We’re thrilled to announce that Peter Vellenzer has joined Hearsay Social as head of sales to grow our leadership presence in the DACH region, including Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Peter is responsible for driving sales and marketing, as well as educating financial services firms on why they must activate their advisors and agents on social and digital or risk irrelevancy. With more than 20 years of successfully launching new products into new markets and achieving double digit revenue growth, Peter has held sales and account management positions at Oracle, Deutsche Telekom AG and IBM, among many other leading firms.
Hearsay Social’s presence and team in Europe continues to grow exponentially. Most recently, we announced our newest customer in France, Credit Agricole, which received impressive press coverage. For more information on job opportunities in Europe, visit the Hearsay Social careers page.
The Empire State of Mind series continues with Part II, where we visit with Connor Crown (@ConnorCrown) and Mike Gardineer (@MikeGardineer), Sales Development Representatives in our New York office to discuss their observations on the financial services industry and the initial challenges prospects face in social adoption. We also talk about the unique needs of the Millennial generation and the impact they are having on buying behaviors and specifically what firms need to do to prepare and serve the next generation of investors.
Join the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @elizelig on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir. If you have a question, comment or suggestion please send us an e-mail to OnAir@HearsayCorp.com.
Like our NEW page on Facebook and follow the progress of Ronny Kerr as he walks across America on Twitter using hashtag #RonnyWalk
Thanks for listening!
At the LIMRA Distribution Conference for Financial Services last week, technology took center stage and book-ended the 2-½ day conference. Kicking off the conference, James W. Kerley, Chief Membership Officer of LIMRA and LOMA, focused heavily on technology and challenged distribution leaders to embrace social media and digital technology to enable producers to excel in today’s digital world. Jim echoed thoughts he shared at the 2014 conference: sales is changing, and it’s changing faster than ever before. “To be a leader in the digital age,” Jim said, “you must be a digital savvy leader.”
So true! MT @JimWKerley: To be a leader in a digital age, you must be a digitally savvy leader. #DistConf
The Future of Client Acquisition
The first outside speaker was Greg Bailey, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Athene USA, who covered The Future of Client Acquisition. It seems notable to have a marketing leader on the main stage at a distribution-focused conference, something I imagine that would have been much less likely a decade or more ago when customers where less influenced by digital channels throughout the buying process.
According to Greg, the future growth of this industry relies on a new and innovative approach to distribution. Greg shared, “4 opportunities to shape the future of customer acquisition and realize your potential”: 1. Mobile Technology, 2. Social Technology, 3. Big Data, and 4. Wearable Technology.
Here’s his recap via Twitter:
RECAP: The Future of Customer Acquisition 1. Mobile technology 2. Social technology 3. Big data 4. Wearable technology#distconf
Another technology-focused session was the closing panel moderated by Knut Olson, SVP of Mission Advancement for Thrivent Financial. Knut is so passionate about technology-enabled distribution teams that he said he believes good distribution leaders should act essentially as CTOs. For this reason, it makes sense that he brought together Michael Lock, President & COO, Hearsay Social with Jaymie Brill who leads Financial Services, for LinkedIn Sales Solutions and Simon Mulcahy who leads Financial Services for Salesforce. In leading the discussion, Knut shared his the “dream” of a completely integrated content strategy, to empower distribution at Thrivent Financial.
Much of the discussion on the panel was around how technologies like Hearsay Social, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and Salesforce will continue to evolve, and work together for a seamless customer experience.
@michaelhlock: Sales training and social training should not be separate. Social and digital should be part of onboarding, #distconf
Evidence that Distribution Leaders are Embracing Change
This was the third LIMRA Distribution conference that I have attended, and it has been amazing to witness the changing conversation. Just a few years ago, there was still a focus on “proving ROI” for social and digital initiatives in distribution for financial services. The focus on technology and evolution at the 2015 conference shows how the industry and its sales leaders recognize that the time to change is now. And, embracing and applying technology is critical for advisors and agents to reach today’s and tomorrow’s customer.
Content is the fuel for social business. If you’re not sharing high-quality, relevant content on social media, then you’re not providing your audience with real value.
That’s why, earlier this year, Hearsay Social partnered with several industry-leading content providers to expand our Content Exchange platform and better equip financial professionals with the right kind of content to be successful on social media.
If you have questions about how content actually plays into a successful social business strategy, join our webinar next Thursday: we’ll be sitting down with one of our partners–Trapit–to talk about the power of social business, brand awareness, and content marketing. Register for the webinar and learn why financial social business needs content marketing. WHEN: Thu 10/2 at 1:00 PM PT WHO: Patricia Hume (President of Trapit) and Victor Gaxiola (Customer Advocacy Manager at Hearsay Social) WHAT: Social media is great, isn’t it? It can help increase business. It can help build brand awareness. And it can help differentiate your business from your competitors. To maximize their use of social media, sales professionals must know what kind of content resonates with their prospects, and they must become reliable, trustworthy sources of information. Join this webinar to learn how your marketing and sales teams can leverage content marketing to build brand awareness, engage with prospects, and close deals. WHERE:Register here!
Speaking in front of a packed house at the New York Stock Exchange’s Executive Marketing Summit (#MktgSummit), Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih participated in an engaging discussion about what it takes to lead a growing business and build effective consumer engagement in the digital world.
Participants in the conference included senior executives from a diverse group of established organizations (including Citi, Anheuser-Busch, and Harley-Davidson), as well as key players in the digital space (including Birchbox, Tremor Video, and Lending Club).
In a wide-ranging discussion covering everything from consumer privacy concerns to the intangible personal characteristics one needs to succeed as an entrepreneur, it was fascinating to see the shared perspective of executives from such a diverse set of organizations.
Here are several key takeaways from the sessions:
The social Web helps build consumer trust.
There was considerable discussion around how brands can build trust with consumers, particularly in a landscape rampant with distrust of online mechanisms such as service reviews. Consumers are far more likely to trust the opinions of their friends, family, and colleagues than they are advertisements or anonymous online reviews of a given service, suggesting that brands that do an effective job of “tapping into the right influencers” will reap the rewards of a more trusting consumer base.
In matters of privacy, being opt-in is a big win.
Speaking to concerns about privacy and regulatory issues surrounding social media, the panel discussed the importance of offering “opt-in” services and of being “clear about what information is and isn’t used for.” Panelists generally agreed that clarity is crucial when requesting access to consumer information, as well as offering tangible value in return for that access.
Several characteristics define a successful tech entrepreneur — and age isn’t one of them.
The panel also included an engaging discussion around the personal characteristics that define successful entrepreneurs. Clara pointed to three things in particular: a “risk-taking” mentality, an ability to “learn and adapt,” and a knack for “balancing commitments.”
Additionally, panel moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin (New York Times columnist and CNBC Squawk Box co-anchor) asked the panelists if they felt that older entrepreneurs had meaningful contributions to make to the technology world, given the assumption that most of the great successes of the last 50 years have been founded by people under 35. In general, the panelists agreed that as long as aspiring entrepreneurs have certain personal characteristics, age is not a significant factor in their ultimate success.
Indeed, Shih pointed out that many of Hearsay Social’s clients are longstanding, more-tenured financial professionals embracing new technologies out of a recognition that “in order to keep their revenues growing, they need to adapt.”
All told, the Summit was a fascinating opportunity to hear some of today’s most engaging business leaders discuss the latest methods and technologies they employ to connect with consumers, and we look forward to participating again in the future!
Want to hear more from the session? Watch the panel in full:
NYSE Big Stage
In addition to participating in the panel discussions, Clara was interviewed by NYSE Big Stage, where she discussed how to find and tap into the most powerful customer conversations:
We’ve come a long way from when rolodexes and telephones were the best tools for selling. Today, leading salespeople use social networks to research, connect, and engage with customers and prospects, supercharging their selling efforts.
In this chart, taken from our ebook The Social Era Demands Social Selling, we show exactly how sales has changed.
Continue reading about the power of social sales in “The Social Era Demands Social Selling,” available for download here.
I had the pleasure of attending the Sales 2.0 Conference last week where Christian Sutherland-Wong of LinkedIn and Tony Mitchell of Hearsay spoke to a packed audience about how social networking sites are changing the marketing and sales discipline. Here are some of the highlights.
Tony Mitchell (Hearsay), Christian Sutherland-Wong (LinkedIn), and moderator Clara Shih How are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter changing sales and marketing?
LinkedIn: These social media tools have been around for a long time, but user adoption has increased dramatically. And now there are tools that integrate with LinkedIn and Facebook to tap into your social graphs and provide leads and contact data. Hearsay: These sites are all about relationships. Imagine you have 50,000 fans on your corporate Facebook page. But, you also have 10,000 local reps out in the field, all of whom are active on Facebook and LinkedIn. If each of your local reps has just five fans or LinkedIn connections, they’ll match the number of fans on your corporate page. But what if they each have 100 fans or connections? Or 200? Why wouldn’t you make that part of your company’s social network? How does your sales organization use social media to sell?
Hearsay: During a sales meeting last night, someone fired up Jigsaw, where we found a person we wanted to speak with at one of our target companies. We looked her up LinkedIn, got her Twitter handle, and found out she likes ranch dressing. Immediately our team member tweeted to her: “Hey, would you like to talk about ranch dressing and social media?” Within a matter of minutes she replied, “Wow, would love to talk about it, but you had me at ranch dressing. How about we set up a demo tomorrow?” This could have taken many cold calls. Instead, getting in touch with her literally took less than five minutes. What about lessons learned? What are some things NOT to do?
LinkedIn: At LinkedIn, we think it’s important to remember that people come to these sites to share things for different reasons—not always to be contacted by salespeople or recruiters—so we need to respect their choice to be social or to manage their professional brand. Hearsay: If you’re going to be on social media, you better make sure your content is fresh—you can’t let your page fall stagnant. You have to remain current and engaged with your fans and followers. Can you speak about legal and regulatory compliance issues on social networking sites?
Hearsay: In financial services, you have to worry about compliance with government regulations. In other industries, you may want to align your local reps with your branded messaging. Without the right technology and processes in place, you have no ability to measure these efforts, promote your branded content, or remain compliant. What advice do you have for people in the audience on how they can personally get the most out of social networking sites?
LinkedIn: Look up people on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Find out about them and build a relationship. You can then use your LinkedIn and Facebook graph from a sales perspective to connect to prospects. You may have found that cold calls don’t work, but these networking sites allow you to connect socially first. Hearsay: I think it’s most important to be human and be authentic on these sites. Give people a better glimpse of who you are, and instead of just a voice on the other end of the phone, you’ll be human and more easily relatable.