Social Selling: Bleeding Edge Insights from Gabe Villamizar

By Jason Cormier     |     March 21, 2016

“Add value, stay visible and revenue will come… you can be visible — but if you don’t add value, you still suck.” Social selling wisdom to live by, according to Gabe Villamizar.  

Villamizar is in charge of social selling at HireVue, a tech firm specializing in talent management, from hiring to training and retention. Villamizar is also in charge of social selling, which includes training and ongoing coaching on how to use social media to create a competitive advantage for more than 60 sales reps serving a combination of Fortune 500 and SMB-targeted customers.

Villamizar joined me for an enlightening interview on best practices for social selling.

Watch the conversation here:

Villamizar’s game is simple: using social media to close more deals. A few key insights from our interview include:

  • “Marketing and sales should sit together if you want marketers to learn how to create content that’s valuable to sales.” Note: the key to success when it comes to training is re-enforcing it with coaching — which keeps sales pros inspired (and ensures what they have learned is actually carried out in practice).
  • The top five sales reps at HireVue spend 70-80 percent of their day on social media. There’s no formula for this, but doing what’s different has proved valuable.
  • Every sales person has the ability to publish blog posts on LinkedIn – which has advantages over a corporate blog. Example: Villamizar has written nice articles and has had more than 20,000 views (mostly leveraging LinkedIn notifications).
  • Have sales people write industry-related content. Why? As a sales person, it’s different when you say “yea, I wrote something about that I can send you.”
  • A major shift is coming in the way sales leaders think… at least one piece of content per month (300-600 words) should be written by a sales person – feel free to have the marketing team revise it or add calls to action.

Here’s what Villamizar refers to as the three-by-three social outreach strategy: Find three things about your buyer in three minutes.

  • Something about their personal life. Did your buyer Tweet about a sports loss he or she was bummed about? Do you both golf? Mention something that lets your buyer know that you’ve done your homework to make a human connection. We all have a digital footprint — and so does your buyer.
  • Something specific about the business. Blind outreach for your 30-minute demo doesn’t work for a reason! Don’t copy and paste the same business pitch to everyone.
  • Something about the industry. For example, share common pain points your buyer might have with another client of yours because of the economy or something that’s going on with their unique industry.

Know the Number of Touch Points it Takes to Convert
Each company should analyze how many touch points they need to be trusted, to get a lead, to get a demo presentation, and to close a sale. At Villamizar’s company, they’ve discovered it takes 22 touch points to get a demo appointment scheduled (combination of digital and traditional prospecting). Of the 22 touch points, 13-15 are through social media. 

Account-based marketing may be yet another new buzz word – but it’s real, and here’s how HireVue is doing it.

  • For Fortune 500 dedicated sales reps, they’ll identify the top 5 accounts they want to go after
  • Identify 6 people per account (potential buyers, or ones part of the buyer’s journey within the targeted organization).
  • Create content and landing pages for those people.
  • Based on certain trigger events (think lead scoring and lead nurturing here), email them and schedule the demo

Note: It’s important to consider things like what a sales person does after marketing spoon-feeds them a deal: What will you do if the next touch point is 3 weeks from the time of the demo they just watched? Suggestions include:

  • Retweet them /re-share their stuff
  • Promote their company blog and tag them
  • Demonstrate to them you’re a real advocate and want what’s best for their business

For SMB’s and mid-market selling, Villamizar’s training program includes six steps to social selling:

  1. Educate sales reps on what social selling is and where it’s going
  2. Social optimization – optimizing your social profiles for your buyers
  3. Listening
  4. Engagement
  5. Commitment
  6. Tracking

Tools uses by Villamizar:

  • Salesforce for CRM
  • HubSpot for marketing automation
  • Tweetdeck for listening (also a fan of Hootsuite for other channels)
  • Riffle by CrowdRiff (“for ultimate Twitter stocking” — which hashtags you use the most, days of week you tweet the most and more )
  • Charlie App
  • Crystal Nose
  • – You upload an email list. Once crawled, Nova will personalize the outreach based on social data that’s publicly available. It crafts an email that is accurate in terms of how personalized it is – and you choose how the personalization is crafted (is it professional, funny, etc.)
  • Buffer App
  • GaggleAmp for employee advocacy

For more information: Villamizar hosts an on-demand seminar on social selling.


About Jason Cormier

Jason is a co-founder and leading strategist at Room 214. With a rich history in information architecture, user experience and online marketing, Jason contributes to the social media and digital marketing efforts that help brands create online communities, tell meaningful stories, and gain more customers.

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