In 1998, Trish Bertuzzi founded The Bridge Group, Inc., an inside sales consulting and implementation company. Simply put, Trish and her team not only tell B2B companies how to build their teams and increase productivity, but they actually do the work for you — which is a serious differentiator within the inside sales consulting industry.
While Trish’s business card shows her title as Chief Strategist, she is so passionate about the world of sales development that she’s in the process of printing new cards with her new title: Chief Sales Development Rep.
After all, “who doesn’t love a good SDR?” she says.
I recently talked to Trish about some of my favorite topics: social selling and account-based marketing. She shared a lot of great information, and I’m excited to present this audio recording of our chat, along with my top takeaways from the conversation. But first, here are a few fun facts about Trish:
Who are her favorite sales professionals to follow on Twitter?
• Koka Sexton – Social Selling & Content Marketing Expert
• Jamie Shanks – Social Selling Expert & Partner at Sales For Life
• Jill Rowley – Queen of Social Selling
• Jill Konrath – Author & Sales Acceleration Strategist
• Lori Richardson – Top Social Selling Influencer
She loves Agile Selling by Jill Konrath. Learning is the competitive edge for salespeople, and this book teaches readers how to go into a job and learn what you need to know in a way that makes sense and is useful to you.
If she were not in sales, what would she be?
A politician — because her husband says that nobody can spin a topic like she can — or an attorney. But she was quick to qualify that with “I was meant to be in sales.”
What are her favorite social selling technologies?
• LinkedIn – Where she lives and breathes!
• Twitter – While Trish’s buyers are usually not on Twitter, the platform has helped her build a presence with vendors and analysts, book speaking engagements, and a develop huge network.
Now, let’s dive into the interview! Here’s my full conversation with Trish Bertuzzi:
Does Social Selling Really Exist?
While Trish loves all things social, she doesn’t agree with the term “social selling.” She agrees with Jill Rowley’s statement that what most people call social selling is really about developing relationships, while social marketing is about reach. Despite her hesitance to use the term “social selling,” Trish is a social media expert and has even trademarked the term “social prospecting.”
“Social doesn’t sell. People do. A lot of pundits, vendors, and analysts have made a big deal about social selling because they have a drum to beat in terms of a product or service to sell.” – Trish Bertuzzi
“In reality, social is no different than saying you use phone, email, direct mail, or eCommerce to sell. Social is just a tool in the bag,” Trish says. “One of the things you need to think of when you think about your social strategy isn’t exactly a direct line to revenue. It’s all the other things that can potentially lead to revenue.”
[Tweet “”Social doesn’t sell. People do.” – @bridgegroupinc on #SocialSelling”]
Linking Up on LinkedIn
When Trish asks salespeople if they use social selling, the most common response she hears is “absolutely!” But the reality is that “about 80% of the time they really mean LinkedIn” — and not an integrated social prospecting strategy.
Of course, Trish uses LinkedIn to connect with people, and she quotes Jill Rowley’s famous line: “Always be connecting.” Her primary goal on social media is to engage and connect with people. To help, she uses the Rapportive browser add-on to automatically locate the social media accounts of people who email her so she can connect with them right away.
Trish also brings up how LinkedIn has grown as a platform. It now enables people publish content and share status updates, she points out, so she seeks to build what she calls “Trish World” on LinkedIn.
Previously, she only connected with people she knew in real life, but now she seeks to build an audience of people who find her interesting and relevant. She emphasizes that her goal is not self-serving; instead, she aims to share information about the community that she loves: inside sales.
[Tweet “When most people say they do #SocialSelling, they really just mean @LinkedIn. – @bridgegroupinc”]
Building a Community
Trish started the Inside Sales Experts Group on LinkedIn, which has grown to a vibrant community of 46,000 members from all over the world. The reason the group is such a success is that it’s solely for discussions. Spam and self-promotion are strictly forbidden. If you work in inside sales in any capacity, Trish highly recommends joining the group.
Social selling is all about building the community.
Trish recently decided to start another group: the Sales Development Rep Forum on LinkedIn, which currently has 777 members. The goal here is to make the group a very focused, mini Quora for SDRs.
#FlipMyFunnel: An Enterprise Model of Account-Based Marketing
In the “old days” — which is about seven years ago in the sales world — there was a great deal of enterprise selling. There were large deal sizes, big accounts, multiple divisions, multiple decision-makers, and a great deal of complexity in general.
SaaS simplified the world. We went into transactional mode: short time frames, month-to-month contracts, lower price points, and direct selling to the decision-maker.
The challenge comes when SaaS businesses scale and start selling to enterprise businesses. SaaS sales professionals quickly find that the traditional SaaS model doesn’t work within the enterprise market, so they must find ways to adapt.
“People are starting to understand that they can’t apply that SaaS model back up into the enterprise. They need to think about how to do that effectively,” says Trish. “There’s a buzzword out there now called ABM — account-based marketing — and that’s what #FlipMyFunnel is about.”
Trish believes the #FlipMyFunnel movement — in which companies focus on marketing to target accounts rather than generating leads — changes the thinking of sales professionals. It takes them from a mass-market mentality to “I’m going to pick my sweet spot, which are enterprise accounts, and I’m going to go after them in a very strategic way, deliver value to them, and engage with them in a way that makes sense so that I can have a conversation across the enterprise.”
“It’s going to be fascinating,” says Trish as she expresses her enthusiasm about the emerging world of account-based marketing.
[Tweet “#SaaS selling model doesn’t work in the #enterprise. That’s where #ABM comes in. – @bridgegroupinc”]
Advice for Marketers Who Are Adopting the #FlipMyFunnel Model
In the interview, Trish gives some excellent advice for B2B marketers who want to adopt a flipped funnel approach to marketing. “In order to understand how to serve your customer — which is sales — you need to walk a mile in their shoes first,” she says.
It’s true that B2B marketing teams really have three audiences: their buyers, their end users, and their sales team. Flipping the funnel on its head requires supporting the sales team more than ever, especially when it comes to selling to enterprise companies. There are two ways to accomplish this. One is through ride-alongs with the salespeople who are engaging with the enterprise accounts. Sit in on meetings, listen in on sales calls, and shadow them.
Trish’s second suggestion is for marketers to “try to convert your own leads that you generate.” You can do this by creating content for each stage of the customer journey. You can also use account-based marketing tools like Terminus to surround decision-makers (not just leads you’ve generated) at target accounts with your marketing materials to help boost awareness and accelerate the sales cycle.
[Tweet “B2B #marketing & #sales teams should walk a mile in each other’s shoes. — @bridgegroupinc”]
The Future of Social Selling
Trish predicts that social selling “will need to become more mainstream and easier for people to understand” in order for it to really take off. People need answers to questions like:
- What are the benefits of social selling?
- How can sales professionals develop relationships with people in my network?
- What is the best way to add value and not just spam everyone in your network?
The focus should be on the person with whom you’re building a relationship, so you should be talking about yourself significantly less and the other person much more. “It’s like going on a blind date with someone, and they sit across from you and all they do is talk about themselves,” says Trish. “You will [likely be thinking], ‘Get me out of here!’”
Trish Bertuzzi was absolutely incredible to interview because she’s amassed a wealth of insights in her many years of inside sales experience. I want to end this post with a powerful statement from Trish:
“Whichever end your funnel is sitting on, the end game is still revenue.”
Your Turn to Flip the Funnel
Do you agree with Trish Bertuzzi’s views on social selling and account-based marketing? Let me know in the comments!
If you’re a B2B sales, marketing, or customer success professional who’s interested in the #FlipMyFunnel movement, we’ve got just the guide for you. This e-book explains how to used account-based marketing strategies to identify best-fit customers, expand your reach within target accounts, engage with key decision-makers, and turn your customers into brand advocates. Click here to download the #FlipMyFunnel e-book now.