Advice: "I hired a LinkedIn influencer for a sales role. He doesn't do any actual selling. What should I do?"

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Dear Quota Team,

I'm a VP of Sales and recently hired a new AE for our team. He has a sizable audience on LinkedIn in our particular niche and I had been following him for a long time and really liked his posts and unique perspective. I thought that his audience would make him a great evangelist and would be a new way to get our brand in front of more prospective customers. I convinced him to join by offering him more autonomy than other AEs with a focus on social selling.

It's been six months and it hasn't really been working out. The audience doesn't seem to be converting and he doesn't do much actual sales work. He just posts on LinkedIn (using personal anecdotes) and every now and then, he'll close someone from social selling. He’s nowhere near hitting his quota.

I'm not sure what to do. It doesn't seem like the evangelism is working and I can't effectively measure if it's doing anything for our brand (I'm a sales guy, not a marketing guy). Part of me wants to tell him to dial it back and put most of his focus on selling according to our playbook. Another part of me wonders if the social visibility will pay off in the long run if we just stick with it and be patient. But I've also been thinking about just letting him go and chalking it up as a learning experience. What should I do?


Disappointed in the Pacific Northwest 


Dear Disappointed,

While we don't know much about this particular person, in our experience, there are those who talk the talk and those who walk the walk, but the talkers tend to be a whole lot louder. It sounds like he's someone who's good at promoting themselves, but not actually getting the job done.

It's great that you tried out this new sales strategy, but if it's not working, you need to do something. You're a sales leader, and your priority is helping your sales team hit quota, not giving what is essentially a no-show job to someone who wants to be famous. It's time to have a talk and get him refocused on selling, not marketing. 

You should give him the opportunity to prove himself by using the playbook that is already working for your other reps. If he's up for it, and it works out, you'll  have the best of both worlds with a seller who is bringing value to the bottom line while still being a brand evangelist.

If you don't think it’ll work out, you could always check to see if the marketing department would be a better fit for him. It could solve your problem and be a win-win for everyone. Good luck!

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