It Had Something to Do with #SocialSelling)
I have been working in social business since the early days of social. Early on, conversations were centered on questions like these: What is Twitter? What is a hashtag?
With understanding, vision, and executive alignment, those questions evolved into broader inquiries: How can social media help employees be more productive and improve collaboration? How can we listen and engage with our customers to deliver better customer service? How can we use social media to build stronger relationships with our customers and attract new ones? It wasn’t about the latest or greatest social media platform or hottest marketing trend. It was about understanding customers and employees, reaching and communicating more directly, interacting and using social media and digital capabilities to solve business problems.
After almost 10 years of building social business programs at a large financial institution, we had accomplished a lot. We were no longer trying to innovate. We had become a social business. And I was ready to take on a new challenge.
I started to do some work as an independent consultant, and in parallel, I took the time to reflect on what was next over the long term. A big part of that involved taking stock of what I valued most in my work. It came down to three core values that I knew motivated me, got me up in the morning, and led me to do great work. These were the criteria for deciding on my next opportunity:
- Authenticity of the people, organization, and approach
- Deep commitment to and focus on business value and customer outcomes
- Working with smart people who challenge me and are passionate about their work grounded in a culture of mutual respect, trust, and empowerment.
So, how did I connect with people and organizations that shared these values? I took the time to integrate these values into my digital personal brand and the conversations with my network. That’s ultimately how I connected with Hank Nothhaft, the CEO of Trapit. It is not surprising (and wonderfully brilliant) that social played an important role in building our relationship and ultimately making the decision clear for me to join Trapit.
The Role of Social Selling
Social selling works. I say that everyday. I met Hank and Trapit on Twitter, and we went from there. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Here’s how it worked.
I optimized my social media profiles. Linkedin and Twitter were my focus because the people and organizations I wanted to work with were active and engaged on those networks. (Facebook and Instagram are more personal for me, and Snapchat is a whole other story – still trying to figure that one out.)
Through my content curation strategy, I focused on continuing to build my credibility as a subject matter expert and trusted advisor on social business. I shared content about the importance of change management in digital transformation and social business, sharing insights on how to build social programs, and weighing in the latest social media trends.
I also engaged with key influencers in my network – and beyond – through listening, joining conversations, and engaging with their content. Authenticity and a focus on my values were key. I shared content on the work culture and values that were important to me.
By building a strong professional brand, I attracted like-minded people, and that’s how I first met Hank. We were both “social selling.” It started with a “like” on some content I shared. We both visited each other’s profiles and started following each other. A short time later, I received a Twitter direct message from Hank. He was familiar to me from our interactions on Twitter, and most importantly, the DM was authentic, personal and relevant to me. Oh, and the message was obviously not automated. (Don’t you hate automated DMs?) We then, appropriately, took the conversation offline. Not every interaction should take place online.
It is interesting to note that Hank and Tommy, who is the President and COO, were not actively recruiting. They had a loose concept for a position that would involve building social selling and employee advocacy programs, but they had no momentum or clear direction. Our social interactions and conversations made it real, clarified the need and we worked to clearly define the role.
Through multiple conversations with Hank, Tommy, President and COO, and Bill, the VP of Sales, it was clear to me Trapit was the right fit and opportunity. The feeling was mutual :).
Authenticity of the People, Organization, and Approach
The authenticity of the people and leadership of Trapit was clear to me from the earliest conversations. Not just the first DM, but each conversation afterwards. Plus, the team’s authenticity was consistent. Trapit is not about the latest fad or buzzword, but rather, about thinking deeply about the business opportunity of social selling, employee advocacy, and content marketing. It is not just about the technology but a focus on how the tool can solve business problems.
There is a commitment to simplifying and communicating clear best practices – not just the latest hacks, tips and tricks. In fact, during one of our first conversations, Hank and I discussed how we can help marketing and sales leaders filter through all of the information about social and digital selling and surface what is important. We discussed the fact that the industry is cluttered with so much noise. How do we make sure sales organizations can stay ahead of the trends and build sustainable programs that achieve results? This resulted in Sales Reboot Camp – launched last week. While presented by Trapit, the resource is not about our product – but educating our customers with authentic, practical guidance.
After 90 days at Trapit, I can say that each member of the team is committed to doing things the right way. Speaking of commitment…
Deep Commitment to and Focus on Business Value and Customer Outcomes
The authenticity of approach clearly drives Trapit’s focus on business value and customer outcomes, which, in my mind, go hand in hand. That’s why both business value and customer outcomes were critical in my decision to join Trapit. In early conversations with the Trapit team, I was motivated by how deeply the team is thinking about customer success – providing customers with the right level of relevant consultation and support to build culturally appropriate plans.
Another great example is the approach to the the product and the product road map. There is a clear vision that is focused on enabling modern sales teams. It is not about building a longer checklist of features and functionality to match or beat the competition. It is about building a product that empowers and enables marketers and sales teams to achieve their goals. If a customer requests a feature – we take the time to understand what business problem they are trying to solve. We will work collaboratively with our customers to determine the best approach. This may result in helping a customer find the best approach to using the tool to meet their needs, challenging a customer to think differently.
At Trapit we recognize that our customers need a strategy that transcends the tool – a strategy that enables a new way of doing business. To achieve this, there needs to be a commitment to organizational change. When I first started speaking to the Trapit team, we talked a lot about change management. There was a shared belief that change leadership was key to building successful social selling and employee advocacy programs. I recently shared some thoughts on this:
Culture of Mutual Respect, Trust, and Empowerment
The opportunity to work with smart people, passionate about their work, grounded in a culture of trust and mutual respect – was a key driver in my decision to join Trapit. Culture, values, and work styles were key parts of my conversations with Hank and Tommy. Right away, with this conversation happening up front in a very authentic and transparent way, it was clear we were aligned on these values.
So, Just over 90 Days since I Started….
From day one at Trapit, it was clear that the conversations we had about authenticity, focus on business value, customer success and culture were grounded in reality. The Trapit team is amazing – smart, passionate people – with an incredibly diverse range of capabilities and experience. A culture of mutual respect, trust, and empowerment enables us all to be agile and focus on customer success.
I recently met with one of our business partners – the first question I was asked was, Why did I join Trapit? I told this story, and then he asked me, “And is it everything you expected?”
My answer was, “Yes, and more.”