Priscilla has a degree in Cultural Anthropology and her work is at the intersection of marketing, business and market research. She is curious about life, people, places, culture and the interconnectivity of it all. Intrigued by human behavior, she asks the hard questions while seeking to understand what makes people engage, why we buy what we buy and how we justify buying it.
In this episode:
- What is social selling and why it’s important
- Why it’s essential to focus on your humanity during social selling and how to do that
- Who is responsible for social selling within the company
- How to create the right content, in the proper format, and make it available for the audience.
- In what ways good company culture and talent management affects social selling
- What is the connection between brand advocacy and social selling.
- What should be the focus of social selling
- How to embark on social selling, and engage with potential customers
- What are the specific channels that B2B people should use for social selling
Quotes from the episode:
“What I like to remind people is what social selling is not, and it is not actually taking some of the same old school slimy salesy, always-be-closing-approaches and just moving them onto social. Instead, Social selling might use the technology of social media, but it is first and foremost human, it’s collaborative, and it’s connective.”
“Social selling understands that people are not out there having a linear experience in selling, that they go zigzag around, they need to know people and things build on each other in a far more organic way.”
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Big hello from Portland, Oregon. Welcome to another episode of B2B Marketing and More. I have a special treat for you today. So rather than listen to me talking, I invited a special guest to join us. Priscilla McKinney, founder of Little Bird Marketing and joining us from Galena, Kansas. Say hi to everybody.
Priscilla McKinney: So happy to be here, Pam.
Pam Didner: So there’s one thing before we get started, I want to have a chat with you. I love your LinkedIn title. It says Annoying Truth Teller Powered by My Husband’s Homemade Bread. So, you know, I don’t care about the truth-teller part (laughs). You know, I care about the homemade bread! So talk to us a little bit about your, I don’t know, your husband’s baking skills and what kind of bread does he share with you.
Priscilla McKinney: Well, see, this is where we’re already off to a great point about social selling, but we’re going to go back to bread because the reality is, is that nobody who knows me doesn’t know that my husband for the last 17 years has been a stay-at-home Dad, Homeschooled our kids, and does everything you could imagine for me (laughs).
You know, they say behind every woman is a great man and that’s all I have to say. (I usually say behind every woman is another bunch of her great women friends!) But in this case, you can’t know me without knowing that I have an unfair competitive advantage, and that is that my husband helps me with so much.
And then there’s just treats. He’s an amazing cook. You know, and his bread is just, uh, just above par. I grew up in Spain and lived in, around France and limited Germany. And let me just tell you, I think I’m a little bit of a snob, and he makes the most amazing French baguette. So I’m very sorry, and it doesn’t travel well. Otherwise, I would be giving it away.
Pam Didner: Wow. Okay. One day I have to go to Kansas to visit you. Just to try his bread.
Priscilla McKinney: You’d be most welcome!
Pam Didner: Excellent. Speaking of telling all the marketers about the truth for today, I want to talk about the topic you are incredibly passionate about, social selling. Yeah! So talk to us. What is your definition of social selling, and why is it important?
Priscilla McKinney: Well, I think there’s some age-old adage is like “people buy from people they know like and trust” and all these, like things, were like. You know, just cliches that we’ve used over and over again.
But sometimes, when I talk about social selling, I like to remind people what it’s not. It is not taking some of the same old school, slimy salesy, always-be-closing-approaches and just moving them onto social. Instead, Social selling might use social media technology, but it is first and foremost, you know, it’s human and collaborative and connective.
And at the very root of it, it is saying, “I am a person, first, and I’ll connect with you.” Now, I’m not saying that I have to sit and we have to know each other personally and be best friends. We can get right down to business, but I want my humanity to be the first thing that comes out. And I want someone to know something a little bit about me and how I see the world.
And the last thing I’ll say about that is, you know, I am who I am, whether I’m selling to you fire hydrants, or I’m selling marketing plans. I can’t help but be Priscilla and see things a certain way. And I want to explain to you if you’re going to enter into business with me or a professional relationship where we’re collaborating, or maybe I’m referring to you, or you’re referring to me. Socially, I want you to understand where I’m coming from and have a grasp of being able to talk with me as a human first and foremost,
Pam Didner: before digital, you know, the salespeople build relationships with their prospects or your potential customers first. So is something very similar to that, but we are doing that digitally? Is that how you see it?
Priscilla McKinney: That is, but I tell you one of the stats that should make everybody shutter is that we know at this point that the average buyer is now 57% of the way through their buyer’s journey before any salesperson ever knows about them before they come on the radar of a company, or a lead-generating system before they hit a top of the funnel, anything.
And so this kind of idea of like, there’s this streamline, you know, even the notion of a funnel was funny. But, you know, because as we all know, it zigzags all around, and we use these constructs to try and understand the journey as if it’s just this linear thing going on, but it’s not.
And social selling understands that people are not out there having a linear experience in selling, that they go zigzag around, they need to know people and things build on each other in a far more organic way. And so, if you come into things, knowing that, you actually can start building the foundations of social selling.
Pam Didner: With all that being said, typically, who is responsible for social selling within the company?
Priscilla McKinney: That is the best question to be asking. And I think the reality is that people think it’s one of two people: either the salesperson or the marketing person.
Pam Didner: No kidding! No kidding!
Priscilla McKinney: And then we have the WWF smackdown about which one it is. (laughs)
Pam Didner: (laughs) I know! “It’s your job.” “No, it’s my job!” “No, it isn’t your job!” “Oh, okay.” (laughs)
Priscilla McKinney: And then there’s the blame game. You know, sales say that marketing didn’t give them good leads. And marketing says that they give salespeople good stuff and they don’t close it. And then the thing just goes on and on. But I think the reality is that the job is far more complicated and far more open to many other players than people perceive.
Pam Didner: Yeah, I agree.
Priscilla McKinney: So this idea of this duality of sales versus marketing to me is kind of an old issue that needs to be put to bed because I think the job is everyone’s, and here’s another stat that should scare people to death. And that is that we know that people are reading 12 to 14 pieces of content, at a minimum, before they make a decision. My question is, to anybody who’s out there trying to sell, how many of the 12 to 14 pieces that they read belong to you and your brand?
Pam Didner: That’s a good question. That’s a very thought-provoking question, and we just need to be addressing the multiple different levels. Right? So when the content is being served, can people find it? Right? And is the content in the right format? There’s probably additional and thousands of questions that need to be addressed before we can answer that, but keep going.
Priscilla McKinney: Yeah. So what, you know, the old model is that it’s either sales or marketing. What social selling promotes and challenges is that same notion. It’s like, no, there is an overarching strategy for the brand, and it involves sales, marketing, and HR, and that’s in recruiting. It also involves HR in terms of employee advocacy. It also can employ customer care, customer experience. There are so many layers of social selling that needed to be happening. And so when we only put it towards sales and marketing, we’re saying that all we care about is revenue.
Pam Didner: We do care about revenue Priscilla, come on!
Priscilla McKinney: But that’s a short view. A short view of revenue because don’t you want people on your team in terms of social selling out there and pulling the messages about the brand and the culture of the brand across all of the channels. For example, you are talking about how great it is to work at this place to attract the best and brightest, which, in turn, delivers revenue in the long run.
Pam Didner: Understood. So now you hit another cord, and I think there may not be a clear distinction, say between brand advocacy done by employees and social selling. Do you see these two are the same thing as well?
Priscilla McKinney: Well, you know, more people would call them something different. I think they are one of the buckets, but I think the skills and the tips and the tricks and the mindset that needs to happen for both of them are the same. And we know that technology is the same. Sso for me, it’s about saying people who are doing the social, selling, doing the marketing the HR recruiting the customer care, all of these people need to have the same skill and the same understanding about how social is a hub and every single aspect of the business comes around.
Pam Didner: Got it. So you are looking at it in a more holistic view. And, uh, because everybody’s on some sorts of social channels. And if you are employees representing the company, you’ll even just yourself, that how you present yourself does matter.
Priscilla McKinney: Absolutely. Yeah.
Pam Didner: With that being said, how you present yourself does matter–what should people pay attention to when doing social selling? And what are some of the tips and tricks that you would like to share with everyone?
Priscilla McKinney: Nobody likes to be sold to.
Pam Didner: True.
Priscilla McKinney: We all know that we hate that feeling, right? We get there’s this reason why our culture has this association with like slimy sales. But then we go, come in and get out of our car, come up to our office, sit down and all of a sudden, as marketers or salespeople or HR recruiting, now all of a sudden we get slimy. Wait a minute. Why don’t we just write and behave the way we want to experience out in the world. And this is the proverbial crap LinkedIn message you get when someone connects to you. And this is, you know, you and I are very heavily in the B2B space, and so we do talk a lot about LinkedIn, you know, so much about account-based marketing and how to get this done smarter.
But this is where this age-old dumb slimy message that is completely irrelevant to you didn’t even consider you. And in the end, actually half of the time, they ask a favor of you when they reached out, and it’s so ineffective. Still, it comes from that original mindset of “I’m one person when I’m wanted when I’m, you know, and then I’m a different person when I’m marketing or selling”, and that needs to stop.
Pam Didner: Got it. So what is your advice specifically when people would like to engage or embark on social selling?
Priscilla McKinney: It’s about putting the other person first, and it’s also about doing it in the right place. And so that kind of slimy salesy approach I just talked with you about, we all are very familiar with that over in LinkedIn mail.
Get out of LinkedIn mail jail and get over into the comments and the juicy bits. And, you know, you have such a great depth of wisdom about account-based marketing and how to use the social channels for real, real sales revenue–like KPI’s like we’re not joking around and just. Being friends with people.
Pam Didner: Yeah. Yeah. Yep. I agree. Yeah. We have to hear the core, man.
Priscilla McKinney: Yeah. Yeah. And you wrote the book on how to do that globally, and there’s something very powerful about that, but you don’t get that done by staying in LinkedIn mail jail. You have to get out, and you do two things when you do that.
First of all, if you have a wishlist or you have even existing clients or a group of friendly, you go out, and you see who is actively talking about the things you want to talk about, and you just like a cocktail party come on up and you, you get involved in the conversation. And you, let the stuff happen. There is more organic space, and you do two things. Not only do you start a more organic conversation that’s not jarring like this other crap, but you have just completely removed everybody from the potential dumb conversations who’s not active on that channel. They would only be in those conversations if they’re on that channel every day or every other day, or they find it meaningful.
So you just muted out a crap ton of people who have a profile somewhere, who don’t even ever, you know, take a look at it. And so the prospecting or running, creating the relationship through the, is very important, but often missed the point when people are social selling.
Pam Didner: That’s a very good point. I missed that one completely (laughs). I comment on people’s posts, but I did think through. A lot of times, it’s very random. Maybe I should comment on the potential customers and especially the ones I want to reach out to.
Priscilla McKinney: The first thing I do when there’s someone that I want to do business with is I go out to their page, I go to their activity, I look at their posts, and I see what they’re interested in; and I strike up that conversation. Other people would be like, “Oh, that’s a gimmick, or that’s salesy.” No, not if you show up and you be yourself and you just, you’re interested in what they’re interested in. And we all do this in society. It’s called etiquette.
Pam Didner: Yeah. I like that a lot. You hit the core. I liked that a lot. And, um, another question I would like to ask you specifically: is there, by default, social channels that people should use? I know that this probably depends on your audience and your personal preference, but do you have any recommendation that there is a specific channel or channels that people should use?
Priscilla McKinney: Where are their eyeballs are? That’s where you need to go. But I think we all know, you know, just the truth about business when it’s B2B, is that number one, you need to be on LinkedIn. Number two, you need to be on Twitter. And the big difference between the two of those. That’s very, very important to understand.
Pam Didner: I agree.
Priscilla McKinney: You ready? (laughs) LinkedIn is a closed network, and therefore it cannot be scraped by Google. Whereas Twitter is a public channel, and Google can scrape it. And so when, if you want to be famous for something, if you want the recognition of an influencer in a particular field, then you better get out on a completely public network that can be scraped and looked at, regardless of whether they’ve connected to you. And so if you’re looking for that exposure, and building your influence, then you really cannot leave out Twitter.
Pam Didner: Okay. Got it. So it depends on your goals in terms of communication and what you want to accomplish.
Priscilla McKinney: Exactly.
Pam Didner: And also, you know, where your audiences are, and then you can determine what are the right channel that you would like to engage.
Priscilla McKinney: Yeah, exactly.
Pam Didner: So that’s a wrap for our podcast. Please don’t forget to leave comments or like the podcast on your favorite channels if you enjoy the podcast. As you venture out, everyone, please continue to stay safe and healthy.
Talk to you next time. Take care. Bye-bye.