This article is part 3 of a 6 part series
- PART 1: Social selling defined and the 5 pillars success formula
- PART 2: Pillar 1 - Social Listening
- PART 3: Pillar 2 - Social publishing
- PART 4: Pillar 3 - Social Research
- PART 5: Pillar 4 - Social Engagement
- PART 6: Pillar 5 - Social Collaboration
PART 3: B2B Social Selling - "Social Publishing"
In this third interview in this series Tony Hughes states social publishing is really important for two key reasons. "The first reason is to attract people to us - it's a content marketing strategy if you like. The second reason is it's evidence of our credibility, it ploughs the ground before us when we go and see a person."
Tony emphasises the importance of a well thought out strategy before leaping into either curating or writing and publishing. What we communicate needs to be relevant and of value for our target customers. And it need to reinforce our authentic self and our 'unique promise of value'. Otherwise we are likely to confuse our audience and reduce our attractiveness.
See the full interview below.
Tony is a leading author and keynote speaker in the word of B2B sales and sales leadership. He is well known for his strategic selling book "The Joshua Principle" and for the RSVPselling methodology.
See more of the 'TALKING SALES' series here
John: Welcome back - I'm here again with Tony Hughes! Tony, we've talked about listening as the first pillar of your 'Social selling' last time.
John: I'd like to talk about your second pillar, 'Social publishing'. In starting, I've noticed, in the last 12 months you've put out an enormous amount of great content around sales, social selling, sales leadership, and a whole lot of other topics, related topics - great effort! And I think we're going to be talking about that sort of publishing.
Tony: Yes. And thank you, I appreciate you noticing! The important thing with anybody in social is they need to have a strategy before they start jumping in and playing with tools. For me, and people will be in a different situation obviously, but for me... I'm currently writing another book, and I'm looking to get a publisher in the USA for that book. And the reality today in publishing is that if you can't bring an audience platform with the book that you've written, it's very hard to get a book deal.
John: Okay, but we're talking about a B2B sales organisation, and we're talking about B2B 'social selling'. What does publishing have got to do with a sales guy or a sales leader?
Tony: Well, although my primary reason is to build audience platform, I've had some incredible experiences through adopting a "pay it forward" approach of just giving away my IP on 'social'. I've had about half a million reads of my blog posts in four months, I went from 1,600 to about 7,000 people following me in 6 months to mid 2015 (this has risen to over 15,000 by the end of 2015 - see Tony's profile for the latest), and by publishing and giving away my insights and IP I've had some amazing things happen. I booked as much revenue in January 2015 as I did in the entire 2014 year (and that's continued to grow through 2015), because people read my content and contact me. People say you can't sell on social - you absolutely can.
John: You know, it reminds me about my friend Sue from 'The Sue and Barry Story' that I've published. Sue started writing simple stories about what some of her customers had achieved, and the changes they've driven in their organisation - nothing about Sue's company, product or service, all about what the customers had achieved - and the turnaround in the relationship and the respect that she got from her target customers was just amazing!
Tony: John, it's incredible. I'm working with a client at the moment, and I'm helping their salespeople write and publish in social in a controlled way, sales management is serving as editor for them. There's a big debate about whether salespeople should be writing content or just curating, but it's incredibly powerful. The thing you want to do in social - for example, in LinkedIn - is you want to show the value, the business value that you bring your clients, but also the values by which you operate. And when you publish, people start to see that, and what will happen is when people research you - and 70% of the time people do before a meeting - what they see will be something that does the selling for you, so that when you turn up you can focus on them, and their issues and problems and needs, rather than trying to sell yourself.
John: And if we've been listening and publishing and so on, it's going to be much easier when we get into the later pillars, particularly like engaging.
Tony: Yes - social publishing is really important. The first reason is to attract people to us, it's a content marketing strategy if you like, and the second reason is it's evidence of our credibility, and ploughs the ground before us when we go and see a person.
John: Love it, Tony - great advice, and I look forward to talking about the next pillar!
Tony: Thanks John!
More interviews with Tony Hughes:
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