5 steps to kick start your online social selling strategy
CSO Annual Sales Performance Optimization research results have stated - sales reps generate almost half of their new leads.
Unfortunately, sales reps are facing increasing challenges in acquiring their leads. According to the IBM Preference Study – 97% of the time, cold calls are ineffective and since 2010, this percentage is increasing by 7% annually. As a result, most savvy sales pros are exploring the social media techniques to pick up the slack.
What is Social Selling?
Social selling involves utilizing the information available in social channels to aid sales strategies and pursuits. Now the information available in the social channels (i.e. comments of actual/prospect customers) is varied such as - questions, concerns, inquiries and frustrations, which again can be both candid and desirous of a response.
In the opinion of the experts, more than B2C, B2B buyers are active in publicly sharing their opinions about what they like and dislike, want and need and what matters to them.
Sales professionals working in B2B enterprises can capitalize upon the social interactions. They can put themselves into an early and coveted position by engaging with the buyers before the buyers get engaged with other sales competitors.
But then is the social selling strategy so easy? In the words of a sales rep – ‘’ even while sales professionals have understood the importance of being social and are taking steps towards it, adopting social selling techniques to discover relevant conversations can be difficult.’’
So here we have got it for all B2B sales professionals - 5 key steps to kick start the social selling strategy!!!
1. Social Search
Do you know every day there are almost 200 million tweets posted about different companies, products and services. Now from these 200 million tweets, very small but substantial percentages are buyers seeking referrals and advice for your products/services.
Social searching can help you identify the right sale opportunities from the crowd. You can use Twitter’s search and advanced search capabilities to find potential prospects. All that will be required here is a few hours of thoughtful analysis and experimentation to identify the relevant search terms/keywords that will yield the maximum results for your business.
2. Social Prospect
Use tools to filter social spheres and create highly segmented target lists. One of the best utilized tools for social prospecting can be LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator. Using this, you can seek out prospects and create target lists through the demographic search criterion.
Note: In LinkedIn a warm referral increases the chances of a sales success by 2X-4X. Considering this fact, many sales reps use their networks personal connections to turn a cold outreach into a warm transfer.
Elaborating further on this context, here is what a leading CRM blogger has put up in his recent write-up – “Social media is a major asset in getting the target audience to be more receptive to the sales reps. Here is what happened to one of the sales rep (recruited in HootSuite) – The sales rep came across an article in the Boston Globe regarding a new project about to be launched by a renowned communications company.
The article mentioned the C-level executive who headed this project. Doing a quick search on LinkedIn, the rep found that he shared a first-level connection with the executive. He referenced this mutual connection while reaching out to the executive and incredibly, got a response in 30 minutes.’’
Now had the rep taken the traditional route of calling or emailing through LinkedIn, it’s unlikely he would have received such an immediate response. .
3. Trigger of Events
Put yourself in front of the buyer at the beginning of their buy cycle. Identify the activities/events that precede a buying opportunity such as company acquisition, senior executive hire, product launch, new venture and geographical expansion.
At present, many sales intelligence tools are available which can help the reps create watch lists to identify these triggering events.
Note: Once the events are identified, sales reps can find the prospect decision makers or influencers, and can send them a congratulatory tweet or link to useful content.
4. Contact Intelligence
Social media channels can be a bit cryptic by providing limited information about the leads. You can use several Data append services. LinkedIn too can take an email address or other identifier and can add helpful insights about a prospective company or contact.
Contact intelligence can be taken to the next level with marketing automation systems and CRM systems. These can link social media leads with accounts or contacts present in your CRM database. Once you identify the social lead, you can easily review his/her other social media profiles to get a comprehensive knowledge about likes/preferences.
5. Create Lists
Once you begin identifying sales prospects, you can categorize them for continued social media buy signals. Twitter allows you to create lists of customers or prospects in order to curate and monitor all their future comments. You can also streamline social contacts through marketing automation systems or Cloud CRM applications with built-in internal social networks.
Research by Altimeter Group found that only 11% of companies used social media tactics for sales. Although adoption is currently low, performance results for early adopters have been quite remarkable.
According to Forbes 78.6% sales reps using social selling techniques outperformed their non-social peers. In fact, the social selling reps were 23% more successful in reaching their sales quota.
Stating these figures, it won’t be wrong to say that while social selling doesn’t replace good selling strategies but it clearly acts as a method to make selling strategies more successful.
Patricia is a full time CRM consultant at ConvergeHub and part-time blogger. She has earned herself quite a fame as a specialist and market expert in CRM software. In the last five year she has worked with various companies as CRM consultant to help them move their businesses to cloud. Her expertise lies in offering cloud CRM consultation, CRM customization and integration solutions to small enterprises. For last one she is engaged in building ConvergeHub, cloud-based CRM solution for SMBs, as a consultant.Follow her at Twitter: @convergehub