Yes/No? Why? And if yes, how? When? About what?
Where have you had your best conversations with peers and prospects? Is it in the conference room meeting? Likely not- sometimes I think of conference rooms as stages where everyone plays a part. It can be fun, and it can be tragic. Maybe it's in passing in the hallway or by the water cooler, or over lunch?
My Wed lunch conversations with the members of the Inbound Networkers group are some of my favorite. And when things become my favorite, I will find a way to take part. This week we held our first panelist discussion, and I am pretty excited that Frank Belzer- author of "Sales Shift", Peter Caputa- VP, Sales & Marketing at Hubspot and Rick Roberge, Advisor to Sales Rock Stars were the first ones to step up and set the bar for future ones.
Rick came up with the idea, and it is a hot topic for many on both sides of the issue. It seemed to cross an invisible line for both sales and marketing professionals alike. Tell a marketer that the sales people will blog, and they may react with words that include "used car salesman." Tell a sales person that they should blog, and words like "waste of time" may come up.
So as a group, we gathered additional questions from those who registered about sales people blogging. Check out the panelists answers below and tell me what you think. Or catch the recording of 'Should sales people blog?' on Rick's site.
Who are the best #salesbloggers?
Peter-Frank, Rick of course! But also Jill Konrath.
Frank-The Hubspot Sales blog because they have no agenda. Seth Godin- they are short and sweet and mobile friendly. Chris Brogan has interesting stuff that sales people could apply.
Rick- What are the qualities of the best sales bloggers? Are you a good story teller? Can you take every day real life events and share those stories? Become awesome by starting with the basics.
Questions about what to blog about as a #salesblogger:
- What topics to blog about?
- If you have 100+ sales reps blogging on the same topics is it still relevant?
- Appropriate style and content for professional blog posts; also, what is the value?
- Is blogging just writing? What are some other ways that sales people can help create content? (ie: video, social)
- How to help salespeople ID the stories that make good content?
- How to help them get over the need for perfection and treat it as a conversation?
- How content can be used by sales people in each stage of the funnel; curation as part of their process.
- Do you included non-business topics (personal) on the blog to show a little personality?
Frank- What you blog about and how, or where depends. It doesn't always have to be about the product, service, or industry. Maybe it is their hobby on their own personal blog. But if you want to get leads, tell success stories and problems you have solved. People will research you online before they do business with you. It makes you a real person.
Most don't have this problem of people contributing too much content. Understand that you need to have people who want to do it. If you have to force them, it's not going to likely be good content. Like trying to get people who hate networking to do it. It's a cultural thing. Gary Vaynerchuck was just on Inc talking about social. Sometimes we forget that social IS personal.
Peter- If you walked into a sales meeting and told them all they were going to starting blogging, they would look at you like you have 2 heads. There's no time! Having an editorial central base is great. Every one has a take on the same thing. More is better with content. Every sales person needs to learn how to build rapport. Buyers need to see you as a human and not a sales person.
Rick- If you are aligned around your buyer persona, so is your culture. Homegenius groups that are match with the personality of the buyer will help.
Questions about how to get started as a #salesblogger
- How to integrate blogging into daily/weekly business development activity? Tips for becoming an active blogger for non-bloggers.
- How to create the blogging habit in sales people?
- How do you keep to a schedule of blogging without getting derailed by
prospects that need your attention and time? How do you get sales people to find the time to blog?
Frank- the sales people that like it and believe it will do it. Those that don't, won't. There will never be time. It's a mindset.
Peter- make the commitment, block out the time. Motivation is hard, you have to want to and then you will see the benefits. Start using your own content in the sales process.
Questions about the challenges of #salesbloggers and how to overcome them.
- What is the best way to convince others in sales to blog?
- How would you motivate a client (or their salespeople) to spend their time blogging?
- How to change sales mindset I am too busy?
- How to build a successful community of sales people sharing same view on future sales models?
- How to get salespeople to actually buy into blogging?
- How will this benefit our family owned business/ petroleum industry?
- How to deal with corporate restrictions on employee blogging (e.g. financial or franchise companies)?
Peter- you have to see the other side to be motivated. It's like saying picking up the phone can't benefit your business. To deal with corporate restriction on employee blogging (like in finance or franchises).expect to publish in 60 days, not that day. Have a compliance department. For a franchise-they should be coordinating this. THe more who blog, it raises the franchise brand as a whole.
Frank- how do you define benefit? People are looking for information from someone who knows. If they find you, they start their buying process with you and not the competitor. Sales leaders need to acknowledge those that contribute. Comment and share with peers!
You can list your personal blog on your Linkedin profile. While you can't write confidential info, you can talk about how you connect to your role as a professional. We all have stuff we can't talk about, but you find ways to work within the restrictions.
Rick- Personal stories on a business blog. You don't have to talk about the fact that you are financial advisor, but you can make people curious about you. Don't be afraid to be a human.
My stance on the subject was inspired by a commenter in a Linkedin group. When asked if sales people should blog, they responded to my post saying, "I don't think sales people should be given the opportunity to do anything but sell. Give them a blog and they'll take liberties ... all of a sudden, out comes a comment that is taken as an opinion – not from the sales rep but from your company. You can fire the sales rep but you can't repair a reputation that easily. Since few people take advice like that, I say go ahead and try it – see what happens – if it's the last thing your business does."
If you can't trust your sales people to blog, how can you expect your buyers to trust them at all?
2 more things: