Current: Entrepreneur (Bondi Bucha), Senior Sales Development Specialist at LinkedIn (Sydney)
Past: Sr. Business Development Representative at Salesforce (San Francisco)
The girls from FWRD took time this week to have a chat with Ally Fricke, an ambitious and talented young professional who recently moved from San Francisco in the United States to pursue her dream of working in Australia. Ally has had the opportunity to work at some of the world’s leading companies in the digital space, LinkedIn and Salesforce so we relished the opportunity to pick her brain.
Tell us a little bit about your career so far, specifically your roles at Salesforce and LinkedIn.
I started my career in tech sales at Salesforce’s HQ in San Francisco, as an inbound sales rep, qualifying inbound leads off our website. My role was to call the prospect, ask a series of questions to uncover their pain points and how Salesforce could help, and setup a meeting with an Account Executive. From there, I moved into an outbound role, prospecting into enterprise accounts in industries ranging from groceries, retail, to oil & gas. Finally, I earned a promotion to an Account Executive role selling Desk.com, an out-of-the-box customer service application for small, fast-growing businesses. 6 months into the role, I left Salesforce to pursue my dream of living in Australia. I’d tee’d up a position, back in a business development role, on LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions team in Sydney. For the past 10 months, I’ve been prospecting into accounts all over Australia, pitching LinkedIn as a recruitment and employment branding solution. I’ve recently earned a promotion to be an Account Executive on the Sales Solutions team at LinkedIn, where I will be responsible for a territory of accounts, educating and selling them on LinkedIn’s social selling platform, Sales Navigator.
Has anyone ever given you a piece of career/life advice that has resonated with you particularly strongly?
“Be yourself. People will buy from Ally.” I’ve learned the hard way that letting nerves get in the way of your personality, and losing that “human element” of a sales interaction, does not work, particularly not in Australia. Sales skills can actually be applied in all aspects of life. I sell myself daily. I sell my manager on why I deserve the raise, I sell my teammates on why they should do things a certain way, I sell my leadership on why I deserve a promotion. But at the end of the day, people want to buy from people they like. I have good social skills, and can make people laugh, and make them feel my passion, and that is invaluable.
From your experience do you think that all companies need to have a digital and social presence?
Absolutely. Companies need to understand that having a great website is not enough these days. Your customers are mobile and social. You need to create a presence, and engage with them, where they spend their time. Buyers are researching and making their decisions online, in social spaces like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, before they engage with you. Most of the work is done by the time a salesperson gets in touch with a prospect. As a company, you are doing yourself a disservice if you aren’t “in the game,” early enough, influencing your customers’ perception of your brand on social media.
If a company or brand came to you today with no digital or social profile what advice would you give them?
Create a LinkedIn company page, create a Facebook page! It’s simple to do. But it doesn’t end there. Economics 101: “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” You can have the best content on your social pages, but if you don’t have traffic drivers, no one will find you. You can hire the DJ, buy all the booze and food, and set up a dance floor, but if you don’t send out the invites, no one is going to come to your party. Invest in your digital and social marketing strategy and get in the game.
How do you feel digital and social platforms connect with consumers in comparison to more traditional marketing methods?
Email marketing is a tough one, because people get so many emails these days and it’s becoming harder and harder to make yours stand out and get read. Print media is old-fashioned, but it depends on the audience you’re targeting. If you are a small manufacturing business in a regional area, print media might still be a good way to engage with your target audience. With the technology available, your dollars can go a lot farther with digital marketing. You can have conversations about your brand at a scale that was previously not possible.
Where do you see both these methods heading in the future?
The market has changed, and marketing teams need to follow suite or be left behind. There is a shift away from traditional methods towards digital marketing, but beyond that, I am no expert and will leave that to my marketing friends to decide.
How much influence do you think social media has on the purchasing habits of people today?
Huge influence. 75% of B2B buyers are using social media to be more informed on vendors (according to IDC), and 84% of C-level/VP executives use social media to support purchasing decisions. If your company does not have a social media presence, they’re not participating in the conversation.
What advice would you give to brands who worry about the public nature of consumer complaints on social media?
Use them as an opportunity to create brand advocates! If a customer complains publicly on social media about your brand, act on it, fast! Turn them into a brand advocate. I’ve complained about poor customer service on social media in the past, and gotten such a positive experience from the company (an apology, a credit to my account, etc) as a result, that I’ve become even more loyal to that brand and I am now a brand advocate. There are tools available to help small businesses “listen” to what’s being said about them online, and allow them to act quickly.
Finally, what do you love most about working with Australians?
I love that Australian’s really value relationships and rapport building. Face to face meetings are absolutely necessary here. I find that Americans are much more direct in their conversations than Aussies, but, as a social being, the Aussie approach fits my personality better. Aussies are eager to learn what is available to them, and what the rest of the world (and Silicon Valley) are doing.