Ask the Expert: How Yesware Personalized for Social Selling Success

Learn how sales manager Joel Felcher inspired his reps with constructive criticism and taught them to tailor personalized pitches.

July 25, 2016

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When Joel Felcher began his experience with software sales at Yesware, he noticed they were using the “spray and pray” method and that strategy needed to change. Joel began improving their sales strategy by teaching his reps how to add a personalized touch to the buying process and eventually empowered his reps to think outside the box. This, combined with a constructive and attentive management style, has changed overall performance for the better. We sat down with Joel to see exactly how he did it. Here’s his story:

How have you coached your reps towards social selling success?

JF: I really invest in the people on my team and form connections. For example, I have a rep who is inspired by Kate Spade, so we speak in terms of Kate Spade: you're four deals away from that dress or that purse. It’s understanding what makes them tick as people and having a mutual feeling of respect--truly caring for each other. I’d run through a brick wall for them, and them for me.

What advice do you have for fellow sales managers?

JF: I think the main thing for me is that it’s not about persistence, it's not just about checking in and following up. You have to be smarter about it: no outreach without research, no follow-up without reason. Sales is super competitive today, so it's more about breaking through the noise: we do that by using Sales Navigator religiously.

For instance, one of my reps found a prospect who loved Luke Bryan, so the rep rewrote the lyrics to “Crash My Party” in an email to them and titled it “Crash My Calendar.” Another rep found a woman who loves Mexican food and signed her emails “let’s taco bout it.” And they used Sales Navigator to do all this research.

People appreciate the research and effort that you put into an email like that; a lot of people will thank you for your email, and that’s how you can get your sales reps to go above and beyond and stand out.

What do you think is the most important part of sales coaching?

JF: It’s easy as a sales manager to sit down and say, “keep doing what you're doing, we need more calls and activity.” But constructive criticism is what really gets to them, saying “Hey, I’ve seen this in the data, let’s improve in this area.”

It's smart persistence. Show them where there might be a gap, like, “Hey, if you're taking four days to get back to the customer, let's add in a social touch or an InMail in between.” There's nothing more rewarding or valuable than when you see it click in your reps--seeing them learning and growing from failures. Let them know that you're going to fail, and that’s perfectly fine, as long as you're growing from it. Take risks, and I’m still going to support you as long as the effort is there.

How have you seen social selling change your reps’ performance?

JF: It’s night and day--it's invaluable. When I got here, it was a lot of spray-and-pray, but now we have PBR: purpose, benefit, and request.

My reps start by giving the purpose of their message; they grab something from the prospect’s LinkedIn profile, some area of interest. They then offer the benefit, telling the customer that they’re reaching out because they think they can help them. They’re using LinkedIn to do the research on these people to find out how to click with them, and they make it all about them. They look at the prospect’s past companies, schools, if they’re a Patriots fan, and so on. We get insights into each prospect’s unique personality from LinkedIn.

Then, they end with the request. For instance, after they speak with a football fan, they might ask, “Can we huddle for 15 minutes to talk about this?” They don’t just send an email saying “I need your time,” they always tie the request back to them.

We’ve really seen success by simplifying everything we do and rising above the noise by using LinkedIn. We’d be lost without LinkedIn, our process simply wouldn’t be possible. LinkedIn enables us to tie all these data points together to paint a picture of prospects, which allows us make it about them and not about us.


Want to learn a few social selling tactics to help support your sales team? Then check out our eBook The LinkedIn Social Selling Kit.