Sales

Who’s in Your Sphere of Influence and Why Does it Matter?

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The fearless marketer is one that:

  1. Has a revenue attribution mindset
  2. Has a digital sales motion skillset
  3. Has a sales and marketing aligned toolkit

He has extended his hands to partner with sales leaders as a driving force for modern, digital selling. This marketer will Create, Organize, Distribute, and Evaluate Engagement (C.O.D.E.) alongside their sales team. Every asset and campaign is designed with increasing sales quota attainment, per sales professional, in mind. But how can the fearless marketer ensure that their sales team is set up for success?

In this blog, I’ll personally help you understand how the fearless marketer can help set her team up for success. 

Current Challenge

The challenge that sales and marketing have when they begin developing account target lists (by geography, vertical, or strategic accounts) is that someone always does a quick Google search: “What are the largest ABC companies in XYZ industry.” This is called “wallet-share” account selection. While acquiring the biggest, baddest companies in any vertical is important, you aren’t the only company trying to sell to them—by a long shot.

Who Influences Your Customer?

The “sphere of influence” flips this model on its head. To utilize your sphere of influence is to leverage your EXISTING customers as a centerpiece and reverse-engineer the companies and contacts that are within one degree of “social proximity” from your customers. Think about it… sell into accounts where we have the greatest advocates.

Marketing works with sales to war-room a list of new target accounts that have a higher probability/convertibility. Marketing then develops storyboards for these accounts, specifically telling stories about your customer success. You’re telling these stories ONLY to those people that have the highest propensity to understand/care about those stories.

One example of this is job changes from existing customers to new logos. Tools like LinkedIn allow you to map and create a trigger-alert anytime a champion, influencer, or decision-maker leaves your existing customer to join a logo you don’t already have. Your sales team can then engage the advocate at the new logo with well-timed (just as they start their new role), and well positions insights (a reminder of the successes their previous employer had with your solutions).

Why This Works

Here’s one example for you: I met Jill Rowley, Chief Growth Officer at Marketo, through Bob Perkins, CEO of AA-ISP when we were both asked to speak at the AA-ISP Social Selling Summit in 2013. What I didn’t know yet is that Jill had been tasked with training 23k sales professionals on the Why, What, and How-to-Do Social Selling. At the time, she knew very little about sales training. Through this, Jill and I became in each other’s sphere of influence. She was vital to bringing in my company, Sales for Life, to train her team on social selling. Now, five years later, Jill’s hiring Sales for Life again to train the global sales organization on digital selling. Building that relationship was empowering for both of us.

Taking it a Step Further

Once you’ve utilized the sphere of influence model, it’s time to further engage your potential customers. As your sales team is ready to engage accounts, marketing can help the sales team organize a library of rich insights to leverage. These insights are meant to really push a buyer to think differently and question the status quo. The modern, digital seller will reach far beyond just slinging a blog article over to a customer. The modern, digital seller will humanize and synthesize the insights with video. This will really engage the customer and highlight the authenticity of the seller.

The return on video is immense. With my company, we see 10x to 30x read-to-response rates. And, customers all over the world are increasing their opportunity creation percentage because their marketing and sales team are aligning to deliver insights that truly help the buyer. This marketing and sales partnership is the way to fully utilize your sphere of influence. Think of the example I cited with Jill and how now, even five years later, our spheres still intersect to create opportunities.

Have you utilized your sphere of influence to create sales opportunities before? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.