I don’t have time to play on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook—I have sales calls to make.
Ever heard that one before? It’s been the most common thing social selling trainers and social selling agencies have heard from salespeople for as long as social media has been around. And this belief is the key reason that most sales organizations still haven’t embraced social selling. But I believe it’s a big mistake.
Sort of like when you dumped your old rotary phone for a fancy, speedy push-button version, social media is the new sales phone—and if you’ve been avoiding it, you’re missing out on key opportunities to identify new sales prospects and move them down the sales funnel faster than you ever have before. And that’s the real power of social selling — prospecting at a scale never before achievable.
So if you haven’t yet begun using social media as part of your company’s sales prospecting strategy, now is the time. As a starting point, here are four pillars on which you can build a social media strategy that is focused on helping your sales team develop deeper sales prospecting relationships.
1) Social Reconnaissance
The goal of social reconnaissance is to understand your customers’ and prospective customers’ needs.
By following conversations about your brand on social networks, and using social listening tools you can keep track of what customers and prospects are saying about your company and its products.
You’ll hear not only what is being said, but also the sentiment of those conversations. You can quickly determine whether prospects and customers are speaking well or poorly of your company and its products.
Even better, you can determine who is talking about your company and its competitors, where those conversations are occurring, and how influential the people having the conversations are in your industry. This data will also help you to see bigger trends or issues within your industry, and to determine what content you might be missing in your company’s digital marketing arsenal.
But best of all, done correctly, social reconnaissance enables to building of detailed sales prospect dossiers that will help your sales team connect faster, and form stronger relationships with your sales prospects.
2) Customer Support
Instead of picking up the phone or sending an email, customers and sales prospects are increasingly turning to social media to ask questions and to announce their complaints about product and service experiences.
That’s why beyond just listening to what your customers are saying, salespeople and social media managers should be trained in how to deal with customer support issues online. Sites like Salesforce.com make it easy to outsource socially driven customer service, so that any question submitted on your company’s social media sites is automatically routed directly into the social media call agents’ queue. You can set up your own guidelines directing how those agents are to transact with people over social media.
Or if you’re not quite ready for that, simply training your sales team how to find these sales prospects online can be enormously effective. BUT, if you do this, don’t forget to train those same sales people on the proper way to approach a social selling sales prospect online. Done correctly, you can fasttrack a sales opportunity to close. Done incorrectly, well… let’s just say Scott Stratten is always looking for a new example to include in one of his Unselling keynotes.
As part of your overall content marketing strategy, you should already be creating and curating helpful content for your customers in the form of blog posts, newsletters, and white papers. But once you’ve created that content, you also need to promote it in order to be seen.
Just because you’re producing great content doesn’t mean social selling prospects are able to easily seek it out if you aren’t promoting across various mediums. By using social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to share the content you’ve created, you’re widening your audience.
It’s also wise to cultivate relationships by promoting content by other third party thought leaders and content curators in your industry whose opinions you respect. This increases the chance of your content being published on their social platforms, which widens your overall social reach. It’s also just good business.
4) Thought Leadership
People trust experts. Customers are often not well versed enough in the products or services they are buying to really understand which option is best.
In search of answers, self-educating buyers turn to their propinquity points, including social media, in search of someone who will help them make the right decision. By using your social media channels to share your knowledge and promote your helpful content, your company has the opportunity to be seen as an authority, or thought leader within your industry. This will help you leverage your social selling efforts to create top of mind preference that converts to sales as customers seek to solve their problems.
By delivering on these four key pillars of social selling, your company can get closer to its sales prospects and leverage that closeness to build and strengthen relationships. You’ll hear challenges before they become full-scale problems. You’ll sense market opportunity. And you’ll better prepare your sales teams for possible sales objections—all by using social media to hear your prospect’s voice.
So do you still think you don’t have time to play around on social media every day? Are you sure about that?
Are you a believer but need some help convincing your bosses or your sales team?
We can help.
We’ve helped numerous companies overcome the hurdles to implementing an effective Social Selling Program.
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