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Apr 23, 2024 Ryan Humphreys

How to Leverage Social Media for Sales

The link between employee advocacy and social selling is often overlooked.

That’s why Sarah wanted to interview Paul Lewis on our LinkedIn Live series. He’s the digital, social media, and sales enablement manager at Pitney Bowes. His role encompasses marketing, global sales, and employee advocacy.

Read on for a summary, listen to the full interview on our podcast below, or check out the replay on LinkedIn.



How To Grow A Social Selling Team

Paul’s social selling team at Pitney Bowes started off as 7-10 people, all based in the UK.

Word of mouth helped him turn it into a global program. He now works with 300 salespeople in the US, Canada, Europe, India, Australia, and Brazil.

Reps come from a range of departments, including business development, inside sales, field sales, presales, and account-based marketing.

On one end of the spectrum, sales reps sell franking machines or postage meters. This could result in a couple of thousand dollars in sales.

At the opposite end, he helps the global e-commerce business unit where sales run into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.


How Different Sales Roles Use Social Media

Paul gave the example of an account manager focusing on 7-10 accounts. He’d start with a deep dive into those accounts with the manager, looking for cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

They might be working with a large enterprise account but only have tapped into one part of that business. To reach the rest, they try to use connections who have relationships with other people in the target business to see if they can make introductions.

Sales reps whose core focus is on new business don’t touch companies that have a relationship with Pitney Bowes. Paul helps those reps identify new accounts, then looks for key targets within those accounts. They use his methodology to try to build those relationships. (We’ll explore his method further down.)


How To Manage And Scale Social Selling As A One-person Team

Trying to manage 300 people across the globe isn’t easy. But Paul has the support of LinkedIn, which helps. They hold training or coaching sessions to support his network of social sellers.

Paul finds that one-to-one sessions work best for him because everyone learns at their own pace and needs a different level of handholding.

This obviously isn’t scalable, so he’s working on building a train-the-trainer program. That way, he’ll have local representatives in different areas.


How To Capture Business Wins

If Paul is working with a salesperson who generates an opportunity, he tries to get them to use a specific campaign code in the CRM to tie it back to the program.

Sometimes he finds that opportunity in the CRM himself and follows it. Their CRM then notifies him when that sales rep updates the opportunity.

Showing how much the company generates from sales opportunities, and how many deals get closed, helps him justify the company’s investment in the tools.

They’ve had deals stall before because of legal or procurement hurdles. To solve this, they find someone from that company’s legal or procurement team in Sales Navigator and reach out to them to move things along.


How Employee Advocacy Tools Can Help Sales Teams

Paul has put together a methodology to use when working with salespeople.

He calls his process The Social Selling Steps:

  • Prospecting. This is where they use different ways to identify key targets with accounts they want to engage with.
  • Monitoring and listening. Here, they look out for the latest news and insights, and updates on the individuals and accounts that are of interest to see what they can use to their advantage.
  • Engagement. In the final stage, they share branded and third-party content. This positions them as an SME and builds their credibility. This is where the advocacy comes in.

Paul knows it’s important not to pull salespeople away from selling. So he makes it as easy as possible for them to post content on LinkedIn and other networks. 

For instance, they use the recommended content section on the Pitney Bowes LinkedIn company page. They put content on there regularly for salespeople to share and try to encourage them to put their own spin on it. Or if they’re stuck, he suggests they try LinkedIn’s AI Writer.

How AI Could Help Digital Sellers

Paul believes that AI is there to support people. But it’s never going to take away from the physical relationship between prospects or clients and salespeople.

Tools like ChatGPT can help reps craft sales messages, while others can predict the best times to engage with a prospect.

He feels it’s important to make the most of AI because it will save salespeople time, which is crucial when just 33% of a salesperson’s time is spent actually selling.

However, a salesperson still needs to front the campaign and have regular conversations with prospects and clients.

How To Manage Inactive Sales Navigator Licenses

If Paul finds someone has a Sales Navigator license but isn’t using it to its full potential, he contacts them to ask how he can help them get the most from it. In most cases, they just want a refresher on how to use it.

To determine how active someone is, Paul looks at the number of days they use the tool. If they don’t use it much, they may need additional help.

So he reaches out to them.

Sometimes, people don’t get back to him. So he chases them 2 or 3 times. If he feels he isn’t getting anywhere, he’ll revoke the license and focus his time elsewhere.

‘It’s not just about tools. It’s behaviour change,’ adds Sarah. This crucial step means that some employees will take longer to adapt to social selling than others.

She continued: ‘You can’t convince people. You need to work with the ones that are already in that mindset. The ones that aren’t there yet, they’ll get there, but in their own time.’

Occasionally, Paul gets an email from unresponsive employees about Sales Navigator a few months later asking him how to use it and how they get a license.

Employee Advocacy And Social Selling Go Hand-In-Hand

When used correctly, employee advocacy can boost your social selling efforts. It doesn’t have to eat into sales reps’ time or add to their responsibilities. It can complement them, providing them with more opportunities and helping increase how many deals they close.

If you’d like help with your employee advocacy or social selling programs, or find out more about the link between the two, get in touch today.

Ready to supercharge your social selling program?

About Tribal Impact

Tribal Impact is a B2B Social Selling and Employee Branding Agency.

We're a team of social media strategists, trainers, coaches, content creators and data analysts who are passionate about helping our B2B customers develop and scale their social selling and employee advocacy programs.

Learn more about us here.

Published by Ryan Humphreys April 23, 2024
Ryan Humphreys