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A Vanity Fair. Likes and views look pretty good.

by Derek Laliberte 03 Nov 2021

Inside the fast life of the development of my previous sale culture that took a different point of view on prospecting. An idea that saw engagement rates with prospects soar and changed the game. 

According to HubSpot, "vanity metrics" include data that pass the eye exam but don't impact your business goals. Then again, what happens if you put those vanity metrics to use?

November 8th, 2016: Election Day

I was twenty rows back patiently, waiting for Gary Vaynerchuk's keynote. I was sitting next to three colleagues, two of whom were in marketing and the other on our sales team. It was HubSpot's annual Inbound Conference, and I wasn't there to learn anything about Inbound Marketing. Instead, I was there to soak up everything I could possibly absorb on the topic of Sales Enablement. Then Gary Vee came on stage and confirmed everything that was turning inside my brain. "Stop caring what other people think, figure out what you're good at, and get tunnel vision." 

That story has nothing directly to do with the presidential election but what happened on November 9th does.

November 9th, 2016: Paid, Owned, Earned Media

If you don't know what Paid, owned, and earned are, stop and read this first.

On this particular day, I attended a seminar entitled: "Paid, Owned, & Earned Media: How Donald Trump used inbound marketing to Win the Presidency." Just to clarify, I'm not going to state my political views with you or anyone but, I will tell you this. What I heard during this seminar opened my eyeballs to a new world of opportunity. Donald Trump spent $10 million on Advertising during the primaries and, in return earned just shy of $2 Billion in free media. To give you a frame of reference, Hillary spent $28 million and earned only $746 million in earned media.  In case you weren't alive in 2016, the primary method for communicating with their audience was Twitter. Ethical or unethical, collectively, they were averaging nearly 40 tweets a day to their almost 50 million followers.  My thoughts walking out of that seminar weren't whether I agree with who won or lost the election, but rather how my future sales development team would approach prospecting. 

The Cadence

It was November 2016, and my tenure in this role would be a team of one person for another five months, and yet, I already had a 52-page digital sales playbook penned and printed in my satchel (Indiana Jones wears one). In my playbook, I had what I thought was a complete step-by-step process on how we would approach prospects we actively wanted to engage with and the methods we would use to do so. In November 2016, after hearing a seminar on how our presidency was won, I channeled my inner "Gary Vee" and said, I'm going to do something different this time. We are going to add some new methods of prospecting to the process. 

Up until this point, our cadence only consisted of the following prospecting behaviors:

  • LinkedIn Messages
  • LinkedIn InMail's
  • Calls
  • Emails
  • Handwritten notes/mailers

I knew that actively, and when applied in the correct sequence, this could be a very effective way for us to reach new prospects, yet still, I felt as if something was missing. I began to ponder a few ideas. What if we put the same efforts into being top of mind for our audience, and we used that notion to build one? I figured at the very least, we could fail fast enough that nobody would notice. There's just one problem, we didn't fail. In fact, we were a wild success. With that, our passive cadence was born. 

We Prospect While we Sleep.

We have an opportunity to build an audience socially, simply by often posting and with tons of context. We can earn media by merely being creative in our approach. In this profession, I have always known that a salesperson needs to see and be seen by as many people as humanly possible. With LinkedIn, we can make ourselves known. For lack of a better word, we can be famous. What I mean is, we can be at the top of everyone's home feed every single time they open it up. Our prospects and connections will always know what we do and how we do it. Most importantly, though, they will know who we are, and they won't be afraid to connect with us. 

So, I made up a goal, let's get famous. I decided to add posting on LinkedIn, one of the metrics we will track daily. Please know, I'm aware of how this sounds, and again I will revert to Gary Vee on this one. I will, however, defend our actions by mentioning our mission has always been to provide value. It has never diverted into anything unethical or distasteful. So, our team posts twice a day and shares once. We follow the "LinkedIn Social Funnel" methodology I discovered after spending some time on a digital marketing team: 

All of this is done with the intent of establishing relationships, building trust, and increasing engagement. 

In 2017 my team posted on LinkedIn 472 times, adding over 10,000 connections. Our Team SSI average is currently 79 (which absolutely doesn't indicate you're great at social selling whatsoever) with the consideration that three out of five team members started with SSI's around 45 less than a month prior. As a team, we promote and encourage prospecting efforts such as blogging, content creation, and even producing their own videos. 

Present Day

People often ask, what is it exactly that you do? Until January of 2020, I lead a team of people who started conversations centered around technology. Now I teach people who to captivate their audience with their own personal brands.

Once upon a time, I attended a seminar centered around how impressions and/or likes don't pay the bills. I totally get it. Nobody is cutting me a check based on the number of connections I have, or views for that matter, but these are the metrics I track, and this is now the business that I'm in, and business is good. You just have to know what to do with those metrics.

If you don't, I know a

Did this blog drive you crazy because of my grammatical errors or the content? Let's just have a laugh. Also, you can read some of my other stuff...

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