Episode 35: Digital Strategies to Grow Your Business with Jesse Rothstein
In this episode, Brynne and Bill are with Jesse Rothstein, Global Account Manager at LinkedIn. Listen as they discuss consistency and persistence through time management, and what it can do to you as a salesperson.
Jesse Rothstein 0:00
Making sales social is more about listening and digesting and comprehending what is going on with your client base, your prospects and the industries and where they operate. And I think with the proliferation of social media and quite frankly, just Internet data available at the touch of your smartphone, making sales, social empowers you as a salesperson to be a better student, of who ultimately you want to do business with. And that is something that has been expanding over the past number of years and I think it’s, it’s even expanded more so in the past 12 months as we’ve all been moved to virtual selling environments.
Intro (Bob Woods) 0:45
Welcome to the Making Sales Social podcast, featuring the top voices and sales and marketing. Join hosts Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick, as they discuss the best tips and strategies they are teaching their clients, so you can leverage them for your own virtual and social selling. Here are your hosts Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick.
Bill McCormick 1:14
Hey, everyone, welcome to Making Sales Social, I’m Bill McCormick.
Brynne Tillman 1:18
I’m Brynne Tillman.
Bill McCormick 1:19
So Brynne, who’s joining us today?
Brynne Tillman 1:21
We have someone directly from LinkedIn Sales Solutions, Jesse Rothstein, who apparently has been following our content for a long time, and has recently published a book called Carry That Quota, which we’re really excited about to really help salespeople even more than he is, by offering Sales Navigator as a product. Jessie, welcome to the show!
Jesse Rothstein 1:47
Thanks, Brynne, thanks Bill, thanks for having me.
Brynne Tillman 1:50
Oh, we’re thrilled to have you, and I have to say, it’s such an honor to have a global account manager at LinkedIn, follow our content and love our tips, and even ask for some thoughts around how to promote your book. So we’re thrilled to have you here, thanks.
Jesse Rothstein 2:08
Yeah, no, glad to be here, and like I said, I’ve been following your content and ideas for years, and I’m very much a fan of what you put out there, as ultimately I think we’re aligned, that you know, helping salespeople getting better at the craft is something that you know, we all believe in.
For sure, for sure, so Jesse we start every episode by asking every guest the same question. So Jesse, tell us: what is making sales social mean to you?
Jesse Rothstein 2:37
Yeah, to me, making sales social is more about listening, and digesting, and comprehending what is going on with your client base, your prospects and the industries and where they operate, and I think with the proliferation of social media, and quite frankly, just Internet data available at the touch of your smartphone, making sales social empowers you as a salesperson to be a better student, of who ultimately you want to do business with, and that is something that has been expanding over the past number of years, and I think it’s even expanded more so in the past 12 months as we’ve all been moved to virtual selling environments.
Bill McCormick 3:20
That’s great! So being a student, I don’t think we’ve heard anyone put it that way, but that’s so so good. I’m curious, so I started looking through the book. I just got it the other day, so I haven’t had a chance to read it. But in your epilogue, you talked about the future of sales. (Jesse) Yeah,(Bill) and I know you wrote that, like, I think around 2019. So I’m curious, what’s happened in the past year, you know, 2020 continued, are there any thoughts about that? Has your thought of the future of sales changed even more, since you wrote that part of the book.
Jesse Rothstein 3:58
It has a little bit, I think the trends that we’re seeing in our personal lives, very much are following our business to business lives, and I think the pandemic has exactly, you know, exacerbated the concept that in our consumer lives, I mean, if you look at some of the data, regardless of the source, the online purchasing habits for everything we buy now, you know, just went through the roof when the pandemic took hold of the world, and for many folks who never thought about, you know, buying groceries online or buying, you know, pharmacy oriented things online. They figured out how to do that very, very quickly, you know, about a year ago, and that hasn’t necessarily changed, and then in the B2B context, I think it’s the same thing. I think, you know, buyers were incredibly empowered prior to the pandemic and we saw those shifts of them, researching salespeople, researching companies, their products, their services. I think that’s been, you know, exacerbated as a result of the pandemic. So, you know, the trends, I think are accelerating, not to be doom and gloom, but I fully believe that the B2B sales profession is shrinking, and while I don’t think that means the extinction of B2B salespeople, I think it does mean a sending out of folks who are who have the ability to not only find problems, but solve problems for their clients, the days of just exchanging information and transactional, you know, pricing and deal-making, I don’t think those days will ever go away. But I think you’ll see more and more people buying commodity-oriented things online, because that’s what they’re now used to buying for their own personal needs.
Brynne Tillman 5:43
I love that, and so I do agree with commodity products, it’s harder and harder to get in front of the right people, and to get that conversation for sure. One of the things that, you know, we talk about all the time, is that social selling is about being a resource, bringing insights, being a value, and growing relationships, and then the sales will come when the time is right. We have a colleague friend in the business, who had a video that has gone incredibly viral, probably almost a million views on LinkedIn, and she talked about buying a car, and the difference between someone who said: “You have to come in and test drive it”, she was buying a $100,000 Porsche, to someone else that said: “Hey, I’m going to go find it, I’m going to bring it to your house, I’m gonna–”, you know, all these, and how you know that the relationship was the difference in who she purchased from. So in the B2B world, I think that relationship is even stronger and more powerful. and in today’s virtual world, where are you going to meet these people, we used to go to conferences and trade shows, and maybe they’re coming back. I don’t know if they’ll ever come back the same way that they were, because we found that we can do so much more online for less money, and hit more people, and so LinkedIn now becomes the networking meeting, the conference, the trade show. So well, you know, Bob Berg talks about you know, and he’s the one of the authors of the Go Giver, and Endless Referrals, you know, that people do business with people they know, like, and trust. Well, ultimately, how are we getting to know people today? And I think on LinkedIn, it’s about attracting them, teaching them and engaging, and that’s how they get to know us. So thank you for that. I just inspired all that fun-ness in me.
Bill McCormick 7:41
So let’s go back to the shrinking B2B sales force, because I find that that interesting, and I think you’re definitely right. So now if I’m a salesman, then I’m listening. I’m a salesperson, I’m listening to this. Okay, how do I differentiate myself, then? What should I do? Because there’s a lot of noise on LinkedIn right now, there’s a lot of people, you know, that are reaching out, maybe in not so great ways. (Jesse) Yeah. (Bill) And so how do I differentiate myself from all the noise? How do I stand out? What is your advice for that?
Jesse Rothstein 8:17
Yeah, so you know, whether it’s a LinkedIn, in a digital format, or whether it’s another social platform, or even, you know, hopefully, at some point, we can get back to, you know, in person interactions, although I do agree that it may not ever get back to be, you know, the way it once was, my big piece of advice, you know, hasn’t really changed even since the pandemic has kind of taken hold. But I’m a real big believer that salespeople need to be content creators, content distributors, and often resources of value through content, for not only their network, but their prospects and their existing clients. So you know, one of the things that I’m a big proponent of is all salespeople, allocating the right amount of time to not only share content that’s relevant to their industry, or the products and services that they interact with, you know, each and every day as part of their job. But also just being interested in creating, you know, video written, in some cases, visual content if they have artistic abilities. But the idea of being interested in business and in life, you know, that hasn’t changed, because we’re now all in front of screens. So I think salespeople that have this idea of, I am a content creator, I’m a content distributor, and I’m a facilitator of that content. I think that’s a big step in terms of separating themselves from just the classic using social platforms to sell and pitch or connect and pitch. You got to be interesting that’s who people want to interact with, whether it’s in person or digitally.
Brynne Tillman 9:53
They love that, one thing we say is: Connect and Pitch, is a Bait and Switch. (Jesse) True.
Bill McCormick 9:58
Yeah, you’re right, yeah, and so I think that’s a huge differentiator because I think if you were to talk to most salespeople, and I’m going across, I’m being stereotypical here, but I think I can be, as they’ll tell you, they don’t have time, I don’t have time. You know, there’s KPIs and there’s KPAs, right, and the bosses, their sales directors are looking at KPIs. I think of content creation as a KPA, you know, a Known Performance Action that we can do, but really what the leaders are looking for are indicators. But yes, I agree with you that that will set people apart, and an interesting study that I heard from McKinstry did a report on the B2B buying journey through the pandemic, and what they found is that 77% of buyers say they prefer a first meeting with a sales rep to be there, you’re ready, the video, and they even said over a phone call, they would rather it be via video, and so that’s an area that’s not going to change, that’s not going to go away.
Brynne Tillman 11:05
So I just want to–just because we use lots of acronyms, so KPAs or Key Performance Activities, this is for the listeners, right, these are the things that you do that drive KPIs, Key Performance Indicators, most salespeople, most sales leaders are only interested in the indicators, the data, or the activities are what drives the data. So content, for example, in creating content is an activity, and we can’t get to our goals without that activity. But a lot of sales leaders miss how important that activity is, and the last thing I’ll say, and then you go to your next question, which I am excited about is, I love what you said, Jesse, around that they’ve got to create their own content, that content is what shows, it gives your buyers almost a little test drive of the value you can bring for them. (Jesse) Right. So that you know, so what you’re saying I just want to kind of just reiterate for everyone. This is foundational when Bill asked, what gets you to stand out? Original thought leadership and content is why someone would want to talk to you, you have to earn the right and you walk through thought leadership. So I just wanted to say that and Jesse, I think that was brilliant. Bill back to you.
Bill McCormick 12:32
Great! Thanks, so we’re talking about video, and so you mentioned it when you talked about content. I’m curious how you’re leveraging video in the sales process, in the relationship building process now, as a sales rep?
Jesse Rothstein 12:48
Yeah, so I think a couple different ways. First and foremost, when you think about top of funnel, pure prospecting, you know, the ability to leverage, I mean, there’s so many great video tools out there, you’ve got, you got Vid Yard, you’ve got One Mob, even within you know, your smartphone, you have the ability, you know, to take a video of yourself and you can put it on Twitter, you could put it on LinkedIn, or to a certain extent on, you know, linkedin.com with your first-degree connections you can communicate with with video, voicemail, or video messaging, which is powerful. So the top of funnel activity stuff is what you would kind of think, I mean, it’s customized, it’s personal, you know, it’s reaching out using those tools or multiple tools as part of your outbound touches. When you think about getting deeper into the cycle, or getting into the cycle with an existing client or maybe a current deal that you’re working, and you’re you’re piloting something, or you’re got a contract that you’re working to renew, and grow one of them that my team and I at LinkedIn have been leveraging, which has been not only fun, but also engaging with the client is very similar to this interaction on Zoom, where we’re kind of all you know, it’s like a TV show slash, podcast slash, radio interview, you know, we’re doing the same thing where we’re leveraging tools like Zoom, we’re leveraging another one called stream yard, which is, you know, another video recording concept, which does very similar functionality, but the idea of engaging with clients and interviewing them, not necessarily about the product and service that they’re buying from you, and how’s it going and you know, giving it plugs. But more about putting them in the spotlight, and asking them to share their content, and what’s top of mind for them, and then using that as a mechanism to not only educate, you know, other folks at the company, but using it on social platforms to educate the universe as to what it is your client is doing, and maybe how they can help from their perspective. So those are two examples, and again, I think that they work well. But they work well when they’re personal, and they work well when they’re organized, and there’s a delivery and a message that’s relevant if you’re just using it as an automated robotic mechanism to spray and pray. Just like emailing or voicemails, it’s not going to get you too far.
Bill McCormick 15:03
No, in fact, here’s what I’ll say about using automation with your face or your profile picture on it. That’s going to hurt you so badly, because, you know, back in the 80s, when there were telemarketers and then B2B, telemarketers, and then email marketing, we were looking at phone numbers, company names or an email that got deleted. Now we’re looking at people’s faces, right, and they’re putting a personality to that, and so I–that’s terrible. It’s terrible. But listen, if you’re listening to this, Jesse just gave you some awesome information to use, to take your clients, serve them, right. But then interview them so that you can use, you know, several different uses for that content. You know, you’re serving your client, you’re highlighting your client, but then you’re also getting content that you can then repurpose and use over. So when you say, Well, I don’t have time to do whatever, I don’t have time to create content. Yes, you do. You have time to create content, and in creating that content, you’re actually serving your client, which is serving the KPIs while you’re doing the KPA, and I know Brynne wants to say something.
Brynne Tillman 16:15
No, I love this, this is such great, like mic drop moments. You know, a few that are beyond even that content, right? That content is awesome, and people love to share their point of view, it makes them feel special. But competitors want to hear what their colleagues are doing right? Benchmark reports are so valuable, so you will attract more people like your client, because they want to see what my competitor is up to and what they are doing. So that content is awesome, you know, you build a stronger relationship, and it could be with a prospect too, it doesn’t even have to be necessarily with your client, and you’re asking them their point of view that other people like them will care about, and you’ll start to attract and engage like a whole sector of people that you are looking to get in front of, and eventually, it won’t happen right away, you’ll get hands raised and say: “Hey, I want to be on your show too. Because I want to be like these people”.
Bill McCormick 17:39
So we’re going to kind of bring this in for a landing here. Last question is about consistency. What is one thing, if I’m a sales professional and I’m listening to you now. What’s one thing that if I do it consistently, is going to create more opportunities, more conversations for me?
Jesse Rothstein 17:39
Calendar Management and Time Management, the single most important skill that a salesperson can master. Unfortunately, it’s often not taught by sales effectiveness, or sales readiness teams at medium, or small, or large companies. But everything that salespeople do: content creation, prospecting, follow up building decks, allocating time for their own wellness to get away from their screen. To me my opinion, and this is, you know, referenced pretty heavily in the book, it all comes down to calendar and time management, I can’t stress it enough Bill and Brynne, your points about, you know, people saying they don’t have time to do this or that, that’s a false objection. There are enough hours in the day, and I’m not saying you need to be working 80 to 100 hour weeks. But there are enough hours in the day if you’re organized to do what you need to do as a salesperson to build that consistency, and ultimately, when you do those small things well, over time, they add up to really, really big things, and anyone who’s been in this profession for a while and kind of knows the ups and downs and how it happens. A lot of times, you know, it takes months, if not years to get large things to develop. But it’s the consistency and the persistence through the time management as to how those results are achieved.
Brynne Tillman 19:04
I know we said that was the last question. Can I ask one more because we have–
Bill McCormick 19:09
Your name’s on the–your name’s on the door, you can ask.
Brynne Tillman 19:15
So we are obsessed with Sales Navigator. Sales Navigator is the tool that pays for the door, right, like Sales Navigator is foundational. But we will get the question and we have our answer well, is it worth the money. We have 100 sales reps, that’s a big nut every month. What do you say to them, Jesse?
Jesse Rothstein 19:39
Yeah, I mean, it’s 100% worth the investment, if you’re making the investment with an intention to wire it into your overall commercial strategy, and you have a plan to measure it. Meaning, you know, if I was a sales director and I was or even a CEO of a company, and I was thinking about all my investments. Whether it’s something like LinkedIn Sales Navigator or other software, or even something as simple as, are we going to provide people with laptops, headsets and webcams? It’s a matter of saying: “How does this ultimately flow to the macro level commercial strategy, hopefully around growth, and hopefully with a plan to measure”. But if you’re a business person or a decision-maker, and you’re going to buy a LinkedIn Sales Navigator or anything for your team, your company, and you don’t have it connected to your commercial strategy, and you don’t have a plan to measure, you shouldn’t make the investment, and that just goes across, you know, any investment you’d make for your business.
Brynne Tillman 20:40
What’s the one reason, I mean, I know mine, but what’s the one thing that Sales Navigator will do for their team, that they don’t have access to now, and can’t with any other tool?
Jesse Rothstein 20:51
It’s just the access to the data, you know, the company information, the people information, you know, LinkedIn has built a very large commercial business on the fact that the majority of the data on LinkedIn comm is gated, and when you start looking at products like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you’re getting the access to the data, and the ability to organize that data based on your use case, and ultimately, if your time is valuable, and you want to make the best decisions with your time as a business person every single day, you need to be looking at accurate data, and you know, in the commercial world today, I’m not aware of another platform that has more accurate commercial data, that auto-updates in real-time based on the people who offer their profiles, and the companies who offer their company pages. So to me, that’s it. It’s about the access to the data.
Brynne Tillman 21:42
I–we can’t agree more. That’s all fantastic!
Bill McCormick 21:45
Well, Jesse, thank you so much for being with us here in Making Sales Social. How can people get in touch with you, stay in touch with you, connect–(Brynne)and buy your Book. (Bill) Yeah.
Jesse Rothstein 21:53
Thank you both for having me, it was great to chat, so I’m available on LinkedIn, I’m also on Twitter. I do a newsletter for salespeople and sales leaders on Substack, and the book is available, Carry That Quota on Amazon, Audible, and all other global outlets where books are sold. Whether you’re a listener or a reader, you can access it pretty easily, as long as you have an internet connection, and you know, a hardcopy or softcopy, they’re all there.
Bill McCormick 22:22
Fantastic! So listen, go visit Amazon, Audible. all those places, check the book out, go on to LinkedIn, look up Jesse Rothstein. Follow him and connect with them, if you connect with them, let them know that you heard him on Making Sales Social. So thanks everyone for joining us for Making Sales Social. Thanks again, Jesse. Bye everyone. Have a great day.