Dialed In: How Social Selling Helps Connect Customers

Vice President, Global Defense Business at AT&T - Anthony Robbins’ Sales Teams are Delivering Insights and Building Relationships Faster Than Ever Before

November 2, 2016

  • ask-the-expert-anthony-robbins

For more than 30 years, Robbins has been in sales roles for networking and technology companies supporting the Federal Government. He like many leaders have come to appreciate the digital transformation occurring, and its impact on sales and marketing. In addition, he realizes that his customers buying journey has changed. As a result, he’s been focused on leading the digital transformation of his sales team, including use of social sales and marketing and more modern tools.

LI: In your experience, what matters the most when it comes to succeeding in sales?

AR: To drive a social sales and marketing agenda, you have to understand your customer, and you have to be able to deliver your value and insight at a place and time in which your customer is looking for such information.

The structured funnel of yesterday is no longer relevant. Customers make buying decisions and draw conclusions very quickly. You are now able to educate and inspire a larger group of customers in a shorter time than you ever could before with the classic selling model.

In order to succeed in social sales you have cultivate a strong sense of personal branding and trust, and position yourself as a thought leader, or someone who adds insight and value to customer missions and need. We must establish a sense of consistency in our online presence so that your customer recognizes you and values the insights you have provided. By maintaining this for an extended period of time, your customers will learn to trust what you have to offer. Eventually, you will become one of the sources that they seek out.

LI: When did you first discover the importance of social sales?

AR: Back in 2011. Before AT&T, I was working at a company where we were researching customer problem sets. After such research, we created business insights and value which we could offer to our customers. We were trying to figure out how to offer this to the marketplace, but our team wasn’t large enough to talk to all of our customers as quickly as we wanted to. That’s when we discovered social selling. Through careful research, and by working with sales and marketing, we discovered we were able to leverage and scale our insights using social media. This is also around the time that I brought in LinkedIn experts to host webinars, and hired consultants to provide additional social selling training, as well. We began more effectively using LinkedIn, LinkedIn Sales Navigator and other tools to support our selling transformation.

LI: How did you incorporate these learnings into your work today?

AR: The customer’s buying journey has changed so dramatically. The way customers buy products and absorb information has tremendously changed, and it has required our sales and marketing teams to change to intersect. A few years ago I would have said that you have to encourage social sales and marketing, but now I think you have to demand it and expect it. It’s a reality that’s here and now, and my intention is to go faster in implementing the social sales and marketing program in my new role, all of which is just a part of the broader digital transformation of sales and marketing.