The CEO of Sales for Life Jamie Shanks recently sat down with content lead Julia Manoukian to talk about his new book, Social Selling Mastery, a framework for scaling your sales and marketing machine for the digital buyer. Social Selling Mastery is out today.
Jamie Shanks is one of the world’s leading Social Selling experts. He has personally built Social Selling solutions in nearly every industry, ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations, such as Xerox, Sprint, Thomson Reuters, ServiceNow, Oracle, and SAS.
Julia: I’m very lucky to be here with Jamie Shanks, the author of Social Selling Mastery. Since its release, it's consistently been one of the top selling sales books on Amazon. You also just got word it’s being translated into Mandarin. How are you feeling about the launch?
Jamie: It’s fantastic. In the book I talk about how social selling is truly an ecosystem. I use the analogy of Aristotle’s definition of synergy, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Well I’ve recognized a book launch is no different. We at Sales for Life all worked as one team to get it out there.
While I may have written it, the team at Wiley helped to produce and publish it, our marketing team, which has done an incredible job of aligning influencers, speakers and social messaging to promote the book, the amazing culture at Sales for Life George and I have helped create and of course my wife, Rebecca.
A book, like Aristotle’s definition of synergy, is the sum of all its parts, an ecosystem.
Julia: There’s “The Art of Social Selling” by Shannon Belew and “Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers” by Tim Hughes and Matt Reynolds — what makes this book different than other books on social selling?
Jamie: These are all fantastic books, including Barbara Giamanco’s, Mark Schaefer’s and Brynne Tillman. The difference with this particular book is that it’s built with scale in mind.
Books from a few years ago talked about the why of social selling. Recently, books have been very tactical from the point of what a sales professional should do.
Where there was an opportunity to expand was to look at it as the ecosystem of say, how does my company of 100 or 1000 professionals scale this? Because social selling is not just for a sales professional; you have sales leaders, marketing leaders, sales enablement and sales operations helping to implement and learn the program too.
This book addresses social selling on a global scale: how do I, as a sales leader, roll out a program into EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and APAC (Asia-Pacific)? How do expand it from inside sales to channel sales? The whole book is written with the purpose of scaling a centralized program around the world within your organization.
Julia: In the preface you talk a lot about the emotional stress and hustle of entrepreneurship. Was there ever a point where you felt like Sales for Life wouldn’t make it?
Jamie: Yeah, just about everyday for a couple years. It’s reality. If you read a lot about entrepreneurs, they second-guess themselves daily. The biggest enemy of any entrepreneur is themselves.
Right now, we’re the largest social selling training company on earth. The company with the most projects. Everything we do from today forward we’re inventing. We have no idea what’s around the corner a year from now. The scariest part is twofold: one, you don’t necessarily know how you’re going to get around that corner and two, you remember what is was like being in the toilet — and you never want to visit the toilet again.
Julia: If companies don’t have a social selling strategy on their radar, what would you tell them?
Jamie: Do an audit or analysis of your buyer. If you don’t think it works for you, walk a mile in your buyer's shoes. Do they use Google? Are they reaching out to their peer-to-peer network? Are they consuming anything on their couches on a Thursday night with a glass of wine and learning about their industry? If they’re doing any of that, they’re learning without you. That’s the critical piece. Whether you like it or not, you can’t control a buyer's learning, so you have to figure out how they learn, and meet them there.
We’ve now heard a million analogies of how a car buyer is consuming information and building things online. You would be daft to think that a buyer isn’t learning about software, human resources best practices or manufacturing specs online as well. The fact is they’re learning all about these topics from their laptops at home!
My point is you can be part of their conversations, or you could be on the sidelines watching competitors do it.
Julia: Other than global social selling takeover, what’s next for Sales for Life?
Jamie: [laughs] So that is actually what’s next for Sales for Life. For the next 5-10 years, we have a simple gameplan: and that is to see our curriculum in every country in the world, in every industry in the world, to be the defacto standard for social selling deployment at any size organization in the world.
That is our big fat edacious goal.
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