp 25:19
Pushing them away. Yeah, no, no, that’s some great advice. Hey, Connor, I really appreciate you coming on, you know, having this conversation with me. Just, you know, tell us a little bit about yourself and how people can best you know get in touch with you?
Connor Dube 25:31
Super grateful for that man and sorry for the time miscommunication but I’m guaranteeing somebody’s got some value out of this little golden nugget. So for those of you listening I very much appreciate it. I’m on every social media platform out there. Been an entrepreneur since ages seven I’ve done multiple eight figures and deals. I’m a young dude, but I’m really a practitioner. So if you want to learn how to apply these things and how I’m doing it, just give me a follow. Like even if you’re following me on social media, I have a framework that I’ve put together over 10 years that I’ve been implementing for 10 years that you can swipe, so you can find me on Google social media anywhere “connordube” and look forward to hearing from you guys.
Christian Klepp 26:23
Fantastic. Connor, this has been an amazing session. So thanks so much for your time. Take care.
Connor Dube 26:28
Christian Klepp 26:29
Virtual fire or fist bump. (laugh)
Connor Dube 26:32
Or virtual fist bump or I’ve done that before and punch my camera on the face. So now I’m like…
Christian Klepp 26:37
Let’s not do that. (laugh)
Connor Dube 26:39
I get as close as humanly I can.
Christian Klepp 26:41
Alright man, take care and I’ll talk to you soon.
Connor Dube 26:43
I very much appreciate it brother. We’ll chat again here soon.
Christian Klepp 26:47
Thank you for joining us on this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. To learn more about what we do here at EINBLICK, please visit our website at www.einblick.co, and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.
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