March 2

How To Overcome Virtual Selling Hurdles With Social Media

What's Happening: the Covid-19 Pandemic has fundamentally changed the world of sales prospecting — likely forever. 

  •  A McKinsey survey found 70-80% of B2B decision-makers say they prefer remote interactions to in-person. Hence, video calls, emails, chats, and social media conversations are replacing lunches, dinners, drinks, and other forms of in-person entertainment as a salesperson's primary relationship building and sales opportunity nurturing tools of the trade.
  • An A&M Sales Institute Report found 75% of Chief Sales Officers plan to emphasize virtual selling skills training.
  • An AirBnB study found 64% of survey respondents indicated they’d prefer living away from the company, then traveling to the company occasionally.

Between The Lines: The future of work AND life is increasingly location agnostic. Gone are the days when people, including sales prospects, feel the need for face-to-face engagement to do their job effectively. These Location Agnostics are trading the avariciousness of face-to-face sales meetings for the providence of digital interactions. And in doing so, they free themselves from the shackles of "place." 

Reality Check: The days of buying a sales prospects’ attention or ongoing access with dinner or drinks are essentially over. Today's successful salesperson must be adept at digital relationship building and sales nurturing.

Why It's Important: Digital channels offer sales prospects unprecedented tools to block salespeople. And by 'block,’ I mean render them digitally invisible forever. For this reason, salespeople must learn good social selling manners.

But First Things First… The upside to this movement towards a more digitized world is knowledge. Today it's unacceptable to meet a stranger. Successful salespeople will conduct Social Reconnaissance to develop detailed prospect dossiers full of Conversation Catalysts. Then, armed with this knowledge and trained in the social graces, they'll slip on down to the social platform of choice to make friends in high and low places.

What You Need To Do Next is Realize the days of "sales is a numbers game" are over. You need to immediately begin retraining your sales teams to prospect, nurture, and even close in a wholly digital environment.

  • Teach them the value of Patience. Social media is the most likely intro/nurturing platform in today's digital-first environment. But nobody wants to be your next social conquest, so go easy on the hard sell. In fact, don't sell at all. Instead, be a normal human being and build a relationship based on mutual interests and passions. You know, the ones you discovered through the Social Recon you collected.
  • Teach them how to Curate relevant content and then share that content as a Conversational Catalyst. This will require a small investment in technology and sales training to teach your salespeople how to determine and find this relevant content. And for some enterprise-level sales teams, you may even want to create a position or job function that strictly finds and organizes content for your sales teams' sales nurturing efforts.
  • Teach them how to comment on a sales prospect's shared content. There is an art to commenting. Done well, your salesperson's comment opens or extends the conversation around a shared piece of content. Hopefully, this conversation is with the poster directly, but that doesn't mean interacting with someone else's comment is a bad idea. Quite the contrary, often these sub-conversations grab the attention of your sales prospect and other followers, creating a nurturing and prospecting opportunity all with the same comment.
  • Teach them how to move the social conversation to direct channels like email, text, phone, or even face-to-face. This is usually the second most significant and common mistake salespeople make in social selling. In mishandling this critical hand-off, they make themselves appear desperate and, more importantly, display their true transactional colors. Either way, there is an art to properly moving the conversation to conversion. But it requires a deft touch, one far too many salespeople seem to lack.

The Bottom Line is Social Selling, Remote Selling, Virtual Selling, or whatever the name dejour is this week, is here to stay. Buyers have figured out that it's a more convenient, efficient and possibly enjoyable way to evaluate and purchase products and services. Leaving you with one choice: keep limping along hoping things will go back to normal OR invest in the necessary sales training your team needs to successfully compete in today's new digital first world. 

Need some help with that? Click here to schedule an exploratory call.

This post was originally published on Painless Prospecting, the weekly sales and marketing blog created by the fine folks at Converse Digital. If you want to learn how to create, engage in, and convert conversations into new clients and customers, give them a call

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