As a Sales Development Manager in the SAP SuccessFactors, James Kelley leads a team of sales development reps (SDRs) whose main objective is to help account executives get their first meetings. While his team uses phone and email, increasingly they’ve been using social selling — and especially LinkedIn — to get the attention of the right people to get their foot in the door.
The Evolution of Social Selling
When Kelley started at SAP, way back in the dark ages in the spring of 2016, he almost exclusively used phone and email to generate new business, and had plenty of success. But more and more he found that while people knew about SAP, they had a number of misconceptions about the services the company offered.
Those misconceptions led him to start using LinkedIn as a way to:
- Share content related to his market
- Share SAP and SuccessFactors offerings and options
- Focus on what his prospects and connections were saying
Quickly, Kelley found that this strategy created more visibility for him as a thought leader, but also greatly increased the knowledge about SuccessFactors in his market and improved his success rate.Be a Go-To market resource by sharing relevant content to your network #SocialSelling @KurtShaverClick To Tweet
Implementing Social Selling Techniques as a Manager
Once James found social selling methods that worked, he was able to share these techniques with his team. One of the biggest challenges they face is that they have markets around the world that all speak different languages and they need to find content for each of these languages.
To overcome this obstacle, Kelley encourages his team to engage and follow their key accounts and prospects so they can find out what is top of mind for them. Then, they replicate content in the language those prospects use in order to gain more interest. This allows his team to be more appealing in each of the different markets as a brand, but also as problem-solvers.
Each member of his team has a LinkedIn Sales Navigator license, which is a great tool to filter all the noise from the main news feed and to only focus on the people and accounts they’re interested in. They also use Sales Navigator to continue following customers after they’ve made the sale. What they’ve found is that when someone leaves a customer and goes to a new company, they potentially have a good advocate in someone who has already worked with SAP and SuccessFactors.
But they also follow people who used to work at SAP and have gone on to another company. “SAP has a big network and invariably people are very happy to help former SAP colleagues when it comes to getting referrals or guidance on who best to speak with inside of an account,” Kelley said.
How to Use Social Selling on a Day-to-Day Basis
One of the main objections Kelley’s team gave him when he was trying to implement social selling techniques was the time it would take to build a successful personal brand by having enough content to share consistently.
Kelley solved this common problem by making social selling a part of his day and sharing that strategy with his team. For instance, each day Kelley:
- Spends ten minutes in the morning on what is top of mind in his LinkedIn feed
- Posts an article or web link or video during the day
- Spends five or ten minutes in the afternoon reading articles and commenting
This type of schedule allows him to focus on building awareness about SuccessFactors a little bit at a time as opposed to trying to carve out a couple of hours each day. It also solves the problem of worrying about whether he has enough content to push out. After all, he’s in sales and not in marketing or communications. He has a quota. By breaking these practices into small chunks, he’s achieved social selling success by making it a part of his regular workday, just like calling and emailing.
Achieve Social Selling Success Like SAP
SAP has spent the last couple of years pushing social selling techniques, and those in the company who have truly embraced it have a 60% higher sales quota attainment. Why?
James Kelley breaks it down into three pieces of advice:
- It’s not always about selling; it’s about building relationships and building a brand
- Keep your profile up to date
- Don’t just sell, but contribute; share thoughts and ideas, comment, and build your network
Watch Kurt Shaver’s full interview with James Kelley and learn how you and your team can benefit from implementing these social selling techniques.
Social Selling has become such a hot topic that the Coffee-Break with Game Changers podcast is dedicating an entire series to exploring its various facets and promoting best practices for salespeople. To listen to other shows in this series, visit the SAP Radio area of the SAP News Center.