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9 surprisingly simple steps to social selling success 0

Posted on August 21, 2017 by Rob Petersen

social selling success

Social selling success is giving your target prospects information that they value, appreciate and remember so you distinguish yourself from your competition and gain their attention and trust.

Although rewards are great, most salespeople are still  in the dark about how to effective use of social media for sales.

  • Only 26% of salespeople say they how to use social media to sell.  (HubSpot)
  • 31% of reps incorporate social media into their sales process. (HubSpot)
  • 78% of reps who use social selling practices outsell their peers. (PeopleLinx)

Technology has changed but human nature hasn’t. Social selling success but the social before the sell but still requires the key skills most salespeople have been trained for:

  • Business Acumen
  • People Skills
  • Social Skills
  • Social Media Savvy

Here are 9 surprisingly simple steps to social selling success,

BUSINESS ACUMEN

1. IDENTIFY YOUR TARGETS: Social networks are also search engines. Start with some research. Go to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or any social network where customers hang out and explore names in the search box. Use it see the profiles of customers, prospects, industry leaders, companies, professional groups and events. Look at their number of followers, Likes, connections and members. Create a list of the people you believe would be in your best interest to track and follow.

2.BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE: Start following, Liking, connecting and joining. In very little time, you’ll have an audience. This is going to be one of your most important social media assets. You may even want to use a monitoring tool like HootSuite or TweetDeck to see what your audience is saying, what people say about you and what your most important customers, prospects or competitors. If you build an audience, a certain percentage is going to become customers.

PEOPLE SKILLS

3. PRESENT YOURSELF WELL: Fill out your profiles on social networks. Takes advantage of all the fields. Use photos that look professional and friendly. Tell your story in the allotted character so it is clear who you are, what you do and why people should find you interesting and like you. Almost everyone should be on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – that includes lawyers, finance companies and pharmaceuticals.

4. JOIN IN THE CONVERSATION: According to a report published by Texas Tech University, brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. Every post you make on a social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert. When you build a following, you’ll simultaneously have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers. Not every interaction with your brand results in a conversion, but every positive interaction increases the likelihood of an eventual conversion.

SOCIAL SKILLS

5. GIVE VALUABLE INFORMATION AND ADVICE: Create posts that you want your followers to see. Provide information that shows why are you in business and how you serve people. Give advice that can solve problems. Use URL shorteners to link to articles. Include images and videos. 4X as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than read about it. Identify messages on a specific topics with hashtags to increase reach and relevance. Don’t just post and walk away. If you do that, you are missing prime opportunities to engage with your audience and convert them when they respond or share to what you’ve written.

6. SHARE INFORMATION AND SUCCESSES OF OTHERS: Sharing can be just as effective as creating your own content in bringing value to others and growing and nourishing  relationships. 78% of people share information online because it lets them stay connected to people they may not otherwise stay in touch with. 68% share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about. 49% say sharing allows them to inform others of products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action. Since it’s relatively easy to pass along good information and advice from peers, get in the habit of doing it.

SOCIAL MEDIA SAVVY

7. BE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME: If you’ve been following our advice, you probably already have a sense of when your audience is on their social network pages and when your content is shared. Tracking tools like HootSuite and TweetDeck, discussed earlier, show when your audience is most active. They can also be used to schedule your posts in advance for the days and times when your audience is most active. Below is an infographic from Contently showing what are the best days and times to post on social networks.

8. MEASURE AND MANAGE: See how you are progressing and what is creating business value. Avinash Kaushik of Google has an effective way to determine the business value of social media efforts called Conversation, Amplification and Applause. Simply put, Conversation is the # of conversions that come from your posts. Amplification is the rate that your content is shared and commented. Applause is how fast your audience is growing.. These categories are not mutually exclusive and the benefits range from awareness to sales.

9. KNOW WHEN TO TAKE IT OFFLINE: Most sales still do occur offline. By this time, you have reached key targets and gained their attention and trust, messaging tools are available of all social networks to reach out when the time is right. If you’ve done social selling right, you’ve distinguished yourself so your audience would be willing to engage with you and help you out.

Do the steps to social selling success seem simple enough to you. Do you need help taking your social selling success to the level it should be at.

social selling success - infographic

10 top social selling best practices from 10 experts 0

Posted on May 01, 2016 by Rob Petersen

 

Social Selling best practices

  • 74% of B2B Buyer conduct more than half of their research online (source: Accenture)
  • 72% of salespeople using social media outperform their peers (source: Forbes)
  • 65% of buyer feel that the vendor’s content had an impact on their final purchase decision (source: Macalister Bali and Co.)

Social Selling is the process of researching, connecting, and interacting with prospects and customers on social media networks to provide value by answering questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.

Social Selling best practices are the methods and techniques that consistently show superior results and are used as a benchmark.

Here are 10 top Social Selling best practices from 10 experts.

  1. APPROACH AS MICRO-MARKETING: The biggest mistake people make is being afraid to move out of their comfort zone.  Just because you’ve been selling moderately well for the late 10 years, doesn’t mean that can change.  Trust me, the buyer has changed.  For the first time in human history, a buyer can gather information on nearly anything, without human interaction.  But they need human assistance to finish the purchase. – Jamie Shanks, CEO at Sales for Life
  2. MAKE YOUR BRAND EASY TO FIND THROUGH SOCIAL: When prospects start their purchasing cycle, having an established, highly visible social presence ups your chances of being in the right place at the right time—when they’re ready to buy. That accessibility also goes a long way to ensuring you’ll make their short list when decision time arrives. There are myriad ways to strengthen your social visibility. Don’t neglect the obvious ones, like including links to your social accounts in your email signature, updating your social profiles regularly, and staying engaged in the major prospect forums. – Gerry Moran, Global Head of Social Media, Cognizant Technology Solutions
  3. DO INTELLIGENT RESEARCH TO FIND THE RIGHT PEOPLE: Gone are the days when LinkedIn was ‘only’ a recruiting platform. A right search will lead you to the right person, therefore increasing your return on investment (ROI) considerably. The added advantage of knowing the right person in the circle of influence, will influence the decision-making process of the buyer. There are an average of 5.4 buyers in the B2B sales process. And if the influencers are included, there are an estimate of 10 people influencing the decision making. Connecting with the director and key influencing people in the company will provide you leverage among other sellers. – Mike Derezin, VP Sales Solutions, LinkedIn
  4. START A CONVERSATION BY SHARING VALUABLE EXPERTISE: Don’t only monitor your lists, connections, and groups. Actually share valuable expertise. Top executives know a generic marketing message when they see it, so you need to set yourself apart from the rest. The key to doing this is authenticity. Share your real opinions on specific sales matters. Comment on highly viewed LinkedIn publishing posts. Start a polite conversation with someone on Twitter about their viewpoint. Agree or disagree, but take a stance, and interact with others. – Megan Tonzi, Director of Marketing, AG Saleswork
  5. DEMONSTRATE VALIDITY AND TRUSTWORTHINESS: Social media plays a critical role in gaining credibility; everyone uses it, and if you aren’t using it, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of social data. So stay professional, use tact and remember to let connections happen organically. – Koka Sexton, Head of Social Media, LinkedIn
  6. GET REALLY GOOD AT CREATING RELEVANT CONTENT: Social selling has a strong streak of education to it. And while us buyers do want to control the sales process now, we love information. It’s just got to be relevant information. Send me irrelevant information, and you fall into the background noise. Send relevant information that’s just what I need to know right now and… well, I might just like you so much I’d get on the phone with you. – Pam Neely, Author at Act-On
  7. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOCIAL SELLING AND SOCIAL MEDIA: Revenue creation is the only differentiator between social selling and social media marketing. What is your goal? Is your goal to make a sale? Are you trying to generate interest in your product or service that will lead to an offline conversation? If yes, you are engaging in social selling. On the other hand, if your goal is to simply generate vanity metrics—followers, likes, shares, comments, etc.—with no actionable conversion metrics like SQLs created, accounts created, opportunities created, or revenue generating metrics like appointments, sales demos, conversations, closed deals and revenue, then you are engaging in social media marketing. – Lolly Spindler, Content Marketing Manager at xoombi
  8. MEASURE SOCIAL SELLING PROGRESS FROM LIKES TO LEADS: One of the challenges for social selling is that it does not operate like the traditional sales funnel. Sales leads and nurturing can jump across platforms and networks, and they can increasingly enter the funnel not just at the top, but much further down. Social teams now sit at a crux of sales and marketing that opens a huge and opportunity for them, but also requires those teams to understand the unique metrics and KPIs for sales and marketing, and how they intersect and overlap. – Henry Nofthaft Jr., Founder and CEO, Trapit
  9. KNOW THE NUMBER OF TOUCH POINTS IT TAKES TO CONVERT: Each company should analyze how many touch points they need to be trusted, to get a lead, to get a demo presentation, and to close a sale. At our company, we’ve discovered it takes 22 touch points to get a demo appointment scheduled (combination of digital and traditional prospecting). Of the 22 touch points, 13-15 are through social media. – Gabe Villamizar, Director of Social Selling, HireVue
  10. WORK AT IT CONTINUALLY: Social Selling is hard work performed over significant elapsed time. You must build a formidable, digitally based, personal brand that projects your unique promise of value. Then researching and connecting with executives, decision makers and influencers on ‘social’ takes time and skill. Nurturing social relationships with those executives by sharing content that is of relevance and value takes significant work, time and skill. However the rewards can be outstanding. Good social sellers can achieve over 90% success rate when making an approach to set up that first face to face meeting with a connection they have nurtured.  I see salespeople achieve it every day. – John Smibert, Manager and Facilitator, Strategic Selling Group

Below is an infographic from Sales for Life that details the state of Social Selling in 2016.

Do these social selling best practices help you see how social selling can work for you? And your company? Are you interesting in having a conversation about it?

socialsellinginfographic_2

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