High Social Proximity referrals are turning CSMs into sales hunters.


I’ll bet you are dreaming of referral lead flow right about now. It’s the summer. SQL’s are traditionally down, and extra down with this market… and nothing soothes the soul like high converting referrals. But how do we make them consistent?

Here are the three topics this week:

1. High Social Proximity referrals are turning CSMs into sales hunters.

2. Bad sales leaders/enablers drag down hundreds of sellers with them.

3. The Top Nurturing “Pipeline Coverage campaigns” for LinkedIn. 

High Social Proximity referrals are turning CSMs into sales hunters.

Referrals can be in one of two camps for your company:

  1. A happy consequence of a great product/service where you have high NPS. But this is based on a reactionary process.  
  2. An official outbound campaign YOU CONTROL. A proactive process.

Which would you rather do for your business?

Here is how we and our customers develop a “High Social Proximity” campaign process:

MINDSET: Get the CSMs involved. There needs to be a mindset shift that they will be part of the hunting process. There will be a quota involved.

TOOLSET: The CSMs will follow these steps:

Choose a happy customer (key stakeholder). Make sure they are a 1st-degree connection.

Reverse-engineer their social network based on their TOP 3-5 companies connected to (this is called “High Social Proximity”).

Isolate 3 people at one company, or 3 people at 3 companies – MAXIMUM. Asking for more than 3 introductions is gluttony.

SKILLSET: Each CSM / AE pairing has a quota to retrieve X referral introductions per week. Typically a best practice is to have a 1-to-1 referral process:

1 Happy Customer to Introduce you to 1 more Prospective Customer. 1:1 Ratio.

Turn this into a process and you will be in great shape.

Bad sales leaders/enablers drag down hundreds of sellers with them.

It’s disheartening to see – one sales leader with dozens or hundreds of sellers under their umbrella can change the lives (good or bad) of families all over the world.

They can help cycle sellers out of the industry

They can cut sellers from reaching their potential

They can cap the incomes of sellers

They can stunt the learning/application playbooks of sellers, ensuring they drown at their next company.

If you are a CEO, Founder, or CRO reading this and have questioned your frontline sales leaders/sales enablement team – here are the TOP 3 red flags I’d be looking for:

Comes with a playbook set in stone

“Here is how I did it myself”.

“Here is how we did it at our last company”.

These can be deadly as no two companies have the same sales story. The GTM and sales motions may look similar, but there will be nuances in the product, story, ICP, etc. that will alter everything.

As an example, we have multiple customers in the Language Translation / Localization space, and their sales campaigns have had to all be wildly different (even though they sell the same services, to the same ICP).

Growth comes linearly with headcount growth

This is the playbook of a vanilla sales leader. “We need to grow, so I need to hire”. Sales and expenses move in a linear fashion together. These are the sales leaders with no imagination, and no commitment to Yield-per-Seller. Statistically in 2023, the vast majority of sellers are not, and will not, make their quota. So why put sellers into territories (holes) that won’t perform? Because that’s the only play this type of leader knows.

Tools are their answers to everything

Pipeline Signals has a tools component, so I’m speaking from experience. Tools don’t solve problems. Tools accelerate a successful sales campaign or process. That’s it. For a tool to be successful:

You need deep buy-in from all stakeholders

You need onboarding/training to be sticky

You need constant attention to usage/utility

Most sales leaders are unwilling to dig into the weeds to make this all a reality.

Again, these types of sales leaders/sales enablement leaders are holding back your sellers and their families.

The Top Nurturing “Pipeline Coverage campaigns” for LinkedIn.

Pipeline Coverage Nurturing is almost more important than initial SQL creation at scale. Why? Because only 20-25% of your SQL’s close, you will have a glut of 75% of EVERY SQL for the past few years piling up… learning from someone / somewhere. Do you really want your SQL’s remerging into their buying zone 6 months from now, only to have forgotten you? That’s a very expensive Cost of Customer Acquisition if that keeps happening.

Here are 3 Pipeline Coverage Nurturing campaigns that have been tried and tested:

Benchmarking – build a tool that compares their customers in categories, or companies against their competition. As an example, in my company Get Levrg, I have a benchmarking tool that’s doing amazing at creating SQL’s – https://getlevrg.com/free-benchmark-talent-costs/

This has been fantastic at nurturing founders / CEOs.

We also created more at Pipeline Signals, such as the Quota Gap Calculator – https://pipelinesignals.com/self-generated-quota-gap-activity-tracker/

Speed Dating – I got this idea from Steve Richard @ MediaFly. While from the outside it appears to be counter-intuitive, it works on LinkedIn specifically because of the “chat” functionality of 1st-degree messaging. The message looks like this:

Hi John,

You and I know each other from XXXX. I’m sure a lot has changed with you, as I know it has with me. Would love to catch up to talk shop, commerce off the table, and discuss XXXX’s best practices.

If you can – great. If you can’t – no worries.

Here is my Calendly.

Time-for-Knowledge – re-engaging a prospect doesn’t happen accidentally. There needs to be knowledge about solving a problem that’s compelling enough for them to exchange 30 minutes next week for a call.

We launched a Content Sharing Index document that showcases the tech industry, and the alarming delta between great content-sharing / branding organizations and the other 80%.

Your pipeline coverage CAN NOT BE:

Just checking in.

Just following up.

How have you been?

You need to bring true value to every message.

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Free Resource:
Self-Generated Quota Gap & Activity Tracker

Do your Account Executives (AE’s) need more leads than Marketing can provide?

Do your Account Executives have a sales quota that’s larger than your current Inbound Marketing lead flow?

Each AE needs to understand their “Self-Generated Quota Gap” – the percentage of quota THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR not covered from inbound sources. They have to create this sales pipeline themselves.

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