Social Selling: Why Salespeople Should Be Curating Content

content curation for social selling sales prospecting

Whenever you read about Social Selling, everyone spends a lot of time talking about creating content. It makes sense, because content is at the core of a successful social selling program. But you shouldn’t be paying your salespeople to create content. Instead, teach them how to properly curate content to create awareness, entice interest and convert sales prospects to happy new customers.

And that’s why today we’re going to spend a few minutes talking about the four key social selling roles of content curation for salespeople.

Content Curation vs Content Filtering

First though, let’s talk about the difference between Content Filtering and Content Curation because most folks use the latter term as a generic.

Specifically speaking, most of what you see in today’s Social Selling efforts is Content Filtering — folks finding and sharing “helpful” articles, research, etc., on social media or via direct channels such as text and email.

Content Curation takes Content Filtering one step further on the helpfulness meter. When you curate content, you don’t just find and share. You find and share along with some kind of contextual information you add. It’s this context that helps your reader understand why they should pay attention to the content you’re sharing and what it should mean for their business. It’s what converts the content you share from noise to signal.

Anyone can filter and share. But when you truly curate, add that additional contextual information or frame of reference, you begin to craft an image in your prospects’ mind. Now you’re not just the human RSS feed for (insert topic here) but instead evolve to the known expert in a particular vertical, category or field.

But at a more basic level, content curation helps salespeople achieve four key sales KPIs.

Name Awareness

At its base, content curation creates awareness of your salespeople, your brand(s), product(s) and your organization. While your sales & marketing goal is to achieve TOMP, you can accomplish a lot of that preference building simply by curating vs always creating new content to share. More importantly, because your salespeople can easily curate far more content then your marketing teams could ever create, they can share more often. Remember, out of sight is out of mind — so when it comes to building name awareness, frequency is your friend.

Ultimately though, when your salespeople consistently link themselves to appropriate, helpful content coupled with their own added context, they not only begin to create baseline awareness, but more importantly, maybe even a little bit of preference – the kind that gets their proposal top-of-stack status.

Invisible Sales Prospects

When your salespeople are constantly pushing targeted content out into the world at their key Propinquity Points , they give people a chance to send them a sales signal — especially the invisible buyer. No, not the one you can’t see, but more importantly, the one they can see but they’re not aware that person moved from contact to prospect.

When salespeople share content and people engage with that content, those salespeople can see and track that engagement. That’s huge from a sales prospecting point of view. Think about how many voicemails are left every day by salespeople and none of them will ever know if the voicemail was listened to or ignored outright. BUT with social sharing, you can see who engages with the content you share.

If a current contact all of a sudden begins engaging with certain types of content, say content about sales prospecting, that’s a signal. If your salespeople follow those signals, chances are they’ll find a willing sales prospect that will welcome their outreach.

Lead Nurturing

Content is the ultimate lead nurturing tool. Maybe a salesperson has a stuck lead. Someone who has gone radio silent. Instead of blowing up their email and phone with “did you receive” or “how can I be of service” messages, teach your sales teams to send the prospect an appropriate piece of content. I do this all of the time and it never ceases to amaze me how often it entices some kind of response or action.

Or if your sales team is working with a lead that has a long sales cycle or is trying to convince colleagues they need to buy what your company sells, content is a great tool in a nurturing process. Teach your sales teams to find great content, preferably from media or content sites vs competitors, that speaks to the issues, hurdles or possibilities associated with what the prospect is buying. Then send that along periodically via social, text or email to your sales prospect. It’s easy, and it works.

Networking

There is really two ways to use content curation as a networking tool.

If there are people (prospects or influencers) your sales teams want to stay in touch with, meet, etc., and those people publish content, republishing their content and tagging them reminds them that your salesperson respects and values the person’s contribution. It also reminds them that your salesperson is doing his or her little part to help the person gain a wider audience. It’s a very effective way to make friends and gain meetings — virtual or in the real world.

Additionally, curated content is excellent for staying in touch with sales prospects. Teach your sales teams to find good studies, articles or presentations. Then, put in a system that makes it easy for them to look back in their CRM for all of the sales prospects or influencers that would be interested in what they’ve found. Hint: if they’ve properly tagged everyone in the company CRM, this should be pretty easy. Then, teach them to create a quick, personalized, merge email that explains what they’ve found and why they’re sending it along. All that is left is for them to hit send. Presto, they just networked at scale with multiple people and it took them just a few minutes to create the email.

But remember, the key here is the curation — that added context that your salesperson provides. That’s what makes their content not only stand out, but also helps them to build a relationship with their sales prospect.

Social Selling Training

Need help with all of that teaching we just talked about? You’re just a webform away from all the help you could ever need. Go ahead. Your sales teams will thank you after their next bonus.

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About Tom Martin

Tom is 20+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and digital gadgets that helps digitally challenged companies create innovative and effective digital marketing strategies. He is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale and a contributing writer for Advertising Age. Tom guides clients through the digital marketing maze and helps companies teach their sales force how to Painlessly Prospect their way to more sales. Connect with him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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