Fuel Growth Podcast: Breaking Barriers in B2B Sales

Fuel Growth Podcast

On this episode of the Fuel Growth podcast series, my co-host Clint and I got to sit down with Jill Rowley, Strategy & GTM Advisor at Stage 2 Capital. Jill is a trailblazer in social selling and digital sales transformation, renowned for her dynamic approach to reshaping the role of sales and companies around the world. With an impressive sales track record spanning over 20 years, including pivotal roles at Eloqua and Marketo, and now as a sales consultant, she’s a powerhouse of innovative sales strategies. As a much sought-after speaker and advisor for top B2B companies, Jill’s influence extends far beyond the boardroom, inspiring a new generation of sales professionals to thrive in an ever-evolving marketplace. 

We were extra excited to speak with Jill this week to hear more about her personal philosophy, centered on the give-to-give principle, which emphasizes the power of meaningful connections and community building in the digital age.  

What we'll Cover:

    6 Pieces of Advice from Jill on How to Be a Trailblazer in Sales

    1. Think Outside of the Box and Shake Up Your GTM Strategy

    When you think about selling, the customer must always be at the center of everything you do. Jill said, “Think about who surrounds the customer, and if you want to get closest to the customer, you have the have the mentality of, ‘she who is closest to the customer wins, she who stays closest to the customer continues to win’.” You must ask yourself who is in your ideal customer’s inner circle. Jill went on to say, “Who does the customer already work with? Who do they trust? Who do they buy from? Who do they trust? Where are they influenced in various communities that they might be a member of? And my strategy will then be, I want to get nearer to those who are near interest to the customer. And I want to learn, I want to leverage intel, I want to earn influence and get intros to the customer that I want to have from the people who already work and influence the customer.”

    2. Lean on Your Partner Networks

    Your business partners are your biggest advocates as you continue to operate in an increasingly competitive market. Jill stated, “So there’s this whole new category of what I’m calling partner-tech. Where [the] partner ecosystem is becoming a more dominant business model, a more dominant way to go to market. You have to have a tech stack that can support this new go-to-market motion. The B2B software industry is all about partnerships and partner ecosystems, which, at its core, is all [about] account mapping and comparing second-party partner data and customer lists. Partner-tech is a strategy and a category.”   

    3. Understand Social Selling and Leverage it Within Your Networks

    Social selling is all about forming meaningful social interactions and presenting your personal brand as a trusted source to solve a customer’s problem via your product or service. Jill echoed this when she said, “Like salespeople, [social selling] is about a network. It’s about relationships, marketing, social media, and reach. My definition of social selling was teaching sales professionals how to leverage social networks that their buyers were using, like LinkedIn, to do research on the buyer, the buying committee, the smarty pants, and people who influence the buyer. So, it’s first about research, then about building relationships that drive revenue. But even beyond revenue, [building] customer lifetime value, and advocacy, etc.” Building networks is your connection to your customer’s inner circle. Jill went on to say, “It’s a way to drive deeper connections and to understand what motivates someone. Modern selling isn’t really ‘modern’, it’s just a more modern way to uncover information about the buyer…and the people who educate and inform the buyer that you want to have”.  

    4. Understand the Difference Between Information and Insights

    Today, it’s not about information; it’s about insights. Jill stated, “You can have all of this information, and so can the buyer, but you should be asking yourself, ‘What can I bring to the buyer that is actually an insight?’ Build a knack for finding the right information for your buyers, and not just handing it over to them, [but] put it in context first. Context is one of the most important things you have as a professional seller; you have to be able to put things into the context of the customer.” By making connections and providing context to the important business information a buyer is seeking, a seller is providing real insights, and value, to the buyer. 

    5. Prop Up the Women in Your Organizations

    Ensuring that women have a seat at the business table and have a voice is something Jill is deeply passionate about and has dedicated a good portion of her career to raising awareness about.  Jill said, “The data is what motivates me to actually be part of the conversation about how we change the opportunity for women. The data shows that, on the frontline, it is actually 50/50 men and women. The data shows that women in sales perform better, have higher win rates, and quota attainment, and are more relevant and empathetic with their buyers. But, when you look at the women in sales leadership, VP and above, the numbers are very different. Only 24% of VP and above in sales is women, and 76% men, and every layer you go up in the hierarchy, there are fewer and fewer women in those positions. What we need is more women lifting women, and more community and resources dedicated to us. We also need more men who are willing to sponsor, support, mentor, and coach women. I look at men who have daughters, and I say, don’t you want your daughter to have the same opportunity that your son has?”

    6. Changing the Image and Definition of Traditional Sales

    When people think of sales, maybe they think of a man in a suit cold calling or someone going door to door with a pitch, but that’s not what sales is anymore. The sales profession has undergone a drastic shift in the who, what, when, where, and why of selling a product or service, and so have the people behind the title. Jill stated, “I felt my shift in purpose was to enrich other people’s careers, and elevate the marketing profession, elevate the sales profession, elevate the partner profession, and not just the profession, the person behind the profession. It’s time to change the image of who a salesperson is. When you hear about someone who’s a sales professional, you think of them as a professional because they are doing things that are professional, you know longer picture a singular type of person. We’re feeling the shift of impact on a scale.” 

    Adjusting to New B2B Norms

    As we concluded this episode, Jill Rowley emphasized the transformative potential of embracing a culture steeped in innovation, breaking away from the status quo, and social responsibility. This crucial approach enables organizations to unlock unprecedented growth and innovation, propelling them to new heights of success with the help of new-gen sales leadership philosophies and effective strategies. 

    For a deeper dive into the impact sales leadership can have on business transformation, relationship-building, and sales enhancement, tune in to the complete podcast conversation available here.  If you want to catch up on our previous episodes, you can do so here or on your favorite podcast app.

    Lizzy Overlund
    Lizzy Overlund Driving incremental and transformational experiences to meet customer expectations and demands in quick-to-evolve spaces, Lizzy works with global teams to manage customer interaction and journey evaluations, partner and customer advisory boards, digital transformation activities, customer enablement activities, and much more.

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