About nine years ago, I got connected to the world's leading expert on LinkedIn, Viveka von Rosen. This was back in my laptop bag-carrying, full-on hardcore B2B selling days. Most people at the time were primarily just using LinkedIn as a place to store their digital résumé. So, when I found all of the great content Viveka was putting out about how to use LinkedIn as a tool for sales people to prospect for new business, I was extremely interested to learn as much as possible from her.
Known internationally as the "LinkedIn Expert," she is the author of the best-selling "LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day" and "LinkedIn: 101 Ways to Rock Your Personal Brand!" As a contributing "expert" to LinkedIn's official Sales and Marketing blogs and their "Sophisticated Marketer's" Guides. She regularly shares her knowledge as a contributor to major publications like Fast Company, Forbes, Money, Entrepreneur, and The Social Media Examiner. Viveka has provided training to over 100K+ people on how to grow their business by sharing the tools and strategies people need them most in order to succeed on LinkedIn.
Over time, Viveka has become a mentor, colleague, and friend of mine. I was thrilled to catch up with her this week. Here is what she shared about her latest venture, and how companies can use digital sales to grow their revenue.
John White: You've taken a new turn in your career and joined forces with some pretty amazing influencers in the digital space. How did the idea for Vengreso come about, and who are the people behind it?
Viveka von Rosen: Ever since I started in the social media industry back in 2006, I've been incredibly impressed with the quality and support of my colleagues. From my early days when Jason Alba and Bob Burg and Mari Smith supported me in my fledgling efforts, to just last year when Mario Martinez, Brynne Tillman, and I shared in a project Brynne started called Social Sales GPS, I've been struck by the supportive nature of our industry.
What does that have to do with your question? I'm getting to it! Of the five members, Brynne Tillman, Phil Gerbyshak, and I were all entrepreneurs. Bernie Borges had run a successful business for many years, and both Mario Martinez and Kurt Shaver had graduated to social selling from their corporate sales positions. Because of our experience with Social Sales GPS, Mario conceived of the idea of pulling some of the world's leading social selling and LinkedIn experts into one company. Each member of Vengreso came with an extremely large network, so at launch we became the largest full-spectrum provider of digital sales transformation.
It's amazing when you think of it. We were all, in fact, competitors, and yet he was posing the idea that we come together as a new company. We still get people who can't believe he "pulled it off."
But the fact is, I am thrilled to work with these other experts, to learn from them, to share my knowledge and particular areas of expertise, and to warm in the mutual support.
John: Many companies are still struggling to find the best ways to leverage tech and the social selling tools that are out there. What are the top ways digital selling can help companies grow?
Viveka: The first thing to be aware of in the world of digital transformation is that it's not all sales. There must be a combination of marketing and sales. When we approach a client or when a client requests our services, we make sure that there is an alignment between their marketing and sales strategies.
To expand upon what I mentioned earlier, the other important thing is mindset. If an employee or client does not have the right mindset, then we can teach them everything they need to know and give them all the tools they need and nothing will ever change. And that's where a lot of social selling trainers fail. They provide tools and strategies, but fail to change the mindset of their audience, and very little (or no) action is taken and everyone's time and money is wasted.
Once we make sure our clients have the right mindset to move forward, we teach them the skillsets they need to use the digital channels effectively when connecting with and building trust with prospects and customers throughout the whole sales journey.
Finally, we provide an understanding of how to use the proper tools to maximize that efficiency. Since, collectively, we have worked with over 2000 companies and 85,000 individuals, we know what is needed in order to be effective in this ecosystem.
John: LinkedIn recently launched the ability to do video natively on the platform. How should people be using it to sell their products, services, etc.?
Viveka: I am so excited that LinkedIn finally has a "live" video feature. What it allows you to do is record a video either from your phone or (coming soon) from your computer, and share that video in your feed. What this means is that people get a true sense of who you are and what your business is. If a picture is worth a thousand words, just imagine what a video can be worth to your brand.
With just a little planning and some really good content, you might be able to reach an audience you've never been able to reach before and you may be able to convert an audience that was previously skeptical of your company, product, or service.
One of the ways that you can use native video on LinkedIn is to promote a webinar or a training that you're doing. You could even give people a glimpse into some of the content that you will be sharing.
You can use it to promote your own book or somebody else's book. I recently did a native video for Anthony Lannarino and at last count, that video has had almost 8000 views. I rarely get that kind of visibility or engagement on YouTube.
If you regularly attend trade shows or conferences, this is an amazing opportunity to interview an influencer or change agent at that conference.
LinkedIn video should be integrated into every sales organization's strategy! Additionally, you could do product demonstrations or interviews. Use it to train your clients on a specific feature and show the value to their business.