Social selling can mean a number of things:
- Making your LinkedIn profile not suck.
- Using LinkedIn to connect with new sales prospects.
- Engaging with prospects in real-time on Twitter.
- Building your brand and credibility on a blog.
- Connecting with influencers to broaden your reach.
Social selling is all of these things…but these are also lowest common denominator activities that any sales and/or marketing professional with half a brain should be doing every day. There are definitely right ways and wrong ways to sell through social online, but social selling best practices are pretty easy to teach and learn.
LIKE SEEMINGLY EVERY “NEXT BIG MARKETING THING” BEFORE IT, WE BELIEVE THAT SOCIAL SELLING STARTS WITH DATA.
In short, your data (and your prospects’ data) are the biggest opportunity (and the biggest challenge) with social selling. Case in point, using automated data collection, connectors, and marketing logic, you can extend “social” selling into a cross-channel marketing powerhouse.
So what can you do with data-driven social selling? You can:
Broaden Your Sales Efforts Across Channels
If your sales team is only using email and a phone to get their job done, then you might as well reward them with steak knives because they’re all coming in 2nd place.
Your prospects and customers are hanging out on social platforms to learn, source ideas, connect with friends, and — of course — procrastinate. And your sales guys are hanging out on on social platforms as well, they’re probably just not properly trained and empowered to use the tools effectively. Your sales strategy needs to include social considerations and provide clear guidelines and best practices that your team can execute.
For example, is your team blasting prospects with an endless barrage of “Quick question…” emails or ham-fisted LinkedIn connections? Or are they augmenting their selling efforts with personal (or semi-automated) touches across social channels?
Personalize Your Marketing
It is awfully easy to find shared interests, connections, and experiences these days because everyone advertises their latest adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Amateur sales teams use this data on an ad hoc basis to inform one-off emails and conversations. Winning sales teams collect and use this data programmatically to personalize marketing conversations at scale.
For example, do all of your prospecting emails look the same? Or are you personalizing emails based on shared LinkedIn connections or recent share conference experiences? It is difficult to do at scale, but it is absolutely do-able.
Leverage Relationships At Scale
Relationships are the fundamental driver in a sales process. Products, features, and steak dinners are important, but customers ultimately buy from the people that they like.
Relationships are particularly important during the early stages of a sales process, when you’re prospecting a new opportunity or mapping relationships in an existing account. Yet businesses universally stink when it comes to mapping relationships across their employee, partner, and customer networks. Consequently, mission critical relationship insight remains hidden from view in email accounts, social media sites, CRM, and employee brains. Unless you’re clairvoyant, this data won’t be terribly actionable.
Social selling is about understanding relationship data and using it to your advantage programmatically. Are your market response reps working the same script for every new sales inquiry? Or are they changing the script based on the inquiry’s social connections with your organization?
Semi-Automate Your Outbound Sales Programs
It is incredibly challenging to build a modern outbound sales engine on your own. The complex combination of data, process, and people required to build an effective program is difficult to thread together. Turns out that social provides the lynchpin that simplifies the process and helps create scale.
The “develop persona – build prospect list – create curiosity” cycle is a bit different for every business, but social plays a consistent role across markets, segments, and verticals. It provides a research platform for persona and prospect development, a testing platform to validate messaging, and an addressable channel for targeted outreach.
Are you buying random lists of people from Data.com and then executing meh sales outreach programs? Or are you creating personas like “Molly Marketer” that reflect your target customer and then using a mix of human-assisted and automated tools and services to target every “Molly” in every target company with a hyper-personalized outbound cadence?
That’s social selling as we see at RevBoss. Let us know if you’d like to discuss.