I’m a numbers guy, not a social media expert. I don’t track content, I track results. So let me tell you this; the results of my team's recent social selling efforts have been tremendous.
Social media is a social phenomenon. People are always talking about businesses and customers are using social media to research new products. According to Hootsuite, 60% of buying decisions are already made before your customer even talks to you.
Sales teams who have adapted to this digital environment have a competitive edge and are seen as more influential in the eyes of their prospects. This new sales methodology changes the process for uncovering prospects, building relationships, and making deals. It helps businesses stand out from their competitors, ultimately helping to achieve more sales.
If you're a sales leader, use these methods to convert your sales team into social selling machines.
Eliminate Marketing and Sales Team Silos
It’s the marketing team’s job to get in front of customers and the sale team’s job to build relationships. When the marketing team passes data to a salesperson who isn’t active on social media, all of that money, thinking and work go to waste. A social selling approach is only as good as how socially aware your sales employees are. Cross-training between both departments is key in bridging this gap and ensuring there are no missed sales opportunities.
Create a Social Selling Team
Create a list of strong executors who are passionate about social media. If you have a team that is young and are highly social, tell them to build out their individual social profiles to leverage social media for the benefit of sales and revenue generation.
"Social selling is the process of using your professional brand to fill your pipeline with the right people, insights, and relationships"
- Koka Sexton, Sr. Social Marketing Manager, LinkedIn
The more active your employees are on social media, the more likely their prospects will transfer into leads for the organization.
Build Out Trusted Networks and Identify Leads
Now that your social selling team has created their profiles, the next step is for them to grow their network. Having a large social network will allow them to cast a wider net in their sales forecast. The more connections, the more likely their audience will share your marketing team’s content, improving the organizations overall ROI. Simultaneously, it proves they are establishing trust, which will allow them to turn their network’s connections into connections of their own.
LinkedIn Groups are a great place to make new connections, find and share resources, as well as grow your skill set and network. Advise your social selling team to find groups that are relevant to your industry, invite their connections to join, then engage in professional conversations to position themselves as industry experts. Twitter lists are another great way to categorize connections and competitors. They are helpful for following trends and managing relationships, which leads to more deals.
Secure Sales Through Social Media Engagement
Just because your social selling team has positioned themselves as industry experts, it doesn’t mean sales will flood to your business. As with all sales strategies, social selling experts need to engage with prospects to get your product on top the customer's mind. Social sellers can build relationships with their connections by monitoring their streams to see what they have in common. Retweeting their content, asking them questions, and tagging them in relevant posts, shows they are interested in their relationship and what they have to say. Once trust is earned and the connection has been established, your social sellers can invite their prospects to take a conversation offline and into a meeting where they can pitch your product or service.
It would be ignorant for me to say social selling is for every organization. It would not nearly be as effective in a business-to-business context where your customers aren't online. It would also be difficult to transition a team of traditional sales veterans to a tech-savvy environment. If social is not the forté of your current sales team, save the money you would spend training them to hire someone who is fit for the role. If you’re going to adopt social selling practices, do it right from the beginning because once you put information online, you can never take it back.
Your business’s reputation is on the line.