5 Tips to Maximize Social Selling

Posted on by Koka Sexton

social-network-sphere-850The single biggest problem for sales right now is adapting to the new realities of connecting with buyers, and that includes finding the right balance when it comes to social selling.

In this socially connected world, 78 percent of salespeople engaged in social selling are outselling their peers. Sales professionals, who understand strong social selling focuses on the right decision makers, engage with relevant content, and build trusted relationships. This is proven to lead to 45 percent more sales opportunities, and salespeople are 51 percent more likely to hit their sales quotas.

There are some key differentiators that set salespeople apart from simply being on social, and effectively being a social seller.

Remember why you’re there in the first place

One of the most common mistakes in dealing with social selling is making the assumption that social media is your sales platform. This is simply not the case, and a strategy that will lead to failure. Rather than thinking of social media as a sales route, you should be thinking of social networks as a relationship builder.

Take the time to not only develop new relationships with potential customers, but to also build on the existing relationships you have with your current customers. By pairing your contacts within your CRM database with your Twitter or LinkedIn account, you have an opportunity to follow important life events with your customer base, and ensure that you have a strong relationship that continues to reap recurring revenue or upselling opportunities.

Provide value

If your social media profiles, posts or updates aren’t providing any unique value to your customers, then what incentive do they have to follow or engage with you? Think of your social profile as an opportunity to broadcast the fact that you are an expert in your field. Share relevant news and information; a good mixture of curated content and self-generated will help define you as a valuable resource for your customers.

The same goes for how you choose to showcase yourself on your social media profiles. Many salespeople take on their profiles as an opportunity to showcase their achievements and awards, a virtual resume displayed to the world. However, instead of taking a self-serving and egocentric approach, consider utilizing your profile from a buyer centric perspective. Buyers don’t care how well of a salesperson you are, or how many awards you’ve won, what they do care about is how well you know your industry and where you provide them value.

Play the long game

Social selling is a long game, so don’t expect results to pour in immediately after posting that article on LinkedIn. Take the time to nurture decision makers, and connect with the right people. Visibility creates opportunity; the more visible you become on social networks, the more you become top-of-mind for your leads and the more likely you are to attract prospective customers doing their own research online.

Start tracking the entire journey

As with any other aspect of selling, if it’s not generating pipeline, then you shouldn’t be doing it. Social selling has historically been difficult to track in terms of measurement and results; but those days are well behind us. Some of the most successful organizations and salespeople have tied in social selling metrics with their traditional selling metrics to capture the entire customer journey.

Consider wrapping social activity into your current CRM system; as with any other sales activity, most contact through social media can and should be logged to accurately track the value of a lead. Imagine a complete buyer profile, that showcases when a salesperson initially connected with them on LinkedIn, engaged with a life event on Twitter, reached out via email and secured a pipeline opportunity as a result. This will not only map out the customer journey, but over time, also show the effectiveness for each method of communication with decision makers, providing the ability to create a company playbook to optimize the sales funnel.

Use your entire toolbelt

When social selling became the buzzword among salespeople, many thought this was a route that could eliminate more tedious sale tactics like emails or phone calls. The reality is, social selling is part of the larger toolset, rather than a catch-all solution.

A good salesperson knows that each customer is unique, and taking a cookie cutter approach to sales is a quick way to alienate decision makers. Instead, become a master of every way of connecting with buyers, including those “older” methods of phoning, emailing, texting and in-person meetings. Knowing when to leverage the proper sales technique with the right customer will elevate a good salesperson to a great one.

Koka Sexton is a global industry principal at Hootsuite.


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