This is the first of a five-part blog series based on the SalesGuru Community Event “Social Selling in Action: Best Practices from Eloqua’s Top Salesperson”. Special thanks to DocuSign for sponsoring the community and this event.
I’ve known Jill Rowley for the last 2 or 3 years and I’ve gotten to know her a lot better over the last year. We were at an event together a couple of months ago and it was the first time in 3 years that I realized she was in sales. I had no idea and assumed Jill was in marketing, was an evangelist, and was someone who was responsible for talking about and evangelizing the role that marketing automation could have. Then come to find out she’s actually a quota carrying sales rep. And not only a quota carrying sales rep but has been the top account sales rep at Eloqua for 7 of the last 8 years.
What I love about that story is I think it really personifies what social selling is today and what it means to be an effective value-added sales professional. You’re selling the solutions; you’re selling the solving of problems as opposed to a set of software. And once you actually evangelize the idea of what needs to happen and evangelize the problem and different ways of solving the problem…once you’ve identified someone who has that problem, oh by the way I can sell you that solution. Oh by the way, I make my living doing this.
Jill, talk a little bit about how you do that. You describe yourself as an information concierge. Can you give your overall philosophy?
My job isn’t to sell; my job is to get a buyer to buy. And to get a buyer to buy, I need to understand their challenges, their issues; I need to understand their goals and objectives and I need to be able to bring them along, through their buying process and also provide relevant content that helps with the velocity of the buying process.
So understanding if someone is in the early stage of their buying process in that whole wide marketing automation phase, and giving them relevant content to build a business case around marketing automation and the return on investment you would get from buying marketing automation versus whether they’re in the “why Eloqua” phase of the buying process. Why Eloqua versus one of the numerous other providers of marketing automation software in this space?
Then finally, as we all know, no action is usually the biggest competitor in the deal. Getting someone to understand why marketing automation, why Eloqua and why now? Why should they do this now versus waiting a quarter, waiting 12 months?
So I really think of myself as that information concierge and really have become a content connoisseur in really understanding what is required from an education perspective to get that future advocate to purchase and to become an advocate of our company, our product and my personal brand as well.
The objection I tend to hear on that from salespeople is that takes too much time. that I’m investing in relationships and deals that are going to take too long to close or may never close, when I have a nut to hit this month or this quarter. And that relationship building while it sounds fantastic and all that’s sounds great, I need to be focused on deals that are closing right now.
Clearly you have a quota and clearly you have to hit a number. But can you talk about how to effectively balance those two needs?
There is a balance and I would say there is some ebb and flow in the volume of my social activity. I do have a number and I have a quarterly number I have to hit and so I do need to be focused on deal progression and I do need to understand where an opportunity is in the process and I need to be progressing those opportunities to closure.
Yet what I really understand and I got a little bit of benefit because this is Eloqua and this is what we’re all about is we understand the transformation of the buying process. Buyers are engaging sales much later in their buying process. They don’t have to actually engage with a sales professional to get information on the product. A lot of companies are doing an effective job of content marketing and creating content in the channels where the buyer is and making that content easily accessible without having to have a salesperson engaged.
And so what I know is that if I’m not in the conversation, and especially in the early stage of the conversation, in the early stage of the buying process then I’m not shaping the buyer’s understanding of the appropriate solution. And I’m not challenging them to potentially think about a different way to solve their business problem. And so what I know is that I need to be where my buyer is in every stage of the buying process.
The reality too though is there is a lot that I do that eventually benefits other folks within Eloqua. There are a lot of opportunities that come into our organization via my social activity. And if I didn’t have a core value of give to give versus a give to get mentality, I would probably be struggling with my social selling role.
As a rep, we still at Eloqua have old school geographic territory assignments. We haven’t moved to social proximity or social connectedness as the territory model. But I’m investing in my future and again it’s balancing that short term I have a number, I need to build pipe, with my passion for being socially active, my passion for really educating folks and helping them understand there is a better way of doing things than the way they are currently doing them today.