Eric Mitchell is the head of sales and marketing at Mobitor. Before Eric introduced social selling to the Mobitor sales team, they focused on cold calling and using other old and outdated sales tactics that were not yielding sales.
While Eric has been using LinkedIn since the platform's early days, he started in sales using traditional sales methods such as purchasing lists and cold calling. The cold calling in particular he found bothersome, as he felt awkward calling up prospects and starting up a conversation like they were old friends.
He called this the carpet bombing approach as he was hitting everyone in a company looking for the right person and hoping that if he contacted enough people in the company that he would eventually get a hit. It was always a challenge finding the right person in the company, rather like finding a needle in a haystack.
It all came to a boiling point. He was very frustrated and decided he had had enough of calling a prospect with the "till they buy or die" approach and suffering through sales leaders quoting Boiler Room, Wall Street and Glengarry Glen Ross. He knew there had to be a better way.
So Eric began to ask himself, "How can I make use of all of the technologies and market opportunities available today?"
He shortly thereafter found himself on LinkedIn and was amazed by its Swiss Army knife-like abilities. He could network with people both inside and outside of the network he had already created and could look into a company to research the decision makers he needed to connect with.
He found that what made social selling different is the focus on making the relationships personal by caring about your prospect, wanting to help them with their challenges and goals, and then showing them how you have helped others with similar problems. By making the conversation about helping your prospects, you are able to work from the inside out.
He had even once been turned away from a sales job because he was too personal with prospects, the very skill which was now helping him to build relationships with his clients. Clients, which return every year because they knew that he and his company want to help them achieve success.
He refined and fine tuned his process of social selling over the next three and a half years.
When Eric arrived at Mobitor in August of 2014, the pipeline was empty. In fact the last deal that had been closed was over a year ago. The sales leaders before him had focused on old school methods that didn't work.
Leading by example, he took a straightforward approach that avoided cold calling altogether. While he didn't banish phone calls, he stipulated that if you pick up the phone to call someone, you better know more about them than the basics. He wanted his team to understand that cold calling and emailing the old school ways have hit a dead end.
Eric taught his team to use the methods he developed using LinkedIn and they all sat down and looked at a list of untouched leads. He got the entire team using Salesforce and they started making notes about each lead and reviewing the last contact made. They used LinkedIn to further read about the company and look for common connections.
His sales team then began sending out messages to their leads, reintroducing Mobitor and asking them to share their biggest challenge as well as providing some information on how they had helped customers with similar challenges in the past.
The results that Eric and his team got were amazing.
Overnight the replies came in. C-level executives were re-engaging with members of the sales team, and they quickly put over 1.5 million in the Mobitor pipeline. Each of the leads were contacted and discovery calls went through the roof.
They closed over 850K in 3 months and are forecasted to achieve a million dollars by end of 2014.
The one thing Eric wants readers to take away from what he has shared is that the old school way is gone and prospects no longer want to be treated like they are buying a gym membership.
Most buyers hit delete when an email comes in from someone they have never heard of and calls go straight to voicemail jail, which is a waste of everyone's time.
Eric states: "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. So many companies, including Mobitor in the past have defined themselves by what they do. That method may have worked in the past but with 60% - 80% of buyers today beginning the buying process before contacting sales reps, its screams change your ways before you get passed up."