The number of B2B companies adopting social selling methods is growing fast. In fact, according to Hubspot, 62.9% of sales professionals report that social selling has become important for closing new deals.
While sales teams still use traditional methods such as dialing for dollars, or building relationships on the golf course, chances are that someone on your team is already using social media platforms to generate revenue. Your high-performing competitors are already establishing social selling strategies.
A 2015 MHI Sales Best Practices Study states: “World-class sales performers are accelerating the progression of social selling from secret tool to mainstream sales competency in their organizations by establishing guidelines and standards for the use of social media in their organization. As skills improve, results will increase, and salespeople will win more.”
As your sales team incorporates social into their bag of sales tricks here are four ways marketing can help them succeed.
1. Develop Strong and Professional Online Profiles
Because social selling takes place on social platforms, the space that each of your team members creates should be one that is representative of your organization. Encourage them to maintain professional profiles on LinkedIn is where the greatest rewards are found. Complete profiles with professional profile photos and descriptions enhance their personal brands.
2. Optimize Time Spent on Social Media
A little targeted social engagement goes a long way. The secret is to make sure the time spent on social media is quality time. Click bait articles can quickly suck up an entire morning. Facebook is designed to be addicting.
We all fall into the social media trap and our productivity suffers. Your professional sales team knows this. After all, for them, more than any of your other employees time really is money.
Your sales team doesn’t need to be disciplined in the use of social media, they need strategies on how to use it effectively. For example, tactics and tools that block ads, and limit time spent on certain social sites. It’s about discipline, which is really hard to do for the intellectually curious that have to read the latest industry news.
To free sales people to interact directly with prospects, there is a trend to outsource the management of executive’s social media accounts. Content and connection building can be done by savvy social marketers, freeing sales executives and management to focus on one-to-one meetings.
3. Engage in Meaningful One-to-One Interactions with Prospects
Interacting includes participating in social groups where your target market is. Start a conversation where you have the opportunity to express your expert opinions by providing high-value information. However, be mindful about sounding like you are marketing yourself or your brand as some social groups forbid this. It’s not about shouting out how great your technology is, but showing prospects how technology can solve challenges.
4. Develop Guidelines for Maintaining Meaningful Relationships
It’s easy to get caught up in all the social activity and lose track of your efforts. Guidelines help to keep your team on course.
● On LinkedIn, encourage your team to build lead lists with LinkedIn’s Advanced Search so that they stay focused on those that they can build the strongest connections. Because B2B sales include, on average, 5 people throughout the decision cycle, the sales team needs to build connections across the organization.
● Warm introductions should be followed up with personalized InMail.
● Insightful engagement that shows a deep understanding of a customer’s unique challenges builds global connections.
● Share relevant content that speaks to the pain points of your prospect’s organization.
● Monitor your prospects LinkedIn profiles to be up-to-date on their current job titles. Remain proactive and engage with them when you notice any changes or events like work anniversaries. Participate in the discussions they initiate and pay attention to when they make new connections.
Are you confident about adopting social selling into your organization? Do you need help in adopting social selling? We’d love to hear from you.
I’m Pam Swingley, founder of Savvy. Our marketing services help B2B technology companies succeed. We connect product marketers to customers for market validation. Fill sales pipelines with qualified leads. And, supercharge anemic social media accounts. Results are backed by decades of tech marketing success with Fortune 1000 companies (ADP and Oracle), startups, and mid-sized software firms. Say hello to savvy marketing.