In August, Mario Martinez Jr. was interviewed by Tavis Bucklin for Business Innovators Magazine. Tavis explored Mario’s extensive sales background, including what led him to build M3Jr Growth Strategies and his thoughts on how the sales industry has changed over the years. Travis mentioned that Mario has been called “The Wayne Gretzky of Social Selling,” and asked him to articulate the most common mistake made in social selling today.

Q: Mario, can you tell me a little about your background in sales and what led you to form M3Jr Growth Strategies?

A: I was born and raised in sales. This includes 18 years in sales and sales leadership, but it doesn’t include my jobs as a retail sales associate. I started out in software sales and moved into consulting sales, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), telecom, and my last stop was in SaaS—a span of five industries.

I have managed organizations as large as $300 million in revenue, and during my 18 years in sales and sales leadership, 15 of those years have been in either the 100%+ Club or President’s Club. It’s been an exciting sales career.

My company, M3Jr Growth Strategies, was formed just after I left my last position as vice president of sales for a SaaS company. The idea started during a conversation with my 5-year-old son who asked me to take him to school. When I said yes, he did not believe it, because I typically could not take him. Naturally, he wanted to know why I said yes. I told him I was no longer working with my last organization. He then asked me if this meant he would lose his backyard playground since I had told him before that I had to go to work to pay for it. I couldn’t help but laugh. He asked, “What are you going to do next?” I explained I didn’t know, and I was looking for the next great thing. He suggested that I go to work for ‘IN.’ I said, “I don’t know what you mean, what’s IN?” So he ran into his room and came out with a black baseball cap that had an‘IN’ logo on it for LinkedIn. He said, “Why don’t you work for them? You said they help you make money because they help you find people.” My son totally understood the concept of personal branding and how to leverage LinkedIn Premium.

I posted the conversation on January 5, 2016. Within a week, I received a LinkedIn InMail from the Vice President of Worldwide Sales Operations and then a phone call from the Head of America’s Marketing—both Fortune 100 companies. In addition, I had been in conversation with a CEO who reached out to me directly from another Fortune 100 company. By the end of January, I received two signed statements of work to help with the launch of a digital transformation or social selling training program. I then turned to my wife and said, “Well, I guess we better form a company.” M3Jr Growth Strategies was born and formed on February 12, 2016.

These series of events occurred because I was asked to be a keynote breakout speaker for LinkedIn’s Annual Users Conference in October2015. During the conference, I showcased how I launched a successful corporate social selling training program for a SaaS company.

Q: How has the sales industry changed over the years?

A: If we reflect on the last two years, the sales industry has completely changed due to today’s modern buyer. Today’s modern buyer is social and mobile-enabled. They have access to information like never before, which almost eliminates the need to engage with salespeople during the buyer’s research phase. In addition, sales leadership has traditionally managed salespeople via the sales productivity model. Meaning, how many cold calls did you make? How many emails did you send? In the past, there was a direct correlation between the number of cold calls you made and emails you sent to the amount of opportunity and amount you would close. Essentially, activity equaled opportunity development.

Today, that is still partially true. Our buyers have changed as a result of being digitally and socially empowered, but most sales leaders and sales organizations have not. How we help the customer, how the customer wants to engage, and how we engage with the customer has changed in a large way. Yet again, most sales leaders and sales organizations have not. So, we as a sales community have to think, how can we connect with the modern buyer in a way that they want to engage?

One of those avenues available to connect salespeople with buyers are social networks. We used to engage customers face-to-face, but now we work from home or also known as a remote selling rep. The challenge is building a relationship when often times you cannot see your customer face-to-face. When you do meet with a client, you may not be meeting them in their office rather in a borrowed conference room or a local coffee shop.

So, in this virtual selling environment, we miss the personal interaction that allows a relationship to develop. This is where social media comes in to fill the gaps and facilitate a personal connection that helps our buyers. Helping in turn, leads to building trust, building trust leads to opportunity and revenue. In fact, one of the areas I teach in our social selling training program is the importance and significance of humanizing the connection experience. There is a specific art to it and it requires that salespeople learn to be vulnerable and stand out from their competition. I’m continually sharing valuable tips and insights in the Vengreso newsletter.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Socialmedia helps #sales people to humanize the connection experience. #SocialSelling @M_3jr” quote=”#Socialmedia helps #sales people to humanize the connection experience. #SocialSelling @M_3jr”]

Q: What is the most common problem you see sales professionals make when it comes to social selling and what’s the solution?

A: I see two big challenges. First, sales professionals think social selling is using LinkedIn to do research —wrong! That is only one of the five major pillars that is part of social selling. B2B social selling through Twitter and YouTube or social video is as important as LinkedIn.

The second biggest problem is misusing LinkedIn’s messaging feature, InMail. Many are using it as a way to get inside someone’s email with generic, impersonal messages being sent to a prospect’s inbox. You will wear your buyer out, you will turn your buyer off, and your buyer will delete your message, just like they delete your email when you engage that way. The problem is a lack of personalization and using InMail as a channel to get one more opportunity into their inbox. Whether you are making a cold call or sending InMail, salespeople need to ensure they are looking for opportunities to help, not pitch!

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Sales people need to find ways to help, not pitch! #SocialSelling #BizSales @M_3jr” quote=”#Sales people need to find ways to help, not pitch! #SocialSelling #BizSales @M_3jr”]

So what is the solution? Sales leaders, marketing leaders, and enablement leaders need to look at developing a holistic strategy of how to educate, train, and adopt social selling within their sales enterprise. I’m not just talking about product training on how to use social selling tools. I’m speaking of focusing on social selling technique. It starts with teaching them how to properly brand themselves so they can map their social profiles with the buyer’s journey. That’s a very difficult thing to do because we have never had to socially brand ourselves. We’ve never branded ourselves externally before the sales process started. This has all changed now.

The true challenge is found in creating a social profile that attracts the modern buyer and connects with them on social media in a genuine, personalized way. At Vengreso that is what we help companies do, and that is what we train their sale reps to do. We are a premier provider of full-service, social selling training and lead development, catering exclusively to sales and marketing professionals. Companies and individuals hire us as we set ourselves apart as the only company of our type that starts with recreating a salesperson’s social brand to attract today’s modern buyer with a search engine optimized LinkedIn profile. Through a LinkedIn profile transformation, the seller creates a connection that fosters a relationship with the buyer and shows the buyer who and how you help. Then, we assist with the development of the organization’s social selling strategy and teach end-users how to engage, connect, and feed their prospective buyers through corporate social selling training and workshops. We also support small businesses and individuals through our customizable private coaching and social media management services.

Q: How can someone with a busy schedule find time to leverage social on top of the daily sales tasks they are currently employing?

A: First, I would like to reframe the question. Sales reps and leaders should not be thinking, “How can I create more time in my very busy schedule?” A better question is, “What are the activities that are producing fruitless results?” You need to eliminate those and adopt strategies that produce better results.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Sales needs to Eliminate activities producing fruitless results! Then adopt #SocialSelling. #SMM @M_3jr” quote=”#Sales needs to Eliminate activities producing fruitless results! Then adopt #SocialSelling. #SMM @M_3jr”]

Essentially, what you do today to prospect is the exact same thing that you should do tomorrow, but start leveraging social selling to engage with buyers who are there and willing to engage through social channels. You are replacing the non-productive sales time with potentially more productive social selling time.

Q: What are some things that are supposed to help with social selling, but can actually do more harm than good?

A: As I mentioned earlier, I think one of the biggest mistakes is generic pitches and strategies with no personalization. For example, I recommend that my clients use InMail as a last resort. When used correctly, you can get a 20 to 50 percent response rate. But if you use it like a generic email, your customer can tell that it has not been personally written for them. That could actually hurt you.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The biggest mistakes #Salesreps make on #Social is not personalizing communication! #SocialSelling @M_3jr” quote=”The biggest mistakes #Salesreps make on #Social is not personalizing communication! #SocialSelling @M_3jr”]

Your LinkedIn profile is another often-overlooked sore spot. Most people have it set up as a representation of their expertise for a job-related search. However, if you already have a job and your profile reads like a resume, it can absolutely do more harm than good. You will lose your buyer on the first click into your profile because you are ignoring the opportunity to build your brand.

For a job search, your profile is all about you. Recruiters care about that, but your buyers don’t. Buyers care about what business problem you can solve for them and have you done it before. Finally, they want to know a little more about who you are. You have to make sure your personal and professional social brand, is mapped to the buyer’s journey in order to attract them.

Q: What are the top two questions your clients ask?

A: The first question is: What is your definition of social selling? Social selling is old enough that sales leaders and reps know the term, but new enough that they do not understand the technologies and techniques behind it.  So what is the definition?  Social Selling is leveraging social networks to help a salesperson establish a personal and professional brand, understand their prospects, allow them to relate, and build a relationship that ultimately helps drive sales.

The second question is: How do you prove an ROI? People go straight into the concept of ROI for social selling. You wouldn’t ask that question about cold calls because you consider that to be everyday sales prospecting. Social Selling is a third methodology you just do and add it to cold calls and emails as part of the trifecta of sales prospecting approach. You use all three: social selling, emailing, and cold calling. You want to turn cold calls into lukewarm calls by doing research on both the company and buyer to understand how you can “help” them, instead of “sell” to them.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Top two Questions on the board by #SalesLeaders re: #SocialSelling – #Survey Says! #Sales #SMM @M_3jr” quote=”Top two Questions on the board by #SalesLeaders re: #SocialSelling – #Survey Says! #Sales #SMM @M_3jr”]

Often, people ask about ROI because they do not understand what it social selling and how it should be part of a sales reps every day prospecting routine.  The ROI for investing in social selling training should not be considered a very big deal; because, it’s simply an alternative way to build a relationship, connect to your prospect, fill the funnel and build your personal or professional brand.Similarly, you wouldn’t ask should I invest in training to teach my reps how to connect with a sales prospect over the phone.  You do it because you know you have to do it.

Q: Let’s wrap this up. What is the one thing that a person can do right now to get started making positive changes in their sales strategy?

A: The one thing you can do right now and absolutely must do first is, go to and click on LinkedIn Profile Transformation. Let us help you transform a professional brand that maps to your buyer’s journey. You’ll need a strong personal brand because no matter how you initially engage with a potential buyer, they will do a LinkedIn or Google search to learn more about you and how you might be able to help.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Step 1 to #SocialSelling is get a #LinkedInProfileMakeover by @M_3jr #Sales” quote=”Step 1 to #SocialSelling is get a #LinkedInProfileMakeover by @M_3jr #Sales”]

For the LinkedIn profile makeover, our professional writers will interview you and we will help you map out a profile that speaks to your buyer’s journey. Then, you can continue using your LinkedIn profile as a lead magnet and learn social selling via our private or corporate social selling training programs.

Subscribe to the Vengreso newsletter to receive the latest Sales and Social Selling tips and tricks!

A version of this article originally appeared here first.

Tavis BucklinAbout The Author
Tavis Bucklin is a #1 Best-selling author, and contributing writer for CNN, Small Business Trendsetters, and Huffington Post. His work has been published in ABC, NBC, FOX and Forbes Magazine among other outlets. He helps professionals tell their story while showcasing their expertise, lending credibility, and instilling trust in the their marketplace.
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