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May 6, 2022

E013 Laura Erdem: B2B Social Selling Expert @ Dreamdata

Social Selling & B2B Content Creation for Demand Generation is Superior to Cold Outreach.

Laura Erdem is an account executive at Dreamdata specializing in Social Selling & B2B Content Creation for Demand Generation.
She has grown her LinkedIn followers from 2K to 10K in 1 year using Social Selling.
Her LinkedIn:
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Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 0:07
Once upon a time, there were millions of businesses struggling. Every day they wasted time, effort and money on repetitive tasks that added no value. One day, the better automation podcast by process CEO came to help them find a way. Because of this businesses save time, reduce costs, innovate, and make better decisions because of that these businesses grow, scale, and use human creativity to change this world. Hello, my name is Aziz, and I'm your host that better automation podcast by process CO, where I interview the world's top experts and share their very best ideas on how to improve automation in your business, processes. And live. My guest today is Laura Erdem. Laura is an account executive at DreamData specializing in social selling, and B2B content creation for demand generation, she has grown followers from 2k to 10k, in one year, and she focuses on sourcing inbound leads from social selling initiatives. Laura, how are you today?

Laura Erdem 1:26
I'm very good. It's a pleasure to be with you today as it is.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 1:30
It's my honor, it's my privilege. And I'm really, really, really excited about this. And I will begin with a question that will be very insightful to all watchers, viewers and listeners, which is what's the difference between the way that people normally approach content, and specifically how to create content for b2b demand generation.

Laura Erdem 1:55
This is the question kind of where you're starting from the sweetest dish you can have on the menu. So the difference, so when people are creating demand for companies, you're thinking that, Oh, I have to start talking about my own company, how good we are, why people should choose us and so on. The way I approach social selling, I see it's very similar for demand generation as well, when people are following some content, there are two things they absolutely do not care about, they do not care about you, they do not care about your company. And what they care about is the value that you can provide to them throughout their journey, finding the product that there actually is the fit for them. And when you start thinking about your own way of purchasing whatever product it was, you would like to choose it on your own terms. And the more informed you are, the more educated you are in that the faster it will be for you to find the right fit for yourself, and to choose the ones that are out there bringing value rather than just bringing out the ads or talking about themselves how good they are. So that's how it differs, I think

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 3:14
thank you. I mean, I have so many questions. But let's also go even more basic, what is really social selling? And how different is it to the normal approaches or ways that people view or think about selling?

Laura Erdem 3:30
Absolutely, well, I could start with what social selling is not, then it's much easier to find out what it actually is. So social selling, and I was there as well, like trying the social selling that it's not social selling is not reshard, your company's blogs, social selling is not pitching your connections right after the first time you've connected with them, even though there are perfect, ideal customer profiles for you. social selling is building your community of people who are interested in following your content. And that you bring the value to them, you stay top of mind, and when they're ready, they're educated and they have the problem they need to solve. They'll come back to you. And this is how I source the inbound leads for Dream data. That's how dream data does it all in all with all of our people here. So social selling is the community that you actually build. Let's say now we're talking about LinkedIn. So the people around you that you're working with that you're sharing your information with on LinkedIn, but at the same time, you're also helping them out, complementing and building this wonderful community,

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 4:42
Laura, it's really really valuable. What you're sharing a lot of people I'm sure will be taking notes. And if I understood you correctly, the way that it happens is you figure out your niche or the group of people, you give them content that will add value or help them solve problems being useful. When creating reciprocity as well as showing expertise in your field, and when they are ready, instead of trying like to sell them when they're not ready, which makes you like a pushy salesperson, they will come to you because you're top of mind and you've have shown, you know, trustworthiness by being useful, then they will come to you. And felling just becomes the conversation of how do we do this, rather than a convincing expedition, which is not really pleasant or effective often Did I understand correctly,

Laura Erdem 5:34
you did. And it's kind of the most beautiful part of the story, you would think, well, it's not all only like flowers and blue skies like that. I do still, when I do social selling, I share stories that might be relevant for our buyers. And the stories are not always about our product, I talk about the problems that they might look into solving, I also share personal stories, or our team stories, and so on. And then people are engaging with those. But if I see an ideal customer profile, and enjoying the content, commenting and liking, and so on, I do that rarely. But I still do reach out once in a while, but then it doesn't feel that increase inclusive, or intrusive as a cold call would be because they would have seen me, they would have seen my videos on LinkedIn, they would have seen the content that I'm producing. And then if I pick up the phone and give them a call and say, Oh, hi, this is louder, say, Oh, you call me nice to talk to you. It could be they're still not ready. But it doesn't feel that intrusive. So I'm not against cold calling. But I think if you manage both together, social selling, and if you have a lot of inbound, fantastic, keep on doing that. But at the point it kind of fades out. And you do need to start building more demand closing more revenue, then it's much easier to grasp the market in that way that it's also feels much more natural for your prospects to talk to you.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 7:07
I love this, it's a very important topic is the way that selling should be and is happening right now. And you shouldn't be like, out of touch with reality, because this is what works. I have two questions that are separate, although they're both connected. One is let's say there is a company that says today I need more revenue, or this week or this month. People think well, social selling, I should have started doing that two years ago to get the benefits today. It's not a fast thing. So let me be a spammer and just cold outreach, because I don't have the luxury of a bit like building that content. This is one, but maybe it's related or not. When you speak about stories, well, some people say I'm not a storyteller, or why is story important. And B to B they care about logic, they care about facts. So why is story important? And do you need to be like a Shakespeare or some like spellbinding story, counter or raconter? Or whatever it is in order to be effective?

Laura Erdem 8:10
Definitely not. Okay. Let me take on the timing perspective, the first one. So if you want to build your personal brand or social selling initiatives, yes, it takes time. And it takes time approx to see the value approximately as long as your customer journey is. So imagine if you knew how long time does it take for your prospects, first touch to find you, or at least to learn about you. And then up till looking at demo. Usually for us, it's around six months. So that is the time that you will need to start seeing any value of social selling at all. Then there is another timeline is after the book, the demo till the revenue is closed. Usually, it's 5050. Like it takes as long time for the prospects to actually book a demo, the demand generation. And after they book the demo, it takes just as long time for you to close the deal. And that's what it takes to actually captures people with social selling and for them to find you. But the interesting thing is, it takes just as long time for you to close a client from a cold call. Because if you call them and they are either unaware of the problem, or they are not ready to buy, it will take you that time that is split out into with demand generation to actually educate your clients talk to them. And finally close the deal. You can be lucky there are some low hanging fruits, and that's where you should go if you have them. But otherwise, most of the companies there are doing like big scale outbound calling, and it will take you just as long time to close the client as it will to build your social selling capabilities in the company. And finally, close the client It's faster. And it's also nicer for the salespeople. Because most of the salespeople, including myself, absolutely hate cold calling. It's not fun. Like, you feel like intruding on people, people hate that. Some of them do like it, but people hate it. And you can attract even more talent if you are focused on building the demand together with the sales team, and leader closing the deals. So this is about the time. Do you have a follow up questions? Before we go on to the storytelling part?

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 10:31
No, I'm excited about the storytelling part. So let's go there.

Laura Erdem 10:35
Yeah, so storytelling, to begin with? Well, first of all, when you start social selling in your company, the only thing you have to care about is just to start to start and to evolve it to a place you want it to go, you probably are going to go somewhere else than you actually plan to. But if some of the people start to do it, then it's the most important part. The next thing is your storytelling abilities will evolve over time, the first messages that you're building on social selling on blitz now till we talk LinkedIn will be bad. You're gonna look back at those a year after and think, oh, did I actually share this, but the more you share, the easier it will be for you to understand what your readers are interested in. And what is it that they're reacting towards, too, if you only share one type of content, let's say you reshare, your blogs, you will never evolve the storytelling skills and will not see what's actually working in the market. So start, create bad messages, it's okay, of course, he will try to do to do as good as you can. But then spread it out, try out different messages, you don't have to be a storyteller you. I mean, it will evolve, I have not been good. It's telling good stories. But as long as you talk about something that is important to you important to your prospects, and if they see and are able to get a feeling out of it's like either a wow, or oh, that doesn't, that doesn't feel right, or something like that. As soon as it starts to build emotions, and people from what you're sharing, it will be much, much easier to find your niche of how to tell your story. Some people are funny, I'm not. And that's okay, then I build around something that is that I feel comfortable with. And then my followers do react to that piece. And they will see the way I speak the way I share the messages on LinkedIn. So don't worry, everybody is good at storytelling. We've heard that from our childhood, it will work out

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 12:43
wonderful. I'm really happy with that hopeful message. And then I have to ask you, because there are two schools of thoughts that are contradicting and I can sense which one is your some say, Look, we're in b2b, we have to communicate like a corporation to be ultra professional. It's all about logic. Emotions have no place in it, everybody's making the most reasonable decision possible, while others say well, whether it's b2b or not, you're selling to people, and people run on emotions, and then they justify it with logic, and therefore storytelling, and having your own voice and uniqueness matters a whole lot to you. Why do you feel that emotions are important in b2b? Can you be professional? Or is it in type professional to be in someone who tell stories that matter that touch the heart and all that? And do you write as a corporation or more professionally? Or is it more writing or speaking or anything in a voice that can be felt heard and seems conversational?

Laura Erdem 13:52
Yep. And it goes back to nobody cares about you and your company on LinkedIn. I've been there with the corporate professional. And so when I'd be working for corporations, like Red Hat gardener, and I used to reshare, informative stuff that I thought was very useful. And I got likes for my colleagues, and like 200 views, whoo, good performance. But nobody of my prospects actually cared about it. And the didn't care about it, because it didn't resonate with them. This is something they can ask for from me. And if I am good at capturing what's important for them, I'll send that report to them through email, and then they will react that will be a one on one to one conversation. But if you want to catch people, one to many, that raises emotions, where people, we hate boring stuff. I mean, cleaning at home is boring. LinkedIn shouldn't be boring. And by that thinking like that, if you're a person out there, talk to people like you do talk to people. Now. Other days, I hear more and more companies being advised that if you as the Rs are writing mails to people cold outreaches, please write as you speak. And as soon as you do that more people will react to it, it should not feel like an ad. Ads are boring. Unfortunately, b2b ads are boring, I'm looking forward to catch more and more b2b ads that are fun. And as soon as you are different, then it's so much easier for your prospects to relate with you. Another idea that popped into my mind is, we always say that with marketing, and drink data, same goes for sales different is better than better, you can always try to become a little tiny bit better, oh, maybe I should write this message with like, a little bit shorter or something like that. But sometimes get out of the comfort zone and be a little bit different. You'll see how the magic builds up. It's like an especially if you can be a little bit better every time be aware of that. But get out of the comfort zone, be different, be funny, fail. And when you fail, talk about that with people because everybody fails. We're all people. But we're trying to kind of be oh, we're professional. We should not be talking like this. But we do talk like this. And when we listen, we want people to talk. Like we're used to listen to the messages. I don't hear the ads on the TV, because they're boring,

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 16:28
wonderful. I love your skills at storytelling that come across, even when you're not telling stories when you're just speaking. And it all comes with practice. Nobody was born, able to even speak. So don't expect to be born a storyteller? And then to ask you as one of our final questions, which is really important. Imagine someone is saying yes, I am telling stories. I'm putting emotions into my posts. I'm on on LinkedIn all the time. But my followers are not growing, what's your secret to going viral or to be unfollowed? Or to being worthy of being followed? Because there is a big difference between people liking your content and people following you as a person? How can people grow their followers, when they're doing social selling initiatives? Is it important to have such followers or is, is it really doesn't really matter? As long as you're touching the heart and talking to the right people, and therefore talking to 100 people hold by tomorrow is better than a million people who don't? Who will never ever, like invest in your services or products, etc. Tell me your perspective on this.

Laura Erdem 17:43
Yeah, I think it's twofold. It, I think we as humans, we prefer to be liked. And it's natural. We want the rush of somebody liking us, then we feel comfortable in the situation that we're in. So I think personally, for me, likes and comments and followers matter, because I'm just the same as every other person is. But then when you reach a stage that you've got your ideal customers following you. And following the content that you're sharing, the quality matters much more. So my brain tells me to tell you that quality matters more than the followers. But my heart really jumps when I'm able to read your post that got more than 100 likes, and people are engaging and commenting back and so on. So I think both do matter. I don't think that it matters. If you have like 2000 followers or 10,000 followers, you can reach the right audience for yourself without following. So in that case, it's a 5050. What a boring answer, huh? Well, we've got to bring on the hearts a little bit easier. But I can give some tips on how to like, besides the storytelling and being valuable, and sharing those stories on LinkedIn, and trying yourself out what I do some of very down to earth examples. Every week, I max out 100 connections, I do connect with people by myself. But I only connect with people that our ideal customer profiles for us that I see will benefit from the content that I'm pushing out every day, and that my colleagues are pushing out every day. And I got a lot of connections from that. And in addition to it, then it becomes like a snowball effect. People start to recommend you're invited to podcast just like this because you've got a following anyway, in some way or form. So this podcast would not have happened if I haven't done the hard work of connecting with 100 people every single week. But then again, I'm here also only because I'm able to do the stories and that interests people as well, again, another 5050, your answer?

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 20:09
Yeah, thank you. I'm actually, that's how life is. There are many nuances, but people want the one definite answer. And it's easy when you're beginning. But as we evolve and become more advanced, you can see that, well, it depends, that becomes the advanced answer. And well, tell me about dream data. What do you do? What? How can you benefit the listeners and the viewers? And where can people discover more?

Laura Erdem 20:39
Oh, thank you for asking. So dream data is a b2b revenue attribution platform. in very general terms, we help companies b2b companies, to find out what initiatives are working to drive revenue, mostly for marketing, sales to customer success, as well. So if it's difficult for you to understand your customer journey, we help map out all the data together. So you can directly point into the initiatives that will drive more revenue. And to find more well, you can get up with me on LinkedIn, I'll tell you everything about it. But dream data, Google it, you'll find it we're there, we use marketing, the keywords are out there as well,

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 21:22
I'll make sure to write your LinkedIn link in the description. And before we finish, of course, I have to recommend as well to all the listeners process EO, which will work very complementarily with green data processor is the modern low code, no code platform for advanced automation and creating an enterprise grade back end for your software. You can request access to get a free account at processor dot app for any listener and anybody who is was interested in upgrading, they have bigger needs. There is a very generous 50% of offer when you use the code better 50 of one word in capital letters, more information in the description. Thank you, Laura. This was my privilege. It was my honor. It was an enriching conversation that I wished could last longer. And I support you and I encourage you to keep going. Thank you.

Laura Erdem 22:22
Thank you so much for inviting it was a pleasure.