I interviewed sales manager, sales person, sales trainer and all around smart guy Jorge Soto. I asked Jorge about how he uses Sales 2.0 and how it is impacting Silicon Valley startups (an environment where he’s spent a lot of his career).
1. Jorge, I know you are a fan of Sales 2.0 and Social Selling. How did this come about?
Jorge: It’s interesting because I never considered it Social Selling when I started to use social media tools to sell.
I stumbled upon this approach by using Linkedin. My prospecting approach at that time was going through lead lists and sending blind emails. Nowadays, I can’t even imagine a world without social media, especially for prospecting.
I have to credit my good friend and former colleague Jason Bhatti for opening my eyes to the power of social media. We were executing a standard cold calling routine based on a list until Jason showed me the power of Linkedin.
Nowadays, I live in Linkedin and I am starting to leverage Twitter for outreach. There is a cool tool called SocialPandas that I use to help with lead gen via Twitter.
2. You are running a sales/biz dev effort now. What are your main goals in this role and how are you applying Sales 2.0 tools and techniques in this role?
Jorge: Linkedin and Twitter are the main services we use. We are going to continue to use Linkedin and Twitter for outreach and experiment with some inbound marketing tactics. It’s important that my team and I maintain a strong social media presence. HubSpot does an amazing job at creating social media distributed content and making sure that all their sales and marketing team members have a strong presence. We’re looking to develop something along those lines.
3. What do you consider your “desert island” Sales 2.0 tools – i.e. if you could only take three tools with you to a dessert island which ones would you take?
Jorge: my “desert island tools” are:
a. Linkedin: Linkedin is my essential sales tool. In my opinion, you cannot operate as a business executive without a premium Linkedin account. First of all, prospects, business partners and most stakeholders will look at your Linkedin profile at least once when doing business with you. Your ability to look socially literate and validate who you are is very meaningful to others.
Linkedin is also critical when it comes to prospecting and learning about your customers and/or partners. There are also a ton of great content, user groups, and company information that you can find within Linkedin. I also believe that Linkedin will power the CRM systems of the future.
b. Jigsaw (Now Data.com): Jigsaw is very important to me when trying to find prospect information. It allows me to find contact information by using a virtual currency or buying credits.
c. Rapportive: Rapportive is the browser plug-in that everyone salesperson on the planet should have. It allows you to pull up users social media profiles from within your Gmail account by simply entering their email address.
4. I know that you train startups on sales as well as doing your “day job”. What do you see as the main sales challenges for startups? Are Sales 2.0 tools and techniques having any impact on improving sales results for the start-ups you know?
Jorge: Nigel, you know this is a topic I am very passionate about. The thing is that startup sales is very different from getting a sales job at an established, well known brand such as Google, Oracle, Marriott Hotels etc. When you’re with a startup you’re always cold calling. You have to be constantly hunting. You are developing a process as you go.
One of the biggest challenges startups face is that they hire the wrong sales people. One scenario I see all the time: startups hiring the Stanford MBA, Yale undergrad guy/gal, who did 5 years at Google. This person has never cold called in their life. They are clueless as to what hunting is all about, and are usually too smart and entitled to get anything done. They are the smartest folks in the room and can score an 800 on the GMAT with their eyes closed but that’s not the person I want to hire. I want a hustler. I want the guy/gal who went to a state school, played competitive sports, and has something to prove. I want someone who is going to be coachable and teachable, not who is going to always want to over analyze things and always have the last word.
I also see startups hire very “seasoned” sales executives. Again, wrong move. These folks have not hunted in 20 years. They are clueless as to how generate leads today. They have not kept up on how to use today’s critical Sales 2.0 tools.
Another common issue I encounter is that startups start thinking about sales much later than they should. This is an epidemic I see here in Silicon Valley. Many startups are founded by great engineers who are great product visionaries yet they are clueless when it comes to getting business done. These companies need to start thinking about sales from day one.
I believe that Sales 2.0 tools have allowed companies of all sizes to generate business and prospect in ways that only the big corporations were able to in the past. In the past, you had to pay for expensive services to find out who worked at what company and collect other intelligence. Nowadays, you can find most of this information on Linkedin or by searching Google.
Jorge Soto is head of sales and business development for Punchtab. Punchtab is the world’s first instant loyalty platform reaching over 22 million consumers every month across hundreds of sites that have integrated the company’s loyalty programs.