How do I get started using social selling in my own sales process? It’s a great question to ask.
Why? Because social selling is a great opportunity right now with only 22% of companies encouraging its use, and only 6% even bothering to measure its impact. That gives you a small window of opportunity to gain competitive advantage with little outlay.
Here’s 5 ways to get started:
1. Know The Name of the Game
Don’t get bogged down in the detail. Do some reading to understand the big picture in terms of potential to genuinely increase revenue, eliminate competition from the buyer’s consideration set, make a big brand impact, and motivate more successful sales people. The business case for social selling becomes clear and management will want to know more.
2. Set Objectives
Dabbling in social selling never works. Treat it as you would any other business strategy and articulate your goals, define success, and build a strategy. By the way, we’re talking new leads, more customers, bigger average sales revenue etc – not fans, likes and connections – although they do help along the way.
In a recent workshop we ran for Microsoft, 1 participant shared the fact he’d reached out to 20 new contacts that were connected to one of his existing clients. The net result? 3 new deals! That’s the sort of objective we want to achieve.
3. Do Not Reinvent the Wheel
Building sales success using social selling has been done and documented. So don’t waste time reinventing the wheel. Find a consultant or CEO that’s done it all before and follow their lead. The key is to take action now – and stick to the approaches that have been proven to work.
4. Say Something Valuable
Research by the Corporate Executive Board shows that it’s “not WHAT we sell, but HOW we sell” that defines buyer preference in the end. B2B buyers want to deal with reputable brands and consultative sales people. Publishing valuable content via social media is a very efficient way to build reputation and influence in the marketplace.
To this point, now more than ever your sales representatives’ personal brands are critical. They have to educate and be influential to succeed. Your marketing team can help them re-write their LinkedIn profiles, give them disruptive insights to share, provide content that talks to the big issues (not product), and educates prospects.
5. Get the Right Tools – and Know How to Use Them
Finally, get some professional training. In their The State of Social Selling – 2015 Survey Results, peoplelinx.com identified that formal social selling can:
- Boost the percentage of sales professionals who find social valuable to 96%
- Raise the percentage of sales professionals who have closed business (within the past three months) influenced by social to 74%.
If you would like to explore social selling further, or see how it relates to you as a B2B sales consultant, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.