The New Social Salesperson
Today, buyers are more knowledgeable than ever. Only 14% of them trust advertising, and they dive in to research the company and products before they even begin to talk with us. However, 90% of those same customers who’ve done their research will trust an honest review or recommendation. In fact, about half of prospects are influenced by social media at each stage of the sales funnel. That’s an extraordinary change. This means there are true and tangible benefits to using Social Media to achieve a Social Business and Social Sales.
With Social Sales, the salesperson becomes a hybrid of Marketing, Sales, and Support professional. This is a person who can build your brand’s credibility and expertise within your community — incrementally drawing people along the sales funnel and attracting new leads. Indeed, research shows that you can expect twice as many leads if you are active on Twitter.
Sharing My 4-Step Daily Process for Social Sales
Here’s a basic sales process I use every day. This highlights how I use Nimble, but it’s a process that is relevant with whatever software you use.
1. Search for target keywords. To find these I use tools like Google Analytics, , and Keyword-Finder. These will help to see how the average prospects finds your company and products.
2. Discover Key Influencers.
I’m looking for people at the “Sales 2.0 conference” (hashtag #s20c). I can easily see who’s talking about the event. This presents me with a list of people I can choose to engage.
I could also use something like Twtrland to provide a similar list.
What I want to do now is decide if these people would be interested in my product/service offering or if they could influence people that might buy from me? Remember, this is not about just pushing your sale. It’s about incremental steps and building credibility and trust. If I can interest a key influencer in my market to talk about my product or service, then I’ve done well.
In this example, I hover over “Tamara Schenk” and get a little more insight. I can see Tamara is in involved with “Strategic Sales Enablement” – great for me. I can see Tamara has a fair number of followers and a Klout score of 63 – which is high.
From here, I can click for a little more information, and I can see a great deal more information. If I want to, I can also see who influences Tamara, whom she follows, and who follows Tamara. In this way, I can leapfrog from one connection to another. I can create a “ring of influence” around Tamara by talking to Tamara’s influencers. If Tamara is my target customer, then I should connect with her and engage her so that she wants to talk about my product or service. I can also “Follow” Tamara on Twitter from here.
3. Add Influencer Details to Your CRM.
In this case, Tamara looks intriguing and is an influencer in my market. I click Import and bring her record to Nimble.
Tamara’s record is added, and I can see that some of her data has been pulled across – great, less data entry for me!
Nimble has not only grabbed her Twitter, but her other social profiles. This helps to flesh out her record and allows me to connect on multiple levels. If your CRM does not do this for you, then be sure to check for them manually.
At a glance I can see who Tamara is, I even have a picture. I can see what she is talking about.
4. Engage Influencers. Now I get to engage with Tamara – much easier than cold calling and much more likely to get a response.
I could do all or some of the following:
Follow Tamara on Twitter and connect to her on LinkedIn
Retweet something she has posted – Tamara would appreciate this and may well reciprocate by retweeting something I’ve posted.
Comment on one of Tamara’s posts and agree with her or expand on what she has mentioned
At some point, I can then ask Tamara if we can have a conversation about my product/service, explaining why it is something she might be interested in. As you have already turned Tamara into a warm lead, this will be much easier. If it is obvious your product/service is not suitable, then don’t push for that conversation. Tamara may well need your product/service in the future. She now knows you and even if she does not need your offering, it might be that she will refer you to someone else.
In just a few minutes, I’ve accomplished several valuable tasks:
I’ve found people (leads) by searching for keywords.
I decided who are candidates I might want to engage with.
I captured their details into my CRM system so I can start a relationship.
I engaged with the contact.
Good Habits Help Build Your Personal Brand
Effective social selling requires patience. It’s not a quick-fix solution to a lack of leads but an ongoing process of incremental steps that build relationships and nurture prospects along your sales funnel.
In addition, effective social selling is a discipline. You’ve got to be consistent in your approach and continually update your timeline with useful content as well as strategically searching for key people to engage with. The best way to achieve this is to hone a system that works for you and then practice it habitually. In turn you’ll build your personal brand, craft valuable relationships, and outsmart your competition who are only dabbling with social selling.
Richard Young is Director of EMEA at Nimble (but at home he’s known as VP of Cookies).