BtoB Book Review #2: “Social Selling Mastery” by Jamie Shanks

This is article was written in 2016, but was recently moved to Medium. This obviously may affect the temporality of certain aspects mentioned below.

The third edition of the French Social Selling Forum was held in early December, which saw Author of “Social Selling Mastery” and CEO of Sales for Life, Jamie Shanks, take the leading role as keynote speaker.

– Perfect timing to read his book, which quickly became a popular reference in the area of B2B Social Selling.

I believe it is fair to call Jamie Shanks a pioneer of the Social Selling playground. But before calling him a Social Seller, Jamie should be acknowledged as an entrepreneur, who should be praised for remaining close to his roots. A man who doesn’t hesitate to share his business failures with his audience as well as declare how tenacity, dedication and intelligence (plus a supportive family) supported him to become the successful entrepreneur that he is today- traveling to all corners of the world to share his vision and help companies get money out of Social Selling, through a long-term and sustainable approach.

90% of customer buying decisions are starting online.

— 2011 by Forester Research

In this book, Jamie Shanks describes the full digital transformation process; from traditional selling principles to a powerful and fully aligned social selling-based business model, from level 0 to 6. Right after Jamie Shanks describes those six stages to digital transformation, he explains that this book is going to serve as a guide and road map to reaching what he calls “Level 3: Social Selling Mastery”. I want to share with you my thoughts on whether the book fulfills this mission.

After reading the first 50 pages of the book, it became pretty clear to me that this book would fulfill its mission indeed. What made me believe this? Among the literature I have read on social selling, in the last months, Jamie Shanks’ view is one of the most concrete vision I have faced so far. The author is certainly using some buzzwords, but in a clever and documented way. In this book the author is not trying to sell you a sort of magic social selling success recipe, he is just sharing documented and tested examples of success and failure in the area of supporting sales with social media.

Throughout the book, Jamie walks you step by step through the different stages to achieve the Holy Grail: get a smoothly running, efficient and buyer-centric social selling machine for your company. What I like most in the book is that the author is not only focusing on high-level strategic aspects in implementing social selling, he also covers simple things such as how to set up a good LinkedIn sales profile, how to create an efficient and well-segmented content calendar, and many more critical business things. This feels rewarding as a reader as whatever social selling experience you have as a marketer or a sales person, you will never feel excluded or overwhelmed when reading “Social Selling Mastery”. In other words, this book delivers high-value content, but through an information-accessible approach. Another benefit of the book is that it is equally appropriate for a sales AND marketers audience.

I must highlight one of my favorite chapters: “Socially Surround a Buyer and the Buying Committee” (Chapter Eight). I was really impressed by the quality of the tips & tricks that the author shares in this chapter. I found these so exciting and promising as a marketer, that I can’t imagine how excited this chapter would have made me if I was reading it as an individual in the sales industry. In Chapter Nine, Jamie Shanks shares a very concrete guide to creating your morning Social Selling routine step-by-step, as well as very useful and most importantly realistic pieces of advice: “The entire social selling routine should not take you more than 30–60 minutes per day. Any longer, and you’re detracting from core sales tasks.”

This book isn’t about what one of a few amazing sales professionals can accomplish. This book is about reaching corporate sales goals as one giant, digitally driven ecosystem.

— Jamie Shanks, CEO of Sales For Life

I am going to finish this article with the following quote taken from the book, which summarizes perfectly what I have learnt in Social Selling Mastery: “this book isn’t about what one of a few amazing sales professionals can accomplish. This book is about reaching corporate sales goals as one giant, digitally driven ecosystem.”

My Top 20 quotes from the book:

  1. “Social selling is additive, not a replacement for how your team sells today.”
  2. “Alignment occurs when your team begins to create metrics around the handshake between sales and marketing (…)”
  3. “The only way you’ll become the ultimate social seller is if you understand how the entire ecosystem works in unison.”
  4. “We can’t talk about Social Selling Mastery without first addressing the elephant in your organization — senior leaders.”
  5. “I’m a firm believer that social selling scaled throughout an organization is only possible when it’s a top-three sales initiative globally. Otherwise, the pilot execution is only a nice-to-have mindshare.”
  6. “A social selling organization has its marketing team measured against its delivered percentage contribution of sales quota attainment.”
  7. “Measuring social selling in your CRM should not be transformational, only additive. If you’re measuring emails and phone calls, you can measure social activity.”
  8. “Everything you do socially needs to better serve your buyer. Period.”
  9. “If you think your corporate marketing material is the only information necessary to capture a buyer’s mindshare, you’re already behind the eight ball in that account!”
  10. “Don’t just leverage the same tool, calling at the same times for only two attempts, and expect anything less than average results. Social sellers leverage all the tools in their arsenal in a variety of touchpoint cadences to reach your buyer.” (cf. according to SiriusDecisions, a sales professional will make less than two attempts to reach a buyer.)
  11. “Start treating your LinkedIn InMails as if you’re beginning a valuable conversation at a dinner party, not making a quick remark to someone as you exit an elevator.” (I love this one!)
  12. “For all you know, the person asking to connect with you on LinkedIn could golf every Wednesday with the CEO of your top account. That person could have been a university roomate to a future advocate in an account you’re chasing. People buy from people, so don’t discount the relationships that other people have!”
  13. “Social Selling at the individual sales level, with no unified marketing system, is just a random act of social.”c
  14. “These sales professionals don’t care about a marketer’s activity level unless they can be quantified to influence a sales professional’s results.” (cf. a statistic from SiriusDecisions showing that “up to 65% of your marketing team’s digital content never makes its way intro the customer’s hands.”)
  15. “Attack a keyword like a locust and devour that keyword until you own the crop, then move to the next plot of land.”
  16. “Think long and hard before you think employee advocacy is going to be the miracle drug for your insight-sharing machine.”
  17. “You as a sales enablement leader need to change your new hire program to align all skills shared by every sales professional.”
  18. “We learned very quickly that sales professionals executing on LinkedIn are just a small portion of a social selling ecosystem.”
  19. “I truly do believe that social selling is simply the by-product of effective sales and marketing integration.”
  20. “Many companies are running the same sales playbook they’ve been using since the 1990s, (…) unfortunately, their big-brand vanity blinds them from looking at their sales process objectively.”

More B2B Book Reviews to be published soon, stay tuned!

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Aurélien Gohier

Aurélien Gohier

Digital evangelist, slasher. Sharing insights into industry, tech. Proud ambassador of Dassault Systèmes’ virtual universes. Speaker, blogger, amator podcaster.