Sales Pipeline Radio, Episode 38: Q&A with Jamie Shanks, CEO, Sales for Life


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Late in 2015 we started producing a bi-weekly radio program called Sales Pipeline Radio, which currently runs every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Pacific.  It’s just 30 minutes long, fast-paced and full of actionable advice, best practices and more for B2B sales & marketing professionals.

We’ve already featured some great guests and have a line up of awesome content and special guests into 2016. Our very first guest was Funnelholic author and Topo co-founder Craig Rosenberg.  Next we had Mike Weinberg, incredible writer, speaker, author, followed by Conrad Bayer, CEO & Founder of Tellwise.  Recent Guests: Jim KeenanJoanne BlackAaron RossJosiane FeigonMeagen Eisenberg, and Trish Bertuzzi.

We cover a wide range of topics, with a focus on sales development and inside sales priorities heading into and throughout the year. We’ll publish similar highlights here for upcoming episodes.  You can listen to full recordings of past shows at and subscribe on iTunes.

This episode features Jamie Shanks— a world leading Social Selling expert, responsible for pioneering the space. Jamie Shanks has trained 1,000’s of sales professionals from Fortune 500 companies to solopreneurs.

Listen in now or start the player below:

Matt: Thanks everyone for joining us for Sales Pipeline Radio. We have some great content for you today and great guests. And without further ado, let’s just get right into it.

Jamie Shanks is our guest today. I have known Jamie for years and for those of you that never heard or read about or have attempted to jump onto the social selling movement, Jamie is one of the pioneers and he has written a new book called Social Selling Mastery that is masterful. It is really very quickly, since its publication just a couple of weeks ago, become the go-to research for social selling.  Jamie, thanks so much for joining us today.

Jamie: Matt, anytime you know I would do this for you at any time.

Matt: Talk a little bit about how you got started in social selling?  You have been in the trenches of sales as a front-line sales rep and as a sales leader and executive for a long time. How did you get started on the social selling bandwagon yourself?

Jamie:The long and the short for everybody, I am here in Canada in Toronto Canada and I had a failing business. I was doing sales 2.0 inside sales consulting. I thought I was the “Bees Knees” and I basically went bankrupt and there is a whole story behind that but the long and the short is I needed to change with the buyer. I didn’t change, the buyer changed.

And so I didn’t look for social selling.  It was a survival mechanism that I used in 2011 to keep myself afloat but what I recognized I had done, was reverse engineered real sales process into leveraging social media as a means of booking new appointments, nurturing accounts, going deep with the customers and that was the origination of our first social selling methodology.

Matt: I think we are at the point now where a lot of people sort of have their own sense of what social selling is. But I think there’s an awful lot of incorrect definitions of social selling on the market as well. Can you give us your definition of what is a social selling in late 2016? What does it mean for professional salespeople?

Jamie: Yeah. What I would like everybody to do is think of a Venn diagram, three circles. The intersecting middle is what social selling is. And social selling is made up of three types of sales processes. First Inside Space Selling; I am a sales professional, I need to move the ball 5 yards, I need to help a customer along that buying journey and I need to help them do due diligence so they can be an informed buyer; arm them with enough information to become an informed buyer.

Number two – Trigger-based Selling. So whether those are external triggers such as job change alerts or those are macro environment triggers such as shifts in our customers’ industries or they’ve raised funds such as venture capital, these are opportunities to strike up contextual conversation.

And the third one is Referral-based Selling. So mechanizing referral-based selling. None of these were invented by social selling, they are just being mechanized through tools like LinkedIn and Twitter. So referral-based selling, I actually did this last night. Every single customer we win, we then go into the LinkedIn networks of the decision-makers that we have been working with over the last year, and we roadmap their relationships to potential future customers and then we broker introductions.

And so last night I am booking a sales qualified lead in our own business eating our own dog food but LinkedIn happens to be that CRM of record for the data I need to execute referral-based selling, that’s what social selling is, the convergence of those three processes.

Matt: I am talking today with Jamie Shanks on Sales Pipeline Radio. Jamie is the CEO of the firm Sales for Life, a Toronto-based sales consulting firm that has really been on the forefront of social selling training, social selling evangelism and Jamie is the recent author of the book Social Selling Mastery.

But I think there is still to this day Jamie are those that think social media has really no rightful place in sales but it’s a waste of time and it’s not that long ago that we had sales floors that would actually ban social media sites from their sales reps’ computers thinking they were just a distraction.

Do you still see that? I mean do you, your team and you personally have been trained, I don’t know how many salespeople and I know it’s all over the world, do you still see those objections and how different has it been to combat it now that you’ve seen the results of social selling from so many organizations and sales teams worldwide as well?

Jamie: Yeah, I am seeing it a lot less lately. When we started this business we launched the very first curriculum in the summer of 2012. And in the first two years we had to do lot of evangelism on the why. Why would you ever have your sales professionals distracted from their traditional communications methods of the phone and email?

By late 2016, for the most part, we don’t have to have those conversations anymore but the big question is how? So I get we have these tools, I get it could amplify our brand, our messages, our ability to communicate with the customer but now it’s all about ask because right now it just looks like spaghetti strewn on the floor.

There is tools, there is “how does it integrate with my current methodology?” There is process, it’s a big confusing mess. So the only industries that are probably still in the why, I know some of the financial, basically ones that are heavily regulated like financial services or insurance; unfortunately, they are still going through the why but most industries have already bypassed that by now because their customers have demanded it. And it’s not that the sales team wants to change, it’s that the customer has changed and the sales team is now recognizing we need to change with it.

Matt: Totally agree with that. I know your business is better served from this, our business has certainly grown in part because of what we have been able to do to cut sales, manage and even convert relationships on social media and just leveraging that as, just another channel but a pretty powerful channel to engage with prospects at all stages of the buying process.

If you want to hear more about our shows, those that we’ve actually started on time as well as those where we are sort of flying by the seat of our pants, you can check us out at You can always subscribe to our podcast which replays an edited version of this show at Google play and the iTunes Store, a lot of great guests coming up.

Next week we will be on the road a little further away from downtown Seattle. We will actually be in downtown Boston for the MarketingProfs B2B forum. I am very excited to have our guest next week will be Matt Benati who is the CEO of LeadGnome and then shortly after that we’ve got Jim Ninivaggi who is one of the premier sales enablement experts currently working at Brainshark formerly of SiriusDecsions. We are going to talk about what we are doing in the marketplace to drive value from sales enablement efforts in organizations as well.

But today Jamie Shanks, Jamie thanks again for joining us today. Want to talk about the book. Talk a little bit about sales; Social Selling Mastery, where this came from, what was your impetus for writing the book and give us a little synopsis of what people are going to find when they read it.

Jamie: Fantastic! Yes so why I wrote it. Neil Rackham’s Spin Selling, it came out in 1973, people thought he was a goofball for writing a book that took his intellectual property and put it on page and people said you’re crazy, what are you doing? That’s your whole business.

But what he recognized is his true inherent need and want to genuinely help the sales community. I know that sounds corny as hell but that is honestly why I wrote it; because we are inside some of the largest companies in the world and the confusion on this topic is massive because what has not been written up until this point was around global scale okay.

There have been books that help sales professionals understand social media but that’s just random acts of social. What we put together in the book is divided into four sections and it brings together what sales leaders, sales enablement and sales operations marketing, digital content marketing and the sales professionals do in these four parts come together and converge into what’s called a social selling mastery where it becomes a routine, a dance.

And I wrote this thing because I genuinely wanted to debunk the myth that this is not just sprinkled around your sales team and it is decentralized, it is a dance between sales enablement and operations, sales leadership and marketing getting everybody together thinking and aligning to the digital buyer, that’s why I wrote it.

Matt: Now I know obviously people can find it on Amazon. I mean I’ve recently read it, it’s fantastic, there is a lot of puffery in the social selling world. I think there are a lot of great people that talk about kind of what social selling could do but really don’t give any specific advice.

You give the strategy, you give the framework and you also give specifics on how to actually make it happen. So obviously people can find the book on Amazon but also one of the reasons I love you Jamie is that you guys are so generous with your ideas, you do your blog on a daily basis, your blog is filled with great ideas.

What are the best ways for people that are either want to learn more about the book or just wanted to get a primer on social selling or what they could be doing more actively for their sales organizations in 2017, what do you recommend?

Jamie: Well, one of the things that we are starting to get into– and I appreciate you like the blog. And I started this business where I had some original thoughts but I curated a lot. I mean Matt I can’t tell you. I used to print out your e-books to show them to customers almost like they were my original ideas. The reality is over the years we recognized to a point we would curate to a point but there wasn’t yet new insights in this social selling space. So we’ve started doubling down on research projects, on looking at how learning is translating into behavior and that behavior is turning into revenue. So correlating learning to revenue essentially because we are in an enablement company.

We are creating a lot of bigger assets around data sets that you as a sales leader or a marketing leader can then give to your senior executives to say these are studies, these are things that they’ve done and Matt was mentioning we have 70,000 sales professionals that have been certified in our curriculum, that’s a lot of data that we can provide you and your team.  I appreciate that you enjoyed the content.

Matt: Absolutely. I think clearly it’s still a critical… as much as you have been involved in social selling for a long time, as long as you and I have talked about it, it’s been around for a while but so are a lot of companies that are still sort of getting their feet wet and sort of getting their sea legs under them to leverage this and integrating this into their sales organizations. So which leads me to my next question. I mean is social selling going to be a thing in 3 to 5 years? Will it simply be an integrated part of sales strategy? Will we be still thinking of it as sort of a separate social selling effort? Where do you see that going and evolving over the next few years?

Jamie: If I’ve done my job correctly, the word “social selling” would be like calling it email selling now, it would just be ubiquitous with the sales process. So the only reason we use the word “social selling” is to distinguish it not only for search engine optimization for lead generation. Let’s be honest, we are in business here.

The second set of it is to distinguish that there is another means of communication and education to your customer. But in 3 to 5 years it’s probably going to be longer than that but in 5 to 10 years this should just become part of the norm. And the digital buyer and the digital seller which is in 50-50 partnership with the digital marketer, are going to market and meeting in this digital world, that’s just the way it’s going to be. And you will feel silly a decade from now calling it social selling.

Matt: Yeah, I think right now that’s probably one of the best answers I think I’ve heard in a long time around the future of social selling. Not surprised to hear from our guest today Jamie Shanks the CEO of Sales for Life and author of the new book Social Selling Mastery. I highly encourage you to check out this book which does a great job of providing a framework strategy and tactic to help you sell more using social media.

Thank you so much for joining us today on Sales Pipeline Radio. I want to thank our guest Jamie Shanks. I want to thank our producer Paul for putting up with me and dealing with the ever winding travels and travails as we make this show possible.

Definitely check out this replay of today’s episode on as well as through our podcast feed where you can get every past episode as well as those future episodes automatically from Google Play and the iTunes Store.

As always, a transcript of today’s conversation will be available on our website at on our blog. And join us every week come rain or shine, Skype or phone, maybe we will do it through carrier pigeons someday 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern every Thursday on Sales Pipeline Radio. This has been Matt Heinz, thank you very much for joining us and listening to Sales Pipeline Radio.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Matt Heinz
Prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger, Matt Heinz is President and Founder of Heinz Marketing with 20 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. He is a dynamic speaker, memorable not only for his keen insight and humor, but his actionable and motivating takeaways.Matt’s career focuses on consistently delivering measurable results with greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty.


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