I try to watch and emulate others and you probably do the same. There is a lot of confusion, particularly with B2B, regarding how to implement social selling. Our hope is that these folks will inspire those of you are still on the fence and our goal is to share with you some of the best proven selling practices that you might wish to emulate!
Today we are joined by Babette Ten Haken of Sale Aerobics for Engineers. Babette takes the mystery out of social selling by consistently demonstrating key elements including …
- A desire to share, educate, and to promote others
Could you please tell our readers a little about you?
I’m holistic by nature and scientific by training (evolutionary genetics, physical anthropology, history and philosophy of science, music). I’m curious about the small stuff that explains how things work and the big stuff, the context, process, technique and artistry behind each situation.
How about telling them a little bit about your business?
My company is called Sales Aerobics for Engineers®. That name makes your brain go to the right side and then to the left side, doesn’t it? Good! I’m a business catalyst. I’m known for asking questions that help decision makers make the tough calls leading to breakthrough performance. As a master facilitator and corporate strategist, I write, speak, consult and coach about how cross-functional team collaboration revolutionizes the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) value chain for customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention. My programs draw from my background as a scientist, sales professional, enterprise-level facilitator, Six Sigma Green Belt and certified DFSS Voice of the Customer practitioner. I connect the dots between leadership, human resources, sales and operations strategy to develop a data-driven, team-based workforce committed to creating enduring business outcomes on behalf of clients.
How did you get started in selling and when did you begin adding social selling to your business?
After college, I landed a job as a product specialist. I traveled around the country, working with local sales teams, assisting them in landing complex deals with manufacturing clients. I enjoyed the sales process, because I could combine what I learned as a scientist with my curiosity about how things worked. Selling is part of everyone’s job description, whether stated or not. I brought my “sales mindset” to every subsequent position I held in corporate America. Social selling was born on April 18, 2009, when I launched my award-winning Sales Aerobics for Engineers® Blog.
What are your social selling goals, objectives, and strategies?
As a scientist, I’m always curious about capturing the latest industry trends that influence my clients. What information best marries up with the needs of specific clients or market segments? Also, I read everything prior to sending a tweet or link. You see, the folks who follow me on social do so because they know I will weigh in on subject matter. They want to know “what I think” and “why.” That’s the reason they follow me, buy my book, read my blog posts, listen to my webinars and hire me to work with them. Otherwise, blindly RT-ing content becomes the social selling version of spraying and praying. If you are social selling professional, you have to passionately stand for something: a perspective, a mantra. Otherwise, you only generate more social noise. And there’s a lot of noise out there already.
Do you have regular routines?
I blog three times a week and RT or post each article on LinkedIn periodically over a four month, post publication period because all the universe’s eyes are not on social at the time of first publication. Folks who follow me know that I will talk about Customer Retention on Mondays, industrial Internet of Things workforce strategy and digital transformation on Wednesdays and sales operations, sales and engineering team synergies on Friday. Folks who follow me on Twitter also know I will tweet a number of different feeds from esteemed colleagues throughout each day. I view my Twitter feed like the stock market ticker tape that is streaming at the bottom of the screen during news shows. The same goes for posting knowledge on LinkedIn. People count on me as a credible source of information that is factual and true.
How do you integrate social selling with traditional selling methodologies?
I connect my social selling to various clients’ stages within the sales funnel. That’s my secret sauce. And to quote Forrest Gump: “That’s all I have to say about that.” 😉
How do you manage to stand out from the noise?
I have always had a unique voice in the sales universe. And I’ve been having the same translational conversation for over 25 years. It’s just that technology has finally caught up. That “technology” is called the industrial Internet of Things ecosystem (IIoT). We are all interconnected to people, processes, software and machines. The “conversations” we are having with those 4 components of the IIoT evolve the future of business and the workplace. How many holistic, design- and process-oriented, scientific / analytical types do you know who are capable of translating all the complex jargon and concepts into bite-size chunks digestible and actionable by business people? My clients tell me over and over that they’ve never heard anything like it.
Could you please share with us a few of your favorite social selling tools?
Hootsuite to align my social accounts and increase my productivity, Dlvr.it for the same reason, Twitter, LinkedIn, Dropbox, my iPhone News app since I begin each day by reading news stories, Google Analytics, WordPress for blogging, AWeber and Join.me.
How do you track your results?
My marketing folks get into the granular stuff with Google Analytics and other programs they use. We correlate with the timing and subject matter of posts, articles, interviews and compare with societal, business and industry trends. Finally, we compare with selling stage of clients and objectives of campaigns.
What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing salespeople as it pertains to social selling?
Look, my clients are busy. Often, they are too busy to even read my articles. They have tough issues that command their time each day. The last thing I want to do is pitch and sell to them, which makes me into the majority of everyone else out there who thinks they are “social selling.” I’m seeing far too much of “thank you for RT my post, let me demo my software to you and sell you my services.” Yikes! It’s like saying social “Hello” and the next thing I get is a marriage proposal! Give me a break! What’s the classiness in those actions? To stand out as a Salesperson of Worth, decide just what it is that you, yourself, stand for ethically, socially, professionally. Then make your social and selling actions fit your ethos, day in and day out.
What about their biggest mistake that salespeople make when trying to implement social selling?
Social selling is all about process and discipline and meshing your processes and discipline with who you are as a Salesperson of Worth. It’s about quality. Period. It is never about quantity, including quantity of Twitter followers, etc. Inconsistency and lack of discipline and discrimination in social selling can discredit your personal brand and the corporate brand you represent. Start on one social stream – the one where your customers dwell. Master it. Then move on to the next social stream and discover its voice, pace and cadence.
What is your “social selling superpower”?
I start the conversations that people don’t know they want to have with me until they read my blog post. 😉
How can our readers get in touch with you to learn more?
Blog: Sales Aerobics for Engineers® Blog, https://babettetenhaken.com/blog/
Please nominate somebody to answer these same questions!
I’d like to hear how Tom Pick works it!