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There's an untapped resource out there which more sales leaders and frontline pros need to know about. By utilizing the best employee advocacy tools and deploying an easy-to-follow program, salespeople can gain huge numbers of pre-qualified sales leads.

In this episode of the SalesProTips show, Mario Martinez Jr. will help you discover how employee advocacy programs at your company can mean better employee engagement, deeper connection with target markets and can be a catalyst in propelling your sales efforts to the next level.

Mario Martinez Jr. is a speaker, digital & social selling expert, CEO and Founder of Vengreso and a recent speaker at AMPlify, The Employee Advocacy & Engagement Conference.

Listen to this episode and discover:

* How do you make employee advocacy work? Talk to us about some of the key steps to establishing a program and the culture behind a sustained and effective employee advocacy initiative.

* What can employee advocacy programs do for increasing confidence and pride in the company?

* How do employee advocacy programs help brands reach wider audiences? Explains the mechanics and draws a picture of that web of interconnected brand advocates and their social connections.

* How can sales pros help to encourage wider brand advocacy through the company in ways which will mean high-quality leads filter back to them to qualify and close?

Want to hear more? Check out these bonus insights:

* Why become a brand advocate? What's in it for the employee?

* How could your employee advocacy fail?

* What are the main components and tools needed for a successful employee advocacy model?

Read the edited transcription:

Kristen H: There's an untapped resource out there, which more sales leaders and frontline pros need to know about. By utilizing the best employee advocacy tools, and deploying an easy-to-follow program, salespeople can gauge huge numbers of pre-qualified sales lead. In this episode of the Sales Tips For the Pro's podcast, Mario Martinez Junior will help you discover how employee advocacy programs at your company, can mean better employee engagement, deeper engagement with target markets, and can be a catalyst in propelling your sales efforts to the next level. Mario Martinez Junior, is a speaker, digital and social selling expert, CEO and founder of Vengreso, and a recent speaker at Amplify, the employee advocacy and engagement conference. Mario. Welcome to the show. It's great to have you.

Mario M: Kristin I'm so excited to be here with you. Thank you for having me.

Kristen H:  Awesome. We got a lot to talk about today. My first question for you, in the context of generating strong internal brand loyalty, and ultimately reaching wider audiences, what are the key principles of employee advocacy program?

Mario M: I'm gonna start out with the philosophical part of an employee advocacy program. The first thing you've got to think about is, alignment. That's alignment between marketing and the rest of the departments, including sales, or human resources that are going to help support, really, an advocacy program, meaning the employees become brand advocates for the organization. Alignment is number one.

Then, you've got to come in and you've got to deliver training around the right mindset. The mindset is, why should I as an employee, become a brand advocate on a social channel, that is my personal social channel? That's super critical. If you miss the why, and helping them to understand the mindset of why this is so valuable, why this is so important, you will never get to the results. The third piece is really, training and development around the skillset, if you would. Many individuals don't necessarily know how to become advocates, because they don't really, necessarily use social channels in that particular area. You need to teach them the skillsets.

The fourth piece, and final piece is the tool kit, the tool set. This tool set has to be able to include the ability for employees, whether they be sales or the janitor, to utilize a tool that easily allows them to share content on behalf of the company. When we talk about content, we're talking about press releases, blogs, videos, those types of things. Maybe even webinars that the company might be doing. I would say, break it down into those four pieces. Alignment, mindset, skillset, and the tool set.

Kristen H: How do you make employee advocacy work? Talk to us about some of the key steps in really establishing in that program and the culture behind the sustained and effective employee advocacy initiative.

Mario M: Great question. That really drills down into this mindset concept, right, that we talked about, just a minute ago. First off, you can't just roll out an advocacy program, and say, "Hey. We want you to all become brand advocates." It has to start with the alignment piece of marketing aligning the goals of the program, with all the rest of the senior leadership team. The rest of the senior leadership team must be committed.

In fact, if it were me, and I were launching a program, the way I would launch the program is, I would put NBOs into the senior executive leadership team, to be front and center as a leader, demonstrating content sharing, and becoming advocates for the brand on behalf of the company. It's gotta start with them. Once the leaders do it, everybody else usually follows. That's really critical if you want to have a strong employee advocacy program, if you want to make it work.

The leaders have to be leading. You can't just ask employees to start advocating on your behalf, if the leaders themselves...Great example. I was working with a company. I looked at their top 20 executives for this Fortune 100 company. Top 20, Fortune 100 executives. At this particular company, sorry. Top 20 executives at this Fortune 100 company. Two of the executives actually shared something in the last 60 days. 60. 60 days, on Twitter, and/or on Linkedin, or any other social network. That was a horrible abysmal way to be able to engage and teach employees how to engage. If your leaders aren't doing it, your employees won't do it. I think that's definitely one of the steps you have to take.

The other step goes back to the mindset. Companies need to recognize that when they are asking an employee to become an advocate on their behalf, the company must recognize that they are leasing that social space and that potential network that they're tapping into. They're leasing it. They're renting it, from their employees. Employees do not have to become advocates. Now, it'd smart for the employee to do so, because guess what? More sales equals better job security, at the end of the day. That's very important they recognize and I think we'll talk about that a little bit later on, as to why the importance they recognize, and if they recognize that, what they will do in terms of providing the right type of tool kit.

Kristen H: I absolutely love that. I find, with a lot of organizations, the senior leadership team is not onboard with the social media. They're intimidated by it. There's some resistance around it. What do you find works well to get them, really embracing using the social platforms?

Mario M: Well, first of all, you gotta slap 'em square in the face with the stats, right? If you're a leader and you're listening to this, we are so far beyond the time period right now, Kristen, that, you know, should we engage? Should we not engage? Does social really work? Does digital really...We are so far beyond that, that if you are a leader and you're questioning whether or not you should engage, FYI, in two years, you will be obsolete. Period. End of discussion. Here's why.

We know that the buyers journey has dramatically changed. Here's some stats for ya, that on average...This came from the CMO council. On average, there are five pieces of content that are consumed before a buyer is ready to even speak with sales person. Five. Five pieces. Another stat, is that...I think it was...if I'm not mistaken. 82% of buyers felt that the vendor’s content had an impact on their final purchasing decision. The other one to think about, is 78% of sales reps, who utilize social media, and social selling techniques, they out perform their peers. 78%. That came from a Forbes article.

Kristen H: Wow.

Mario M: If you think about those three elements right there. It's so glaring, in terms of how the buyers change. Every marketing organization knows, that it's harder to get to their buyer. The buyer is on a journey, and they're trying to insert themselves into that journey. Leaders and employees, they all want to see the company thrive and survive.

If you want to see the company thrive and survive, you've got to become an advocate, and you've got to be able to be out there on social, in digital, being able to advocate for the brand, so you become top of mind to potential buyers that the company otherwise may not have had access to, or like quite frankly that the individuals who are friends with people in the network, might trust more, the employee than they do the CEO themselves, of a particular company.

Kristen H: Yeah. That's pretty powerful, when you share all of those stats. At this point, and I love when you say that social media...Social is not going anywhere. I think that's that's been very clearly established.

Mario M: Yeah. Absolutely. I go back to...Conversations with executives today are no longer, should I? Is it the right thing? It is, what happens if you don't? Right? That is something, it's just so important to understand. We're not talking about sales people becoming advocates. That's a given. That should be done. We're talking about enabling your workforce.

Just, statistically speaking, employees, on average, across all the networks that they could share across, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, have an average of 500 people inside their network. 500 people. Imagine if you had a company of 1,000 employees. If you took 1,000 employees and each person shared one piece of content, just one, one time per day, that's 500,000 people that you could reach, theoretically speaking on a daily basis. Give me one other program. One other program. One other program that can reach that many people, almost near free of charge.

Kristen H: Yeah.

Mario M: There's nothing. There's nothing else that's out there. This is a huge one for companies to really jump on, and to leverage is, employee advocacy.

Kristen H: When you think about the sales pro and help to encourage the wider brand advocacy through the company. Those higher quality leads that will filter back to them. Do you think that they're gonna be able to qualify and close those faster?

Mario M: Qualifying. Close faster? Yeah possibly. You know there's some greats. I have not seen any studies produced on whether or not they close faster, but for certain, in terms of being able to enter into the top of the lead funnel, it is definitely a lower cost channel to be able to produce leads. Some of the partners that we work with are...and Everyone Social. Those are our two preferred partners.

We spend a lot of time vetting out, who are the right folks. In some of the tools that these organizations provide, they showcase, if you were to take the amount of click throughs, that you got from your advocates sharing content, the click through back to your website. If you were to actually do that, it would have saved you thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars in terms of advertising costs.

They're definitely a lower cost, definitely a higher quality, because they're coming in from a trusted source, as opposed to, you know, you're trying to get somebody who you've never talked to, doesn't have any understanding of who you are, what the company is, and they definitely are of higher quality. Now, it would be a great study to find out. I don't have data on this. Excuse me, or any state on, do they close faster. I'll have to certainly ask about that one. I don't know.

Kristen H: As we start to wrap up the podcast, thank you so much for being here today Mario.

Mario M: You're very welcome Kristen. Thank you for having me.

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