One of the traits that I pride myself on is the ability to use social media as my own personal game of Sherlock Holmes. Who knows who, where did they work, when were they there, do they know someone at my company, have they purchased us before, what role are they in – all these questions revolve through my mind as I read articles, updates and comments on LinkedIn. So, imagine my surprise when the following happened…
Our team had been working on a large deal for about eight months. We were at the end, so close to inking the deal that we were already talking about where to celebrate.
One final step needed to be accomplished, which included the chief of this department signing the contract because it fell a hair outside of our decision maker’s signing authority. A fair and normal behavior for all of our deals, so nothing seemed amiss…until we thought, “Wait, who IS the head of the department?”
Now, you might be rolling your eyes and thinking that we made a rookie error in not looking up who the chief was to begin with, and you’re right.
Always know who is above your buyer, even when your buyer says they are the decision maker.
A key component of social selling is understand who all the players are in your deals – even the ones that we don’t necessarily hear about often, and that starts with the head of that department or business unit.
Upon finding the chief, we found that he was connected to one of our chiefs as well. Not only that, but he knew of us as he had used our platform for years at a previous company. Imagine how we could have sped up the deal from one quarter to the previous one, if we had simply made that connection earlier in the sales process.
This example and experience stresses the importance of reviewing your top accounts often through social channels. These days, one does not maintain working for the same company, or even within their same position or business unit, for more than a few years. Frequent job changes allow for new opportunities for you to connect the dots within your accounts and find champions that will speed up your deals. So, here are a few tips and tricks to make the most use out of job changes:
Connect with Anyone with Which You’ve Had a Meaningful Conversation
As a standard process, I automatically connect through LinkedIn with anyone that we’ve had a meaningful conversation with regarding our technology or proposed deal. My connection is always accompanied by a custom message, and affords me the opportunity to instantly open up my network of second connections within that account.
Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator Daily
This app is one of the first three I check every single morning when I get up. I’m looking for news, job changes, updates, etc. that are meaningful to the accounts on which my team is focused.
Even as a leader, I’m able to make use of this by saving out target accounts for each account executive that I want to see us close. Within LinkedIn Sales Navigator sits TeamLink which is another tool I use frequently to monitor job changes. I have saved searches that allow me to quickly check if there are new connections within my organization that are now connected to people in new roles in this existing account.
Leverage Your Network to Capitalize on Job Changes
If I uncover that someone new has moved to one of our target accounts, and they are connected to someone within my organization, I immediately reach out to our internal contact to see if there’s a connection to be made.
Working through a common contact does two things – it speeds up the time it takes to get a meeting with the prospect and speeds up trust; given the chance to get a meeting faster and be introduced, I’m going to pounce on it every time.
Help Your Colleagues
One of the shortcomings I see across sales organizations is the motivation to help your fellow account executives out with social selling. Imagine you’ve sold a deal and, six months later, your buyer moves to another company. When you receive the notification, through LinkedIn or otherwise, that they’ve moved, your next step should be to immediately research which account executive owns that account and facilitate an introduction. Imagine the pipeline you could build if everyone in your organization did this regularly, and effectively used job changes as a way to build more meetings?
In the end, this new found connection helped us get what we needed most – a deal signed and delivered before the end of the quarter.