Anna RokinaAnna Rokina stopped in to share her favorite social selling tips is an expert in social selling and the founder of Smart Social. She works with B2B GTM teams who want to transform their sales process, helping them with the adoption of new tactics and getting business results.  She shares a few of her top social selling tips in this conversation with Pooja Kumar.

In this conversation, they discussed –

? Social selling is important and it’s about building your brand and TRUST with your prospects.
? Top tips on how we can localize social selling efforts in APAC and why that is important
? Anna dives into a programmatic approach and business measurements.

She has also left us with a Social Selling checklist to helo you and your companies. https://gosmartsocial.com/socialselling-checklist

Give a listen and remain curious.

If you enjoy these tips, give a listen to these 9 effective tips for selling with social media from Petek Hawkins.
And let us know, how do you want to help improve the Enablement profession?
Audio Transcript

Pooja Kumar
Okay, I think we’re live now. Welcome to coffee collaboration and enablement for ASEAN in India, I’m here to create a space where sales enablement and business leaders can come together and learn new ways of accelerating their sales team’s performance. I am really excited to have someone I consider a rock star over here. Today we’ve got Anna rock kena Anna is Anna and I have worked previously in Oracle. And where she used to run a probably the best social selling program that I have seen at all in in in companies. And I’m really excited that since then, or more recently, she has gone off on her own and she’s founded a company called Smart social. So Anna, welcome to the show. And tell us a little bit more about smart social.

Anna Rokina
Work kind words fauja. Hi, everyone, good morning from Singapore. So yes, for the past three and a half years I’ve been building social selling program in Oracle. And my new company. Smart social is doing the consultancy and set up for social selling programs in b2b sales organizations. So that’s where I work with companies that want to add social to their go to market want to update the existing program. And with all the experience that I have, and my background is in social media strategy and insights and social selling recently, this is what I bring to the table. So it’s a very young company, all the big successes are ahead of us. But yeah, definitely watch the space. Thank you. For the anthropologist,

Pooja Kumar
I think I think it’s such a niche, but such an important space, because social selling and modern selling or is really, social selling has really become such an important way to reach our customers. And I don’t know if the word social selling is the right one. But that’s a debate for another time. But it really is about about how do we reach our customers and gain some and gain more reach. So thank you for being here. Let’s dive straight into the topic. Today’s topic we’re going to be talking about, will it work here or not? And localizing social selling programs in APEC in Asia Pacific, and are having worked in global roles, and I know you’ll have as well, as well as Asia Pacific roles as well as local roles. I know that for a fact that often thinks that the global team rollout and they say, you know, you can make some changes to it. But it doesn’t really work here in Asia Pacific and specifically in some countries. I imagine that is far more impact. I know from recent work I’ve done in the ASEAN region, and then the recent that’s far more pronounced in ASEAN and India with social selling. So does what’s your point of view on rolling out a global program for social selling and adapting it to countries?

Anna Rokina
I think I love the topic. I’m so happy we get the half an hour to talk about it. And yes, so I think that lots of especially bigger companies, they will have their global strategy for social media marketing, and for sales. And when it comes to the region, and APAC being such a diverse region, you cannot even have like a pack wide approach, right? You have to localize within a pack. A lot of things do not fit and do not work. Right. And also there’s lots of discouragement from the regional teams that hey, that does not speak to our audience. yet. You and yeah, you’re right. I was on the global site, and I had to deal with this. That’s a strong I have to deal with this. I dealt with this room from the other side. Yeah, you see from the other side that yet you have to preserve the brand, the brand tone and the brand voice has to be consistent. It cannot have this multilingual multi, like multiple personality brands. So it’s a conflict. When it comes to social selling, it becomes even more complex because there is brand content and execution which is salespeople interacting with their prospects on site in regions in countries. You cannot You cannot have a US centric execution strategy in Thailand.

Pooja Kumar
Yeah, exactly. Why not? Using that example,

Anna Rokina
why not? Great question. So first, I would say the localization falls into several areas. First is content, content and channels. So when I started building a pack social selling program, the first thing I look at is the data. And I’m a data nerd. My background is research. So I looked at the digital landscape of a pack of different countries to look at to what is the behavior of people on social media? Because ultimately, in social selling, we talk to people, right? So you need to understand, are they are they even on LinkedIn, which is our primary social selling channel? Usually, the percentage is very low, but it’s across the world. What are their preferred social networks? Is there anything specific and local, that not exist anywhere else, and how people get there, like, Korea is a great example of that Korea, social media landscape is different from every country out there. So that’s where you decide and I can recommend Simon camps, digital reports, he has very comprehensive reports on every country, with social media usage. So from there, you decide what, where, which channels you’re going to be present at, with LinkedIn being a core channel, but where you want to add your presence, like what are the what are the social media networks or messengers. Second is a big part that needs to be to be localized as content. Imagine just ASEAN region, how many countries and content when it goes to the end user, to the prospect, it has to be localized language wise, sometimes even you know, the holidays, the way people address the means all of this. It has to be localized, it cannot be global. I will say even starting with language is a challenge big enough translating everything is something that sales reps can share on their social network that will speak to their customers. So So this is one big thing, which is like, which lies more in the marketing side? And that the execution, the sales side, how do you reach out to people? Video works or not? Can you do videos? Can you do videos across the whole APAC? maybe not maybe yes. That’s where your customization falls more in the sales strategy side. That’s where your customization and your execution has to be more aligned with the sales strategy, because you will rely on sales leaders in the region that they know what they’re doing, obviously. So you cannot be blind with the approach. We do this sequence, we do connection in mail, invite, and we do videos all the time, or we do audio messages. So this execution part has to definitely be aligned with cell strategy. One thing to consider though, in the localization of execution, you have to be very, very clear on where it’s a real localization request, versus where it’s just an objection that you need to handle as as an enabler as a semester not on social media, you will hear this around the world. Yeah. My customers are not on social media. So that’s where you need to understand. Is it is it true, is it is it a country where nobody’s using social media? So you need to adjust or is it just an objection?

Pooja Kumar
So that’s something because I’ve been running a not as great as your social media workshops, but social selling workshops, but I’ve run a social selling workshop last week. And I’ve had this objection from a lot of my reps who support RCM specially Vietnam. No sorry, because Indonesia. I’m not going to put but there was a couple of ASEAN countries that said, My reps my customers are not on social media are not on on LinkedIn or social media. So I can’t really reach out to them via social media. And I know because You can do the check on LinkedIn to see whether or not they do have the customers on there they are there, they are active. So why do you think that? What is? What is that? Why? Why do you think people say that? It’s that true? Is it? Is there a psychological problem behind that? Or set aside? psychological problem? Sorry? Is there a psychology behind that?

Anna Rokina
Yeah, it’s a new approach. It’s a change that right? Nobody likes change. Like, remember when, when we bring in new technologies, right, when Oracle brings in new technology, and any tech company, and when there’s a new market, starting to build, like, people will say, No, that’s, that’s not gonna work. When I just was starting my social media business, and we were doing social media listening, I was talking to a C level guy in a telco in a tier one telco in country, and he said, on social media, listening to bloggers, well, how many are there? Maybe 10. So that’s not important. That right now, it’s a major thing, like the whole communication strategy change. So this is the same, this is the same, but also there is a, there is some truth to it, in many cases, when the country does not have enough so things you look at is that’s why you go back to your data and see what is the internet penetration in the country? What is social media usage in the country? And then well, countries are on different level in when it comes to social media, then you think, what kind of behaviors from your prospects, you can kind of tap into to increase your sales reps visibility, building relationships, trust, because that’s the ultimate goal, not just getting that email? Read?

Pooja Kumar
Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. So that’s, that’s the thing that I think people need to disconnect from this is not social selling isn’t about going in. And that’s why I think some of that’s why I asked you that question. Because I think some of that fear comes in from, you know, I don’t really want to go and sell on LinkedIn. That’s not how I sell. But the point is, it’s not about selling, it’s about you building your brand. And having a point of view and building that trust with your prospects

Anna Rokina
and building work the relevant network for sales. Rolodex, right,

Pooja Kumar
exactly. Yeah, great. Thank you. I’m sorry, I know we’ve taken I’ve taken you off track. And I just want to I wanted to address that because I find that there’s a lot of people who are still, I don’t know if it’s around, it’s not nervousness, or they’re resistant to social selling. And I can’t imagine how you can be in today’s day and age, with when you can’t really call customers anymore, because they’re not many offers.

Anna Rokina
And you can be resistant psychologically, it’s not for everyone. I don’t want I never will want to have 100% buy in because it means the team is not diverse. And there are different skills. Yeah. Some people are really better in cold calling and closing and developing complex deals and their social for them as after sought and they just not, at this point are not ready. It’s fine. Absolutely fine. But I think the loss of resistance comes resistance comes from, like you have to be visible. There’s a lot comes with it that we don’t talk about, you have to face lots of strangers, you have to face criticism. You have to put your opinion out there. It requires bravery. So yeah, pushback is, is absolutely normal and expected. And that’s why if you still want your sales teams to benefit from the program, there are different areas they can focus on. So we had, so you kind of pick your character in social selling, if you’re not ready to be visible. You can be a really great researcher. There’s tons of info on social that you can get on your prospect on your companies. And your outreach in traditional sales will be so much better because honestly I mean, I think 50% at least have success in social selling originals in social selling for sure. It does not come from the how well written your message is, or but it comes from how well your prospect is profiled

Pooja Kumar
exactly how

Anna Rokina
well your targeting so so targeting and profiling 50%, because you are there at the right time with the right person. And that’s very hard. And that has nothing to do with the size of your network. Really. I mean, your network has to depend on this. So it’s fine. There’s always approaches.

Pooja Kumar
Yeah, there’s different approaches, and I. And I love how you put it, it really is about you and the point of view that you bring out to attract your prospect with the right content to nurture them in it, and eventually building trust through this and credibility through this process. That’s really lovely. Okay, so now let’s talk specifically around ASEAN and India, right, which are my two big markets, or our big, two big markets here and coffee collaboration and enablement in this particular chapter. So a lot of us have are in roles where we have global program programs rolled out what’s your advice to localize these programs, especially to ASEAN, and India, where the landscape like you said, is really quite different.

Anna Rokina
So my advice, if you are working with a program that is rolled out globally, and you want to make a change, realistically, it’s very hard, especially making change in the Mac marketing collaterals, you know, how much approvals compliance they go through changing that is, is a chore. So I would start with execution side, where you have more control where you work with sales leaders, and you adapt your execution to countries and also the data collection, say. So you can change the, the last mile of your social selling strategy and make it very local, because you will work with regional sales teams with bdrs, that kind of interact with prospects, right. So which means the first you look at the data, I will give example. We were looking at one of the countries in ICN. And it was quite early in our social selling program, we’re using quite a generic approach. And we were looking, then we had an activity where we were planning the whole quarter for this country. We had a list of target accounts, and we’re looking at a Sales Navigator research in decision makers. And there were none. So that’s where this objection my customers are not on social media is actually right. So we’re at none. Because it was not the tier one city, it was quite a remote area territory. So yeah, that’s where you don’t say, okay, no social selling for you. That’s where you change the strategy. And you’re thinking long term, you’re thinking about your customer, which is, in this case, sales rep, how he or she can benefit from social selling now. And you see the opportunities that the it’s widefield on social for this area, you’re looking at what channels can you be present at? What four months Can you be present at you focus your research on the industry, what you can bring in to the customer. And you work on visibility? Because I mean, you can be first, it’s a very, very long term game. But yes, in this case, you cannot rely on email outreach, connection building, because you have very, very few decision makers, but what you have in this region, you still have some influencers. So you can start building relationships with influencers in the region. And that’s where you kind of build on their audience on the reach and you become number one, eventually in the site,

Pooja Kumar
because you’re the only one who’s really

Anna Rokina
the only one. So, this requires a certain mindset to accept. This is not connected to any sales, performance metrics at all, unfortunately, but this is how you understand I mean, in in a year in half For a year, you will take the space you will be there as a sales rep as an asset. His asset will be the brand. Yeah. So sometimes you have to customize like that.

Pooja Kumar
So really granular, there is no reach over here, how do I create this space? Brilliant,

Anna Rokina
it’s very granular. And this is more of the approach that you offer to your sales teams. Because sometimes you just cannot scale to such granularity, it doesn’t the same country, and capital cities, it will be completely different picture. But this is the approach that you provide with. So this is this is how you start step one, assess the step two, find this people step three, if you have no people, this is what you do. And then are you ready for this kind of long term game? And if it’s a yes, then you can provide support to people who come up and say, Hey, this is what I think will work for me in my territory, because 123 is not there. I checked, I know. But these are the opportunities that I see.

Pooja Kumar
I really liked that approach. And actually, I think, I think that I’ve seen that approach work really nicely in the Vietnam market where the customers were on another piece of social media, I think, Facebook or something, and in groups over there, and with a focused approach from the reps of the territory trains, they start over working with the customers and that part of the social media and bringing them over to

Anna Rokina
see we were doing in Korea, in I’m sorry, this is not on India, but in Korea, we were present on neighbor, which gave us different opportunities. But again, more long term gain more visibility, but they were it was really successful exercise to be a neighbor instead of completely different.

Pooja Kumar
Right. Okay. I really like that. So So basically, to make it just to recap, localizing a social global social selling program really requires localized approach based on the landscape in the in the region, content that is relevant for that particular region. So you don’t redo content, you just find the right content. Because Because you don’t really need to make new content and, and really starting using social as a broad channel, to engage your customer in a conversation and build trust. And I really liked what you said and which was I think people I’m the may be wrong, but I feel like to have spoken to a lot of people about social selling, and I feel like people are trying to to do a direct result to social selling or find a direct result of social selling, which really, it is more about influencing conversations not necessarily an a channel to influence conversations, would you agree with that?

Anna Rokina
Yes or no. You cannot, as a as a you cannot afford not to show any attribution and any direct result yet Ryan’s show because of the nature of social selling and data that you have attribution, direct attribution is impossible. You can there are lots of opinions on this but I would say direct attribution is very rare and will not be representing the whole value of social selling program because it touches social will touch your prospect your company on so many stages of the sales process of the sales journey. So I would still want to have some coral, not some quite a solid correlation between social selling activity in what you’re doing and the result and the business KPI

Pooja Kumar
so so what have you seen in terms of a difference in your experience with business results?

Anna Rokina
So that’s the most frequent and popular conversation about how you measure first, for me, what works the best is less data driven approach but more of success story approach. Unfortunately, you cannot collect all this data because everything happens in personal profiles. And as a company, you don’t want access Really, so you need to ask people but having all these stories come up from how social influenced the sales process and how social helped create opportunity, win the deal, expand the deal. This are very powerful, because stories so you share the stories, with sales teams with leadership. They work in so many different ways. And I understand not a KPI for KPIs than the numbers, we always look at adoption. Okay, because if you if you consistently make the right choices, do the right activities, relevant activities for you, as a result will come. And so this is a correlation in a way. But the results will come and you highlighted in your success stories.

Anna Rokina
Okay. That’s a good approach. Thank you very much. Okay, we kind of at the last for a few minutes. And I want to I and we’ve gone everywhere. You know, I could talk to you for hours, you know that, and I do. But for people listening to this, do you have any advice on if there were two tips for kicking off a social selling strip strategy or localizing one for their organizations. So, um, let’s say for localizing, if you have a global social selling strategy, and you want to localize it 99% of cases, you will have so many opportunities to localize it here, lots of global strategies, they rely on just content sharing. And there is a platform where you share brand content, and it’s called social selling. So you can do a lot with execution, if you just want to start and localize. And what you can do is lays a baseline and interview your sales people, your sales managers understand what they do on social what they want to do. Are they in other kind of on board or not? So honestly, and I recommend this if you haven’t been doing anything, because before jumping into creating a strategy or program, you need to talk to people on the ground and get this data in. And then look at the reports and see what are the opportunities that the pure numbers show you from social media in your countries, and bring this to the table. If If your execs are not yet driving this top down, then this is this is your pitch. I will start with this. When when I started in Oracle, what we’ve done, honestly, we had 201 on ones, oh my goodness,

Anna Rokina
hundreds one on ones. And we had to develop a whole gamification for this one. And once because this was really tough. But the data we got and the understanding we got from this was absolutely invaluable. Everything we built after that was because of that exercise. So that’s, that’s what I would recommend doing. And I yeah, so what I told you before our call, I put together a whole checklist of things to look at when you start social selling program. So I will share the link in comments. And you can have a look and it’s in my profile as well. So because there’s so much

Pooja Kumar
now and I will share that link when we repost this, about your social selling checklist, I think it’s I had a quick look at it. And it’s very good. I mean, it’s very useful for me. So I hope everyone else finds it useful as well. And how do people get in touch with you? If they wanted if they wanted more information on on or even to engage you? Definitely LinkedIn. Okay, LinkedIn,

Anna Rokina
LinkedIn, it has my contact information so you can reach out to me, connect with me and always happy to talk social selling.

Pooja Kumar
Beautiful. So look out for Anna rufina on LinkedIn. Again, we’ll tag her in the replay. And and your company’s name is smart, social. Yes, I love the name myself. I love the name. I absolutely love it. And I do think it’s smart. If you were if you were more social these days, because I think it’s needed right now through through the efforts that we put in to get in touch with our customers. So thank you, Anna, for your time and thank you for being here with us. Thank you. Great morning. Have a great morning and have a great day. And I will I would love to bring you back when your account when you’ve had a few engagements and you can give us more insights and how we could do search for a better plan. Great. Thank you. Thank you