Social Selling 101: How to Incorporate Social into Your Sales Strategy

July 19, 2016News, Social Selling

As an Account Executive at PostBeyond, an entrepreneur, and an experienced fundraiser, leveraging social media outside of personal use has always come naturally to me. I’m always the first to share exciting news about my work on my own social channels, so I’m surprised when I hear fellow sales professionals are not incorporating social selling into their sales strategy. It’s such a missed opportunity! What’s even more upsetting, though, is that many companies still forbid their employees to use social networks on company time. #NSFW

If you’re a sales exec looking to add social to your mix, I hope this five-minute read will help you make a case for social selling at your organization.

What is Social Selling?

Let’s start with the basics.

Social selling is the process of using your professional brand and social network to collect insights and connections for discovering new opportunities, closing deals and getting business done.”

Social selling allows you to eliminate some of the more painful steps in the traditional sales process (like cold-calling and awkward icebreakers) and allocate more of your time to what salespeople do best: building great relationships. And it works! According to Aberdeen Group, 72.6% of salespeople using social selling as part of their sales process outperformed their sales peers and exceeded quota 23% more often.

How Does Social Selling Impact My Sales Process?

There are several tangible benefits that positively impact the sales process when enterprises adopt social selling strategies, but these are a few that I think are the most powerful:

  1. Optimized Lead Generation

Reviewing company websites and mining data lists can provide initial insights into prospects, but to truly qualify a sales opportunity, I think we can dig a bit deeper.

Knowing what channels matter most to your lead and what tools they’re already using can optimize the leadflow process. By reviewing the social networks of not only the brand, but also the profiles of their employees, you’ll gain real-time understanding of who they are and what they care about. In sales, information is power. Social can enable you to enter those early conversations in a customized fashion for a more productive discussion as you move your lead through the sales funnel.

  1. Shortened Sales Cycles

People are busy and typically don’t give their money to strangers. In previous sales roles, I was making over 100 cold calls each day; my prospects loved me. But at PostBeyond, I’m encouraged to start the conversation online, where my leads are already looking for information that will drive purchase decisions.

Buyers not only start the sales process without a rep, but research has shown that buyers typically complete most of the purchase journey before having any contact with sales. By establishing rapport online first, you can get your prospect’s attention in a meaningful way and shorten the process of moving them onto a discovery or demo call.

  1. Increased Customer Retention

After moving your lead through the funnel and getting to the final sale, it’s advantageous to continue nurturing the relationship online. By continuing the engagement post-sale, you can drive existing clients to purchase again with larger commitments through a land and expand strategy.

How Do I Get Started with Social Selling?

There are a few tips I’d recommend to any sales exec looking to start social selling. You’ll find that these tips are easy to implement, but the key is consistency. Social selling isn’t a “set it and forget it” strategy. You need to be constantly managing your online presence, whether that’s setting time out of your day to interact on your social channels or adding calendar reminders to update your profiles regularly.

  1. Have a Complete and Compelling Online Profile

The option to add a photo and include a bio on most social networks are there for a reason. Use them! Choose a photo that’s professional, feature a clear call to action (link to web page) and include your preferred contact details.

  1. Be Authentic

Even after you’ve decided to convert your social networks for sales purposes, don’t forget that you’re online to make real connections. While sharing content relevant to your industry is important, don’t forget to add your personality as a strategy for relating to prospects and being memorable. My Twitter bio includes ‘cats and Taylor Swift’, and you can bet you’ll find memes and gifs of both on my feed – mixed in with industry insight of course.

  1. Practice Thought Leadership

Build credibility in the eyes of your prospects by positioning yourself as an industry expert with consumer insight. You can do this by sharing articles relevant to your industry or publishing content of your own. LinkedIn’s publisher tool allows anyone to share their thoughts and build relationships with their connections.

Pro-tip: PostBeyond is a great tool to cultivate peer-to-peer content sharing within sales teams, allowing you to spend less time looking for content to share. Tweet at me or request a demo if you’d like to chat about content curation for sales pros.

But this is just the beginning of a strong social selling strategy. The more content you consume and share, the more helpful you’ll become to prospects.

Which social selling techniques have you found success with? Are there any tips you’d include for sales professionals looking to improve their social selling game? Leave a comment or connect with me on LinkedIn, I’d love to hear your experience.

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