I recently sent out a new set of invites for our social selling executive power hours. One of my reps, we’ll her call Meg, asked me what they were about and I detailed a little bit about the sessions and how they typically run.
I could hear the trepidation in her voice in thinking that it sounded like a bit of a waste of time. “Looking through LinkedIn for common connections? Why do we have to do this as a team…can’t I do this just as effectively while I watch Bravo late at night?” I imagine she thought.
But these calls are an incredible building block for our team for a few reasons, which I’ll dive into later. Here’s how we do it.
Book time with your AEs and two senior members of your sales or marketing team.
I find an hour that is free on all my reps’ calendars and then invite two senior executives to join us. I usually try to get one from our C-Suite and another senior member of our company to join us.
Now, it doesn’t always need to be based on title, but I’m looking for someone who is well-connected and has been across a few companies nationally so I can get the widest net of contacts.
Sometimes it’s just as easy to pull in a senior rep from another team who is an avid social seller – either way, we’re looking for individuals who are actively connected to our potential high-value prospects.
Send a playbook in advance so everyone knows the rules.
Before the meeting, I send the two executives an outline of the plan and rules for the hour. Each rep is going to come with two accounts to target.
We start with one rep and round robin to the next rep until we get through each of the rep’s two accounts. The goal is for each person in the meeting to access that account’s LinkedIn page and start to look for any first or second degree connections that are target buyers of our technology.
The rule is that if you have common connection, you are then accountable for chasing and following up with that connection until you get somewhere – a no is still somewhere, but the owner of the connection needs to tactfully exhaust the connection. This allows for each person to be accountable to their own commitments rather than having reps following up with executives and/or each other.
Track your connections and the results.
As we get on the call, we start uncovering warm leads for each other.
This is also an incredible opportunity for everyone to pitch in with facts about the account, what they may have done with us previously, efforts made my old reps to crack the door open, what they may have seen in the news that would be compelling, competitors we recently closed deals with, etc.
Once the information starts flowing, the sky is the limit on who and what we uncover, and the meetings we can set.
In our first meeting, held in March of 2016, a team of us spent an hour doing this exact activity and it netted us nine meetings. Of those nine meetings, four led to opportunities, two of which closed at 20% higher than our average contract value. We continue to track the data of the meetings held and the results that ensue.
After the hour is over, we commit to trying to follow through all connections within a week. These sessions are such an incredible use of time, that the goal is to achieve at least two a month with a rotating set of executives. Since we are often changing the accounts we target in these meetings, we often also invite the same executives back who may have connections at our new accounts.
Collaboration and additional payoff.
Beyond the benefit of new meetings and ultimately pipeline and revenue, these calls have incredible payout on our morale.
Being in software sales, many of us are remote and don’t have the chance to collaborate as a team often. But this offers an environment that fosters ideas and collaboration, and builds each other up in a way that supports our overall goals.
It’s also an incredible way for our reps to get exposure to different executives in the organization, and to show the executives their style and manner of thinking.
As for Meg, she was sold. We hung the conference bridge and I immediately found her calling my cell. “You know, I was so skeptical about this but that was one of the most valuable hours ever!”