Episode 37: Carson Heady – Uncovering Blockers in Sales Relationships and Leveraging Social Tools Effectively
In this episode, Brynne and Bill are joined by Carson Heady, director of health solutions – U.S. Health & Life Sciences at Microsoft. Tune in how you can find success by focusing on the quality and the quantity of outreach, and building a community around what you’re doing.
Carson Heady 0:00
Sales is social by nature if you do it effectively, because it’s all about people, everything that has happened that’s been meaningful in my career, whether it’s a meaningful win with a client, or whether it was something that transpired in my working environment has been because of a relationship, and because of the social element. It’s funny that that term and how it’s evolved because several years ago, when I was doing it, it was almost an anomaly to a lot of people, right now, social selling is just selling, because being in a pandemic, and with a lot of meetings go into virtual, if you’re not leveraging some of these tools to broker meetings, and to have effective meetings and relationships. Then where are you, you’re falling behind.
Intro (Bob Woods) 0:41
Welcome to the Making Sales Social podcast, featuring the top voices in 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. You can also listen to us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Visit our website socialsaleslink.com for more information.
Bill McCormick 1:18
Hey everyone! Welcome to Making Sales Social, I’m Bill McCormick.
Brynne Tillman 1:22
I’m Brynne Tillman.
Bill McCormick 1:23
So Brynne, who’s joining us today?
Brynne Tillman 1:25
I am so thrilled, we have Carson Heady, who is not just an enterprise account executive at Microsoft, but is also the author of Salesman On Fire. I first found Carson on a Jeb Blunt’s Sales Gravy podcast years ago, I was blown away and have been following him ever since, and we had him here today. Hi, Carson!
Carson Heady 1:52
Brynne, Bill. Thanks for having me.
Brynne Tillman 1:54
Thanks for being had. I’m kidding, sorry, it just came out, tell us a little bit about you, about your book, and your role at Microsoft.
Carson Heady 2:05
Sure. No, I really appreciate the opportunity. I’ve been with Microsoft for 7 years, so I was with AT&T 9 years prior. I’ve always been in sales and leadership roles since I’ve, you know, my career started and, you know, Jeb really enjoyed being a part of that ecosystem, engaging with other sellers and thought leaders in the sales space. So, you know, with Microsoft, I’ve had a few different roles over the years, as an individual contributor and also as a leader, and I’m also currently the social selling lead for one of our health care organizations at Microsoft. So I get to spend a lot of time with, you know, different teams, different people, coaching and talking about that very thing, you know, how can we leverage social effectively, effectively for our clients, and effectively for our colleagues. So it’s very near and dear to my heart. Sales On Fire, you asked about the book, so I wrote a book about, I guess, wow, 11 years ago. I don’t know how I had the audacity to write anything about sales that young in my career, because my perspective has evolved a lot. But Salesman On Fire is kind of a conglomeration of experiences, and, you know, perspectives that I’ve gleaned, and also had the privilege of gleaning from others over the last decade. (Brynne) Fabulous.
Bill McCormick 3:19
Wow, so a sales leader that also teaches his team social selling, we could be here for a really long time. But Carson, to start out, we asked all of our guests on Making Sales Social, the same question to start out: What does making sales social mean to you?
Carson Heady 3:37
Love the question, sales is social by nature, if you do it effectively, because it’s all about people, everything that has happened, that’s been meaningful in my career, whether it’s a meaningful win with a client, or whether it was something that transpired in my working environment has been because of a relationship and because of the social element. So for me social selling, which it’s funny, that that term, and how it’s evolved, because several years ago, when I was doing it, it was almost an anomaly to a lot of people right now, social selling is just selling because being in a pandemic, and with a lot of meetings go into virtual, if you’re not leveraging some of these tools to broker meetings, and to have effective meetings and relationships, then where are you, you’re falling behind. So for me, it’s from a social and putting social into selling perspective. The social aspect is already there. It’s, how can we leverage our skills and the tools at our disposal, to really tap into the people part of it, but also to stay at the pulse of what matters and to enhance our probability of success. I know for a fact that if I leverage tools effectively, I can get more meetings. I know for a fact that if I leverage these tools effectively, I can gather more research and intel about the people that I’m talking with and their priorities, and I also know for a fact that if I leverage these tools effectively, I can manage the relationship well over time. So Bill, you know, to best answer your question, the socials there. It’s really all about how we can do it better in, you know, to meaning, you know, to have meaningful wins with clients, but also with relationships.
Brynne Tillman 5:18
I love that, I have to ask you, so I am going to make an assumption that LinkedIn, in particular, Sales Navigator is one of those tools. Are there any other tools? Or correct me If that’s not–Are there any other tools that you have found, help you make sales more social?
Carson Heady 5:33
Yeah, so good question, and, you know, obviously, I worked for Microsoft, we purchased LinkedIn. So you know, not an endorsement. I’ve been using LinkedIn since I remember when I got my first LinkedIn message over a decade ago, and I was like, what is this? Is this something I got to add to my repertoire? You know, it’s changed over the years, and I can tell you that you know, where a seller sometimes makes the mistake, as we think there’s one silver bullet, you cannot rely on LinkedIn or Sales Navigator alone. I mean, it could be business journals, it could be email alerts, it could be other websites that helped me kind of boil down geography or industry-specific Intel. You know, I’ve supported a variety of industries over the years. So it’s whatever keeps you at the pulse of what’s going on. I mean, I saw an announcement out of the Business Journal a few years ago, of a new C level being named at an organization that I supported. So I acted very quickly, I was in their office the week before anybody else because it was our first week in town, and we beat the competitors to the stage because of that, and this was an organization that I had not done business with before. The other thing that I’d point out to Brynne is that, until you know, salespeople care about results periods, it’d be one thing for me to go to somebody and say: “Hey, social selling works”. But it’s quite another thing, social selling works, and here are several different wins. That only happened because of social selling, and if I listed my top 10 wins, that only happened because of social selling, each one would have a different unique story, different unique tool that caused me to act, you just have to make sure you have that Intel, and that you do act when the time is appropriate.
Bill McCormick 7:12
In the words of Larry Levine and Darrell Amy: so good, so good. So that my brain is going in a million miles, different directions of where I want to go with this book. But really what I want to get to is, so you are a sales leader in one of the top companies in the country, and you’ve been given the task of teaching them social selling, a lot of our listeners are either sales reps or their sales leaders. How can they begin to introduce social selling techniques at a high level to their organization? Because let’s face it, there is a lot of pushback in sales, on some of the techniques that are used in social media.
Carson Heady 7:54
That question is important, Bill. It’s important because as I alluded, it was an anomaly when I started doing some of these things, and I didn’t have the results yet to back it up, and frankly, I know it’s easy for a lot of people to say: “Oh, hey, he works for Microsoft, it’s got to be easy to get in the door”. I cut my teeth on these things working for a consulting firm that had no brand name. So it was really about, I can control a couple of things, I can control the quality and the quantity of my outreach. So I just tried to do both of those things better than what’s out there, better than the other people that are trying to do the same things that I’m trying to do. So you’ve got to work to get results that can back you up. Because I can’t go to a leader in my organization and say: “Hey, we should do all this social selling stuff”. It sounds great, and certainly it’s easy to explain the methodology, and why it could work. But when you can point to distinct and specific wins. I had a win several years ago, where I was able to create a relationship, and frankly, I went in and under a pretense that it would be a relatively small deal. I was just trying to create relationships, and I did a kind of a scale approach. I reached out to a lot of people in this organization and others for a sales play that I had concocted, and by doing that, this ended up being a very large win, by the way. By doing that, that’s when I had the initial platform to be able to tell that story. But you also can’t be a one trick pony, one win is not going to, you know, turn you into this evangelist where you can share this broadly. So it was doing this at several different organizations, always making sure to make: “Hey, social selling played a part in this”, and I even do that today. If social selling is playing a part in this, it’s critical that you point out the why and how behind the importance of social to everybody that you talk to, so that everybody else understands, and people are in awe sometimes of the relationships that I’ve been able to form. I know what I’m good at and I know what I’m not, and what I am good at is, I can create the relationship, open the door and then I bring the smart people in with me, as an orchestrator. So you know when you’re talking about that, it wasn’t just one day, I just you know, called my boss and said: “Hey, I want to evangelize social selling”, it took years of process, process improvement, results to be able to back it up, I basically created my own role in a massive organization, because of the results and the relationships that were created, and now I’m very blessed and fortunate to be able to connect with sellers all over the world, in this company, and others to be able to talk about how social can be better leveraged.
Brynne Tillman 10:28
I love that! Oh, so good! So, you know, as I’m listening to you, I’m thinking, you know, a lot of people see social selling as the very top of the funnel and there’s certainly a big place for that. But what I’m hearing is that social selling is for the entire journey, right? So at the top of the funnel, we’re looking at who is inside of this organization, and I want to socially surround this organization by connecting, and engaging, and providing value to many different stakeholders, and maybe even get in through a warm market referral. right. So that’s the very top, talk to me a little bit about your insights, because I heard for a minute like, kind of throughout the sales process, what are a couple of things that you teach that you evangela and you promote, evangelize! Thank you, love this country and find the language difficult, that you evangelize, right? On the like, in the middle of the funnel, and you know, and throughout the buyer journey.
Carson Heady 11:33
Brynne, I’m so glad that you asked that question, because I think a lot of people, if you take a short sighted lens to it to realize that: “Hey, sure, I might be able to get a meeting”. That’s one thing, but it’s once you get the meeting, that it’s you go from there, like, I had a president of an organization that I met a few years back, and it’s one thing to get that meeting, but I went in very prepared, I gave him a copy of my CEOs book, I had highlighted a passage for him that I quoted, and that was kind of the impetus for the story in the talk track, and that led to a very, very meaningful relationship, the people that we meet, and so I’m a big believer to in developing a first-degree connection via LinkedIn as an example, because over time, these people will move on, they’ll get promoted. I’ve had many, many times where I developed a strong relationship with somebody, they moved on to another organization. Now, rather than my relationship just being with this organization, I have two, it’s multiplied. Man, it’s all in because of the over time, how do we invest in that relationship? Somebody told me years ago, find ways to stay top of mind in your social approach. So it isn’t always me calling and saying, you know: “Hey, where are we with this sales milestone”, it’s, “Hey, I saw this social post, and it made me think of a conversation that we had a couple of weeks ago, so I’m going to send this to you”, it takes me five seconds. But it’s an investment in that relationship that lasts forever, they will remember that when the pandemic started, as an example, I kind of put a full stop on normal prospecting mechanisms, and I reached out to a lot of people that I was connected to on LinkedIn, and just send them like a video or a voice message and just said: “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking about you. I’m thinking about you and your family, praying for you guys. If there’s anything at all that pops-up, and me, any of my contacts, my organization can help in any way, shape or form, please don’t hesitate to ask”, it was that simple. But those are the things that invest in the relationship, you want a meaningful relationship, and if we focus on people and process, we’ll be successful. I’ve never worried about a result, a day in my life. But if we focus on people and process over time, and we’re consistent in that application of process and attention to people, you’re guaranteed to be successful. So Brynne, at the heart of your question, it’s about how can you open that door, but also, how can you leverage these social tools to stay in touch in a meaningful way over time, and stay top of mind with social posts with social engagement.
Brynne Tillman 13:56
And so I love that, it just everything you’re saying resonates with us, and it totally aligns with everything that we talked about, and the idea of staying top of mind is really important. But what I loved most about what you said is these are human beings, these are people and one of the things that we really strive for is detaching from what the client is worth to us, and attaching to what we are worth to the client, and when we can do that, we build really strong relationships, which is so much better than a quick sale.
Carson Heady 14:29
I realized very quickly, I’m rarely, nor do I need to be, the smartest guy in the room, when I’m surrounded by all this brilliance, but the value that I can bring is what I try to focus on. So looking for ways to–I created newsletters, I created, you know, webinars, I created a community around what we were doing all through social tools, and so inviting people to come to the table, even if it’s a passive way of doing it, making a social post, or inviting somebody to a webinar, or sending them a newsletter or building a community around what you’re doing, they can be as involved as they want to be, and I found over time I had a situation a few years back where a client, I could not get them to talk to me for over two years, nobody in this organization would engage. But I kept inviting them to everything, kept sending them newsletters, and one day, they showed up on a webinar, and we actually were able to engage. It was kind of a small audience, it was interactive, and after that, we had a call, and I uncovered some blockers in the relationship between my organization and their organization, and worked on building the relationship within six months, we signed a substantial deal, and so you never know when you’re going to engage or the impact that you could have. So find a way again, to focus on the quality and the quantity of outreach, build a community around what you’re doing, and you’ll find success.
Brynne Tillman 15:49
Yeah, I mean, we need to bring insights, be a value, build relationships, the sales will come when the time is right.
Bill McCormick 15:55
Right, persistence, so persistence is for any salesperson. Persistence is like critique, yes, polite, but I’m just talking about persistence up here. I mean, that having that and the soft skill of knowing that I need to be persistent at this, that just because someone’s not responding to me, doesn’t mean that it’s a no, it just means it’s not right now, and I love what you said about the whole empathy of last year, and guess what, we’re still in that, you know, we may be coming out of this pandemic, but people are still going through and struggling with things, you know, I love the meme that’s out there. You know, we’re all in the same storm, but we’re all in different boats, and we don’t know what someone’s boat looks like and so I just love that. We need to start kind of trying to bring this to a landing, which is so hard. But you talked about consistency, you talked about being out on social media, and so if I’m a salesman, I’m listening to this. Where do I start? If I’ve just never been on social media? I’ve never used it for sales. Maybe I’m just picking up the phone, and dialing for dollars kind of a person? How do I get started? What are some first steps you’d recommend?
Carson Heady 17:11
The biggest misstep that I see us take as sellers, and I’m guilty of this too, is that I start out on a path, and then I just don’t execute and follow-through, you’ve got to be consistent, schedule, meaningful time to do social, it could be 30 minutes a week, could be 20-30 minutes a day, maybe you start your day, just kind of going out there, put some posts out there for the day, maybe engage some people, do some prospecting. The other thing, Bill, you mentioned this as well, you know, look, I’m a salesperson, I’ve been told No, or been unable to get in front of the people that I’ve wanted to talk to many, many, many, many times in my career. But if this executive doesn’t respond, guess what, I’ll reach out to a swarm, I’ll reach out to the 20 others that might surround them or influence them. And I try to connect with them too. Because guess what, I will connect with one of them, then once I get in, I can build some positive momentum. So be very intentional about how you’re trying to connect. I’ve reached out to over 500 people in some organizations just to have some meaningful relationships, and you’re not going to talk to all of them. But if you do that, you will gain valuable Intel valuable relationships, and you’ll ultimately get where you want. I’ve gotten into many, many C suites, not always top down. Sometimes I’ve swarmed the influencers in the BDMS and gotten to the table. So be very intentional with your approach, control quality and quantity, and schedule consistent time to execute over time, because you don’t just go out and plant seeds, or you know, how your garden one time, you have to do it consistently over the years. That’s how you have a garden.
Bill McCormick 18:45
Yeah, and that’s gold right there. If you’re listening to this, I hope you’ll pause it, rewind, and listen to it again, and do that a few times. Because there’s so much good that’s in there. Because listen, what we know is there’s no one decision-maker anymore. There’s not one person that’s making a decision about whether to buy your product or your service. It’s being done by a team of people. So the more people that you can, what we call, socially surrounding a company, the better off you are, and here’s my tidbit of the day: always, always, always connect with the human resources people because they know everybody, so really, really good stuff. We could probably go on for another hour, but we’re out of time. Carson, just tell everyone, how can people connect with you, stay in touch with you, find your books, where can they find your books?
Carson Heady 19:33
Yeah, please reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’m also on Twitter, I have a WordPress blog and all the books are available through Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. I love conversations like this, because they get me fired up, and I think especially in a pandemic, the more we can connect meaningfully with other people, other sellers, other leaders, the better we all get. So thank you so much. I’m honored to be here.
Brynne Tillman 19:57
This was so much fun!
Bill McCormick 20:00
Many many gems throughout us, so thank you so much, we will put all that contact information in the Resources Page, which you can download here at Bright Talk. But listen, thanks so much for being with us today, from Making Sales Social, Carson Hetty, thanks so much for being with us today.