According to research conducted by Hubspot, whenever salespeople use social selling in their organizations, the win rate rises by 5%, and the size of the deal increases by 35%. Most senior executives are now using the social media for business purposes, with a whopping 92% of these executives noting that the social media have had a serious influence on their purchasing decisions within the past year. Like with most other things, the best results from social selling will always occur when these principles are used consistently. Here are some of the tasks that your company’s sales representatives should accomplish in order to maximize their social selling success.
Grow your brand
Whenever buyers make purchases, they like to do it from companies that they like, that they know well, and that they have great trust in. If you can build a strong personal brand, it will go a long way toward establishing all three of those factors. A recent survey conducted by Demandbase found that B2B buyers make purchasing decisions largely on the basis of content which was shared by the particular vendors they chose. In fact, 82% of these buyers declared that social content influenced their decision-making process, because they felt that the content displayed personality, as well as the specific strengths of the vendors.
Involve yourself in relevant conversations
Your involvement with relevant conversations on the social media should include both your own conversations and posts, as well as those shared by others. B2B personnel who make the decisions are far more likely to become involved with a salesperson who offers new and relevant insights appropriate to their industries, or about a problem which they might be facing.
You should join in on those conversations where you feel you have value to add, so that you can increase your brand awareness. You can find these kinds of discussions in a number of areas on the social media, including social news feeds, social media groups on LinkedIn or on Facebook, relevant hashtags trending about your industry, and on posts from social media influencers.
Social prospecting and selling
Experts in the social selling arena declare that the search tools provided by LinkedIn are what makes that platform really stand out from others, and that it’s what makes it most useful for business purposes. On LinkedIn, it’s possible to search an industry keyword and then to identify prospects such as the publisher, those individuals who like the post, and those individuals who make comments about the post.
It’s also possible to find new leads and potential customers by scanning through first-degree connections. Rather than sending a cold InMail, a sales representative could then ask one of their connections for a referential introduction. Search results can be daunting by their sheer volume, so it’s essential to use filters which will allow you to narrow down results according to location and title. Another great way of conducting social prospecting is to examine a salesperson’s profile, and to see just who it is that’s interacting with posts made by that salesperson.
Plan and schedule your posts
A number of frustrations can be prevented by planning and scheduling your posts well ahead of time, and this can be a huge advantage when you’re trying to be consistent with your posts. Your salespeople should develop a schedule for posting and then stick to it, because by dedicating a specific amount of time each week for writing copy, they will be much better prepared to tolerate distractions along the way. Your post should include things that leads might find valuable in their lives, for instance best practices, tips and tricks, FAQs, and behind-the-scenes photos or information of interest.
Track results of your efforts
Even though you might have access to all the best practices which are available, as well as all the bench-marking tools, it’s still a good idea to do your own analysis of your efforts. You should collect as many insights as possible on your social selling efforts, because collectively these can reveal a great deal. You can learn which particular styles of posts and which particular types of content resonate best with your target audience, and that will allow you to adjust your content accordingly. When you are most in sync with your user’s own wishes and desires, your content will be best received, and your social selling and prospecting will be far more successful.
Nurture your leads
Social media can be the ideal place for nurturing your leads, even those leads who were not originally sourced through the social media. Therefore, you should encourage your sales representatives to make connections with their leads, and to engage with them to the greatest extent possible. Even liking a prospect’s post can go a long way toward creating a good impression, and if you can share a response with that prospect, you’ll probably achieve an even greater impact.
It can also be extremely useful if you can help a buyer advance along in the sales cycle, and make sure that your salesperson stays on the radar for a prospective buyer, so that a sale becomes possible. Social selling is all about establishing relationships and nurturing them, so any attempt at making a sale should be done outside your chosen social media platform. Within the platform itself, you should merely attempt to nurture your leads, and nudge them along on the sales cycle path, while in the meantime establishing trust and offering value to your leads.
Build a network of friends
You can think of LinkedIn as something like a modern day card file of associates, except it is a lot easier to type in an associate’s business name than it is to go flipping through hundreds or perhaps thousands of index cards. However, it’s just as crucial to build a network and maintain it today, even if the medium has grown much more sophisticated for doing so.
If you are new to social selling on LinkedIn, the best thing you can do to get started is to connect with people you know from your everyday interactions. Solicit contacts from your team members to start building your network, and try to find a new connection or two every day. Any invitations sent out to prospective contacts should always be of a personal nature, and should specify how you came to acquire their name or business information. Also in this invitation, you should include something of value to your contact, so as to motivate them to want to make a connection with you.